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The importance of an innovation-led culture for organisations

Organisations across the board will have become intimately acquainted with the concept of “digital transformation” in recent years. While in no way a new idea, when the Covid pandemic hit many companies had to accelerate digital transformation projects in order to continue operating under lockdowns and restrictions. New systems were required to enable employees to work remotely with minimal disruption and to ensure that customers continued to receive the best service possible.

But simply engaging in digital transformation is not enough to ensure success. When approached without proper planning and attention to detail, the benefits to an organisation can be minimal, or even ephemeral. This is where a culture of innovation comes into play.

An innovation-led approach is necessary to ensure that you are getting the most out of your digital transformation projects and preparing your company for the future. By equipping your organisation with the right tools to get the job done, you will be able to get the best out of all members of your workforce and achieve peak performance, agility and competitiveness.

Why innovation matters

An organisation’s culture describes the way in which all members of the organisation work and interact together. Thus, an innovation-led culture is one in which innovation is baked into every part of the organisation, across departments and at all levels, with employees encouraged to collaborate and share across the company in order to develop new insights and ways of working that will make the business stronger. Every employee has their own perspective on how the organisation operates and its opportunities to grow and develop in the marketplace.

When applied to digital transformation, an innovation-led culture will ensure that the benefits of any new tools or systems that are being adopted are maximised and that money and time isn’t wasted on technology that is not fit for purpose. An innovation-led culture will lead to solutions that can deliver cost savings, enhance customer experience and boost business resiliency in the face of future disruption. Time building bespoke solutions is always well spent.

Cloud computing has become ubiquitous within modern business, and it represents one of the most powerful tools for enabling innovation and accelerating digital transformation, allowing the rapid institution of infrastructure and technologies that would have previously required a huge investment in time and money (not to mention the specialised staff required for its upkeep). Providers like Microsoft offer cloud platforms from which colleagues can share insights and develop new tools and applications, which can open up new opportunities for their organisation and creative ways of being more efficient and productive.

The cloud has enabled organisations to keep up with the changing ways in which we work, allowing colleagues to contribute and collaborate wherever they are based without losing the benefits inherent in working as a team. Data-driven insights can be disseminated across the organisation and picked up by those who can best apply them to the transformation and evolution of the company – workers who might never have become aware of them at all in a less innovative culture.

Against the backdrop of these seismic changes in how we work are customer expectations, which are forever growing and evolving. Whatever your organisation does, customers expect intuitive, effective and responsive digital service. Colleagues in customer-facing roles may have more insight into customer needs and frustrations, and in an innovative working culture will be empowered to share that information with developers and can even contribute to building apps themselves to meet those needs. Your organisation will also be in a position to take advantage of the data and insights delivered by interactions in order to refine customer experience further.

In terms of business agility and resilience, an innovative organisation will develop systems that are able to shift in the face of disruption, and will be better positioned to quickly develop and roll out new solutions if necessary.

Building innovation

As noted, the foundation of digital innovation is the cloud. Each organisation will need to develop a cloud solution to meet their purposes, leveraging the benefits of the public cloud, which allows access to all the systems, tools and apps employees need without tying them to a particular location. A hybrid approach, using both public and private cloud services may also empower some organisations to build seamless online systems.

Modern productivity suites like Microsoft 365 enable collaboration across the cloud, letting colleagues share files, work together on documents and communicate via instant message, voice and video with ease. Cloud computing services like Microsoft Azure also support AI and machine learning technologies, giving companies access to cutting-edge capabilities like advanced data analytics and AI training models, furnishing insights and automation that can be applied across the company.

Azure offers a range of on-demand ‘as-a-service’ options – including software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – that can enable an innovation culture including the opportunity to innovate within these services. These services allow organisations to pay only for what the business needs, and scale up quickly in the face of sudden increases in demand. In other words, they are vital for flexible, adaptive and innovative operations, whether those operations are based on existing apps or involve the innovation within these services based on the business’s needs.

The cloud has transformed the way key business applications are developed and updated. IDC estimates that by 2025, 90% percent of all production apps will be built on the cloud*. Tools like Microsoft Power Apps have simplified the building, rollout and updating of apps, so that they can be employed and managed at pace in order to keep up with the demands of the organisation and its customers. Power Apps enables low-code development, so that employees can contribute directly to apps and other solutions – or innovate and build new apps in the cloud – regardless of their technical expertise.

An innovative approach to digital transformation requires a strategy and planning to build the solutions that will best serve your organisation now and into the future. Providers like Microsoft have the expertise to guide you towards a solution tailored to the needs of your company, and then provide a smooth and effective implementation to create an environment that will foster collaboration and innovation.

Innovation is more important than ever to ensure that your organisation can keep up with the rapidly changing market and ensure that you remain competitive. In order to reach your full potential and get the most out of employees and the processes that support them, having access to the right technology for the job is essential.

To learn more about how to drive an innovation-led culture in your organisation, please join Microsoft’s webinar Building an Innovation culture across your organisation

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