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How to turn creativity into profitability by harnessing innovation and scaling up

Gary James

But delivering IT outcomes across the enterprise requires rigor and structure, so a slow pace of change is inherently necessary, in order to mitigate the potential for impacting business-critical applications. Such a situation can often lead to up to 70% of the IT budget being tied up in the delivery of this type of “keeping-the-lights-on” activity.

Inside-the-box thinking leads to out-of-control Shadow IT

This inertia has been a key driver in the increase in Grey or Shadow IT because creativity cannot be stopped – and so innovation is happening out in the business – often under the control of the chief digital officer, or CDO. As this gains scale, there is an increasing risk of data breaches, security issues, or broken business processes, as unintegrated islands of applications and data appear outside the scope of Enterprise IT.

Therefore, the opportunity is really around how Applications Services teams can harness and support the creativity that drives Grey/Shadow IT, in order to mitigate these risks by implementing innovation processes and structures to support what is often spontaneous and more flexible.

Our recent research with Everest Group in the paper “Applications Transformation for the Digital Age” indicates a lack of confidence in Applications Services’ ability to deliver outcomes such as increasing revenue, creating differentiation, or reducing time to market. One of the key principles identified for addressing this perception is that teams must become more “innovation led.”

But what does this mean?

Innovation can mean many different things to many different people, but for me, innovation – and creating an innovation-led organization in the context of the digital age – comes down to the following key points.

A proactive, continuous-improvement mindset

Firstly, there must be a move away from a passive approach to change. A continuous-improvement mindset must be established across all areas. Considering how to address internal challenges as well as capturing external opportunities should also be something that is regularly contemplated.

Exploit insights internally and externally

There’s a wealth of information inherent in the application and infrastructure estates under support – and, if exploited correctly – this can provide actionable insights to drive innovation. Tools that release these insights must be identified and then built into the process to ensure that these opportunities are not wasted. Also, from an external viewpoint, a real emphasis must be placed on research activities, which should be undertaken regularly to help introduce and exploit ideas from the market – or even other markets.

Provide structure – but don’t constrain

Effective translation of innovation into live running requires coordination, but at the same time, not in the same way that Enterprise IT is delivered. New requirement-gathering approaches such as design thinking must be combined with faster, more agile delivery approaches to quickly pilot and scale up opportunities. A clearer view of the business value of such innovations will help with this – along with a more flexible, cloud-based piloting infrastructure that’s loosely integrated with the main Enterprise IT landscape.

It’s all in your approach – All your next big ideas could be right here

Achieving this change requires a transformation of approach across a number of different areas. Capgemini’s Design Office – part of our suite of ADMnext Innovation Services – works with customers to achieve this transformation. Design Office is an incubator of innovation and transformation, which provides a structure that facilitates ideation, along with giving you access to Capgemini’s wider portfolio of innovation services.

In the Digital Age, innovation is a key strength for any Application Services team – and it is not something that just happens. Nurturing your ideas while providing a supportive structure for innovation and ideation is essential to ensure that your creativity can be converted into profitability.

So if you want to create a fresh structure for innovation for your people – and create real profitability – visit us here or contact me to get started.