Digitalization Manifest

The Manifest

A spectre is haunting business – the spectre of digitalization. All the old powers have gathered to profit from it: management consultants, IT behemoths, and bestselling futurist soothsayers alike wield the buzzword of the day to pierce their way into companies’ IT budgets. Where is the company that refuses to invent new jargon to push the promises of a new digital era, and instead delivers digitalized processes with existing tools, working as smooth as a Big Four pitch sounds.

Two things result from the current state of affairs:

  • Organizations want to reap the benefits that is being promised to them. The problems organizations want to address is to reduce internal and external transaction costs, i.e. allowing their business to focus on just that – the business – and not the needless inefficiencies that is a reality for companies today.
  • The gap between theoretical digitalization and its prophets, and the business’ reality is wide and widening. The snakeoil peddlers dream up new slideshows with little practical connection to the trenches. At the same time, highly effective, widely available, and tragically under-exploited weapons are readily available for the corporate soldiers. The wise leaders that employ these tools will get a more productive workforce that also serves vital business information to them on a digital, fully automated, and transparent silver platter.

To this end, the Invisible Hand have assembled to sketch the following manifesto. It outlines.

On the ladder of digital transformation, they flatter you by reckoning that you have taken the first necessary steps toward the digital avante garde, and their particular transformation journey/catch-all system/methodology will propel your organization above and beyond Silicon Valley. In the future everything is digital, they say (as they continue to pitch their monolith ERP system). By going down that trodden path, your organization adjust their digital capabilities to the technical specifications that comes out on the other end of a multi-million, year-and-a-half implementation project. It is the lowest common denominator functionalities that The Leviathan IT Company thought you, and a hundred other businesses bearing no similarities to yours, might find useful.

After some training, your talented and excited workforce gets a good grip on how to perform their old tasks in the new environment. Some feel recognized because the organization has invested in a glossy interface for them. Some find it easier to perform previously time-consuming tasks. Many will say, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could do [insert brilliant idea] as well”, and at best be told that the Leviathan engineers might look into that in the future. No one has been given the tools to explore these ideas themselves. No one has been digitally transformed. As the new system’s lifecycle rapidly closes in on a new multi-million upgrade, the excitement morphs into envy of some other department’s seemingly cooler IT tools and frustration of those long-forgotten specification requests.

In the middle ages, religious acolytes and feudal warlords had monopolized the written word. The immortalization of ideas – a revolutionary invention enabled by pragmatic Middle-Eastern accountants in the dawn of civilization – had been bastardized as propaganda and delusion. But things evolved. Replication costs plummeted with the printing press, and the We, the people, demanded access to education. The pedestals of the litterate class finally became crowded, and prosperity ensued. Similarly, the codification of processes were invented by brave academics and engineers in the 20th century. At the advent of the digital age, the new litterate class of IT professionals entrench their positions, not with brute force, but with impenetrable jargon and perpetually increasing air of complexity in the upcoming theoretical concepts. Nonetheless We, the people, are kept at arms lenght from the tools that can propel us to never before experienced levels of wealth and wellbeing.

The deep moat of code litteracy has given rise to a new societal function: the pseudo-litterate consultant that bridge the moat: a fragile bridge of vague understanding of both your real problems and the jargon. This highly specialized creature has evolved to first create an urge in your organization to embark on a digitalization journey. Then, it can freely charge you for running back-and-forth with liberally interpreted messages in languages it does not fully master. The digital age has lowered informational transaction costs immensely, but transactional costs in creating sound processes for capturing said information has risen at the same pace as the interpretor-consultants’ bank account.

Our epoch, the epoch of digital promises, deserves something better. It is time for us to arm ourselves with tools tailored for our specific circumstances and requirements. It is time for us to be empowered to customize and add to these tools as our circumstances change. It is time to yet again crowd the pedestals of the litterate class, and tear down their monopoly of information creation. And it is time to rid ourselves of the yoke of expensive misinterpretators of our problems. Wield your no-code pitchforks, and take control of your own digitalization adventure.