it’s five things that could prevent you from adopting any innovation, no matter
how beneficial and proven. First a little backstory: I’m reading the “Diffusion
of Innovations” by Everett M. Rodgers, a book that forms the underpinnings of
the more recently popular concept of “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore. Rodgers,
a sociologist, describes why people do and do not adopt innovations. Two
examples stick in my mind:
- The social worker in Peru who
could only get 5% of a village to boil their drinking water despite major
water borne diseases.
- It took over 200 years to bring
scurvy under control despite the simple fix of including sufficient citrus
as part of a long-haul sailor’s diet.
other examples led me to consider Rodgers’ five key characteristics that are
essential for technology adoption and apply them to the adoption of operational
decision management (ODM) technologies. Whether you adopt or do not adopt ODM
software could depend on how you answer these five questions, despite your need
or the evidence for it.
- Relative advantage: How much
better is the new way compared to the status quo? Operationalizing decision
making with business rules and real-time event triggers to emerging
situations, and enabling business users to author and update their
business decisions provides tangible business advantages compared to decision
logic that is locked in applications and maintained solely by IT. As the
saying goes “you can’t respond faster than you can recode.” Companies that
adopt these ODM technologies routinely see improvements of 50% quicker
time to market, 80-85% straight through processing, better customer
retention from automated loyalty programs and orders of magnitude
improvement in closing their books on time at the end of the month.
- Compatibility: Is the new idea
compatible with existing notions and past experiences of the adopters? ODM technologies typically help
solve known problems or issues -- either replacing a manual process that’s
too slow or ineffective, or complementing or adding onto an existing
product or service to drive improved performance. Occasionally, they’ll
replace an incumbent technology, but usually when the existing offering has
failed to solve the known problem or challenge.
- Complexity: Is the new idea more difficult to
understand? How much new skill is required to adopt the new idea and
the concept of operational decision making is pretty simple. Get your
business users to codify their business expertise in a natural language. Give
them access to update and modify these rules easily and often. They can then
collaborate with IT to run automated simulations to verify the updated
decision-making logic and put changes into production rapidly. The area of
greatest challenge is the ability to imagine a better and more efficient
way to manage business decisions and to be open to shifting boundaries of responsibilities.
- Trialability: Can the innovation
be experimented with on a smaller scale to reduce risk and gain
business decisions is frequently started piecemeal and in support of existing
systems. As a small-scale pilot. A key place to start is to identify the
area where there is the most churn in business logic and externalize that
service using business rules.
- Observability: What is the
degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others? Because ODM targets your everyday
operational decisions – those repeatable, frequently occurring decisions
about customer offers, service levels, eligibility, pricing, etc. –
improvements often can be seen and felt across the organization, in every
interaction you have with customers, partners or internal employees. These
decisions add up, transaction by transaction, customer by customer, and
process by process, acting as an opportunity multiplier when you get them
right and can quickly change them to meet new business requirements. We’ve
found nine specific business use
the results are especially visible.
benefits of boiling water, the benefits of operational decision management
technologies are proven, established and the problems addressed are common and
recurrent. Whether or not you adopt these technologies may have little to do
with the problem or proof. The same could be said for other forms of adoption.
wonderful holiday and catch up on some good reading. I’ll be finishing the
“Diffusion of Innovations” and Steve Jobs’ excellent biography by Walter