Although “fusion” is becoming a catchy word and used across the board from sushi to sportswear, it should not be discarded just as a new thing to attract our attention. Fusion, for corporations, is a very interesting concept of using already proven and established ideas or people, and mixing them, so to speak, to obtain a surprisingly positive result that no one has thought possible before.
Still today, large and small corporations are prisoners of a number of prejudices and bad practices, not because someone decided it should be done this way, but because no one ever decided it should be done differently. Covid is exposing these fragilities at a time where people, namely the C-Suite members are at a loss because “this is the way it has always been done with good results.”
There are several examples experience brings to the table: “if it relates with software let IT deal with it” is one of the most common. Nothing if further away from reality. Nowadays every business is, in fact, a software business whether it is banking, shipping, logistics, the works; without software there is no automation, no satisfying user experience, no strategic data to feed strategic decisions and no to a lot of other corporate survival needs. Clearly, for the software to work properly, in the sense of bringing financial benefits to the company, there must be a team, working together, including people from planning & analysis (P&A), sales, marketing and IT.
This is a Fusion Team put together for a specific purpose and dedicated to that purpose. The P&A people identify the strategic data and metrics that should evaluate the present and be used for the future; the sales people know the business rules that must be met today and identify the possible alterations in the foreseeable future; the marketing people identify the customer benefits and makes sure the customers are aware of them; and IT finds the simplest way to make this software operate globally in the most effective way. It is, indeed, this simple.
Another typical example, usually at the time of implementing a document management solution that allows for the automation of any kind of administrative process, is the comment “let us first identify our processes and make the necessary changes to improve them.” This will never work properly. Yes, it is up to the people in the company to define the business rules they need, which may be quite different from what they want (historic legacy) because they do not know what is the current solutions’ state of the art; hence we need to create another Fusion Team here to handle this.
This Fusion Team must have people from the client finance department, assuming we are dealing with financial processes, from the client IT and, definitely, from the vendor’s company. The reason is simple: it is the client’s financial department that knows the business rules. The client’s IT people are there to define whether it is a cloud solution or an on-premises one they are looking for and what integrations must be met. But the vendor’s consultant, because of their knowledge of all the available solution functionalities, is an extraordinary help for the process design. Previous difficulties may just be eliminated, and effective improvements may be implemented just because of the solution’s capabilities.
Corporate staff have a huge knowledge of their own roles, as vendors have a huge knowledge of challenges defeated in all sorts of companies across the market. But if the company’s experts are kept in silos, not discussing together and with the vendors the solution, or should I say the best solution, for the future of the company, things will get messy.