One of the paradoxes of life is the issue of simplicity in that, living simply is complex. Where does the need for simplicity stem from? The advent of new technologies and digitalization of business brings about the issue of complexity in processes caused by structural modification, product proliferation, process evolution, economic structures, globalization and management habits. Organisations have become so convoluted, that the objective of implementing new processes is often to manage internal complexity rather than to streamline existing operations.
The most successful businesses have one thing in common –great customer service. Unlike differentiators of price and quality, great customer service is an expectation and that is aided by simplified business processes.
Simplicity, therefore, could be understood as the quality or condition of being easy to understand or to do. It alludes to clarity, intelligibility, comprehensibility, and directness. In the creation of user interface to information technology, simplicity is one of the core objectives.
What does simple business mean?
Simple business alludes to cutting down and streamlining operational processes to ensure efficiency and contribute to the bottom line of profitability. This can be achieved by the implementation of lean technology, a philosophy of making the conscious choice to radically re-define and optimize strategy, systems, and services that add value to clients, employees and shareholders.
With complexity, information transmission and decision making is delayed as information is fragmented and outdated. The common misconception by people who try to succeed, is to make processes complicated with over analysis – relax no need for such. Some organisations spend a lot of time and effort planning and over perfecting products such that by the time they are taken to the market, a competitor has already released the product.
Take a simplistic example, of social media, for instance. It has become an integral part of modern day society with billions of users every day. Businesses have realised the gains of utilising this platform as a robust tool for customer engagement and that has led to the increase in the development of applications that aim to streamline day to day activities. These pivot on a simple user interface such that it becomes easy to navigate around these platforms. In essence this should be the fundamental concept with business systems, from self-service online shops, mobile and internet banking to computer aided manufacturing (CAM), all these should have simplicity at their core. The millennial generation that makes up 90 percent of the workforce in today’s business, is intuitive about technology. What this means is that as they are always mobile, and need constant access to websites and social medial platforms, processes need to be structured in a way that enhances user experience and interface interactions naturally.
What are the direct business benefits of running simple?
Sustainable businesses are built on satisfying customer needs; thus simplicity is an imperative strategy to follow and a key contributor to the bottom line. Simplicity, within the business ecosystem:
- Accelerates business processes, delivers more intelligent and simplified operational processes
- Helps in data integration as all information is consolidated, analysed, and reports are generated instantly per request, giving an overview of all business processes
- Helps organisations to run in real time, thereby aiding in effective decision making
- Gives clarity in processes, aligns people, and leverages technology for optimal efficiency
Simple is the new black in business process and solutions
Leornado da Vinci postulated that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and soul of efficiency. Such a widely used quote, but the true meaning of this is unknown to many people. Less stuff, less expense equals more joy. Bottom line, less is more – and that is simple. In business terms, this simplicity is defined by transparent comprehension, focused relevance, undeniable clarity and absolute freshness.
High performing organisations of the future are those that will make it a strategic objective to remove complexity in their processes. Keep simple things simple.