Rethinking digitization

As wrote earlier, I have been participating in quite a few digitization projects. Usually, the basic premise for the projects has been to emulate a human based process in a digital manner. Or, we have tried to make the shoe fit the foot. One of the things I have noted, is how requirements seem to be incompatible with the how a system works. In my experience, human processes are very agile and easily adaptable to any problems that may arise. As human beings, we are able to improvise very quickly in order to finish a process that has gone awry. IT systems, on the other hand, are very stringent in the manner in which tasks are handled. They can only handle tasks in a given number of ways. This, of course, presents a problem in some cases, as we will not be able to support all human processes in the system.

My suggestion is to reverse the train of thought. Instead of adapting the human process to the system, maybe we should rethink the human process for starters. I am not suggesting that we ignore user requirements at all. I am suggesting that making changes to the human process may indeed yield increased benefit from the system support, since we will be much better equipped to support our users. Most human processes have been cultivated over several years anyway, and it might actually be beneficial to have another look at them, since technology has evolved so much over the years, and maybe able to better support the users in their daily work, if their processes are changed.

What I am looking for here, is an authentic digital process. Not an adapted one. A good example of this is the Windows Phone operating system. The designers did not look to recreate “real life” on a screen, but rather designed a new digital process, which then supports given human tasks. In my opinion, it makes for a much cleaner and more effective process, which hopefully will support human tasks as well as the other scenario.