What is Technology Process Reimagination (TPR)?
I define TPR as the use of technology to reimagine processes. You see any technology solution, see where it can provide a step change in productivity, efficiency, experience, then reimagine process around that.
It applies to new business as well, and we can call it Technology Business Reimagination (TBR) on similar lines. If you look at many unicorns today – Uber, Airbnb, etc. are nothing but TBR. Entrepreneurs see the problems and then use technology to reimagine the business or business model.
How is TPR different from business process re-engineering, design thinking, management consulting?
All these approaches are business first and driven by business or design professionals. They might not consider new and emerging technology possibilities.
“The electric light didn’t come from the continuous improvement of candles” – Oren Harari.
TPR is technology and business first instead of technology first or business first. TPR must work along with business process re-engineering, design thinking, management consulting to drive Industry 4.0.
Here are some examples.
One example I recently came across is the use of Taxibots in Indian runways. It helps in delaying the engine start by 10 minutes. It can save costly ATF fuel and noise pollution. This solution cannot be arrived by management, process, or design consulting alone. It is both technology and business first.
Similarly, in smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0, we need both technology and business first. If you are monitoring a pump in a factory with IoT and you got a trigger that pump is likely to fail soon. What is the use of this information if the enterprise procurement process is outdated and will take 30 days to order the pump? So, enterprises procurement processes need to be reimagined with IoT possibilities. What if the pump manufacturer’s lead-time is high? Can 3D printing be integrated with IoT and procurement? All the above are good possibilities with TPR.
Technology and business first instead of technology first or business first will drive Industry 4.0.
Firms who have both technology depth and process, industry and domain expertise will be successful in TPR. Most management consulting firms are process, industry and domain experts. Most technology firms are technology experts and not necessarily process, industry and domain experts.
IMO companies who will win in Industry 4.0 are likes of Accenture which have both technology depth and process, industry and domain expertise. Most firms will have to augment one of the axes through acquisitions or partnerships to play a larger role in Industry 4.0. So, the likes of McKinsey are opening factory of the future (yes a shop floor) to develop technology expertise. And technology firms are looking for either acquiring or partnering with management consulting firms to build process, industry and domain expertise.
Bottom line: Technology is technology and business is business and twain shall meet and drive Industry 4.0 =)