Let’s start with a warning. Don’t get too hot under the collar – I’m about to revisit a topic that prompted a lot of public anger at the time – Ireland’s e-voting machines!

In 2002, the State purchased them at a cost of €51 million and they were used in only 3 constituencies in that year’s general election.
2 years later, a government appointed commission said it was unable to verify the accuracy and secrecy of the proposed system in the available time frame and the ill-fated machines were quietly shelved and eventually sold for scrap.

But as Ireland was struggling with our e-voting debacle, Estonia was building a network that would ultimately allow its citizens exercise their democracy via their mobile phones.

The leaders of the new Estonia saw the massive opportunity digitalisation offered.

They identified the asset that was their young and educated population and they took advantage. They designed policy and built supports for entrepreneurs’ home-grown talent and imports that made the country a hotbed of creativity. It resulted in the highest rate of per capita Unicorns in the world.

It’s a stark comparison, isn’t it?

You may ask what has this to do with me and my business? Well, a lot when you think about it.

Government and how it operates, communicates, and interacts is notoriously slow and manual; yet with the right focus and strategy Estonia has proved it can be done.

And there’s no reason you can’t take Estonia’s approach for your business. Utilising data, organising systems to support processes and using these to help deliver strategy should not be seen only as the realm of the big players.

If I was to challenge you right now to think of all the processes that operate within your business and to further visualise where they connect and link, I bet you could paint a strong image. However, if I was to ask how efficient these are and how much time is wasted at group and individual level, I would guess the picture becomes a little more faded. If I was to further ask how your systems and processes are adding value to margin and customer experience, I would suggest the picture will become positively blurry.

It is this blurry or faded picture that can push us away from engaging with digitalisation and data analytics in a meaningful way. We think that the scale of the challenge is maybe too great or the benefits we expect don’t offer enough value, so we tend to stay away from engaging altogether. This is a mistake many companies make.

By embracing digitalisation companies can unlock enormous opportunities which will deliver tangible benefits to your business – including operational, team, customer and financial improvements.

If your business is eligible there are a number of key funding opportunities that can support your digital journey.

The Enterprise Ireland Digitalisation Voucher will fund 100% of the cost of a €9000 consultancy engagement to begin or develop your Digital plans. Follow this link to learn more about this voucher – https://3sixty.ie/services/enterprise-ireland/enterprise-ireland-digitalisation-voucher/

At 3SIXTY, our approach to digitalisation is based on Process and Purpose. Our first steps are to ensure existing operational processes are as efficient as possible, and to get real clarity on what the client wants to achieve by bringing in digital tools (hint: it should not be about “the Tech”! It’s about the outcomes you want to achieve for your business).

Starting with a process like the customer journey, looking at the end-to-end activities from initial enquiry to final invoice can be a great first step. This way you get to see all the cross points in your processes and assess where value or waste exists. You also get to identify where in these steps you have data; data you can report on and analyse and use to support strategic planning.

We have worked with a number organisations who have left margin on the table because the process they used to build quotes did not speak to or inform resource capacity planning. This meant that by the time you get to invoice you realise the job has cost more or taken longer, or both, than had been planned for. 3SIXTY’s approach ensures that your data is live end to end and so ensures margins are maximized.

Wrapping these new processes in a system will allow you to have live visibility on everything from Work in Progress to Capacity Planning to better manage projects and maintain margin targets. You will also be able to use the data to drive your internal management, with meetings being more informed with up-to-date and accurate data. This, in turn, facilitates focused, action-driven meetings where decision-making is informed by real data. This alone is a hugely powerful benefit of incorporating digital tools and techniques into your business.

Why not get in touch for a conversation and see how 3SIXTY can help you start your journey to digitalisation.

Published On: February 24th, 2022 / Categories: Insights /
Brian O’Brien

Partner & Head of
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