Moving from CA to CBA: A Worthwhile Migration

For leaders of and participants in digital transformation, the acronym “CBA,” or Current Best Approach is a perfect term. Ironically, that is because it does not connote perfection.  Do you have personal CBAs for digital topics?  More importantly, does your organization?  Are they written down and discussed, or do you live in the land of CA’s without being conscious of the “B”?  

This is not talking about creating a big book of standard procedures that nobody opens.  Rather, it is the “This is how we do things around here” tenets for the team’s digital practices.  Done well, these are a scaffolding on which to hang grass-roots digital transformation using the team’s “spare cycles” as people work.  It is empowering because it takes people from frustration with tools to taking satisfaction in new and productive capability.

Do you feel the tension of many tech tools?  They are rapidly evolving. Tools often overlap. The pace of change can be confusing. There is great opportunity in becoming intentional about your CBA’s with the software toolset in your business. This is one thing we do when helping a client with digital transformation –understanding where the leverage points are, making training aids to onboard and bring everyone up to CBA and coming up with a step-by-step migration to make continual progress in the flow of people driving the business.  

This grass-roots digital transformation lets an organization meet corporate efforts half-way. It puts the organization in control of making progress and creates knowledgeable partners with IT. The idea of an advancing front of “best but not perfect” digital CBAs is an empowering concept for any business culture.

Here is a quick, non-fiction case study showing the opportunity.  I was recently giving a quick training to a working level R&D person at a client.  Note:  consultant time is not free, but employee time is even more expensive. We were stopped in our tracks because he could not sync a folder in Microsoft Teams using OneDrive. That was far from the point of the training, which involved equipping him to run visualizations of “big data.”  He works on a business with annual sales greater than $1B with a B. His organization is well-resourced with Microsoft’s latest enterprise stuff –intended to be the hot and cold running water utility for digital collaboration.  For him to do visualizations and use his data to understand and solve a product defect, he needed OneDrive to sync an online folder to his laptop so that he could run a Jupyter notebook.  First problem: my client was not familiar with O365/Teams syncing and even where synced folders go when the software works.  In the hot water metaphor, he had the plumbing installed but could only take cold showers.  Second, OneDrive was not working on his computer.  It was stuck and needed restarting as OneDrive sometimes does.  No visualizations.  No insights from those visualizations.  Learning and business progress stopped cold.

How could this be better?  A productive CBA for this organization is to draw a line in a sand that says, “As a foundation for all digital work, we will have O365/Teams/OneDrive working well for our employees. We will ensure everyone is trained on the basics of this and will develop appropriate quick training aids for onboarding and refreshing this knowledge. This might require a one-time desk-to-desk help session to get things going.  It might lead to productive conversations about how to work together collaboratively on documents and presentations (another CBA).  The digital transformation ball is truly rolling downhill at that point.