Enhancing digital workflows by eliminating redundant work processes

To fully incorporate digital transformation within workflows and processes, organisations must rejuvenate and subtract from existing processes.
By: | May 29, 2023

As organisations continue their digital workplace transformation journey, they should focus on not just adding new things and ideas, but also subtracting what is not required.

According to a study conducted by the Copenhagen Business School, Leuphana University, and University of Turku, the subtraction logic is defined as the process of challenging and removing obstructive routines and technologies to make way for new ideas. Despite being a pertinent consideration, the subtraction logic tends to be ignored during the digital transformation process, said Abayomi Baiyere, the study’s co-author and Associate Professor at the Copenhagen Business School.

The research study centred on one of the world’s oldest car manufacturers that employed more than 200,000 employees worldwide and started the process of the digital workplace transformation strategy in 2016.

The study cited examples found in the organisation, including changing existing approval roles to reduce the amount of time taken in decision-making; removing systems for formal approval for business trips to empower employees; and eliminating permission rights to the IT ordering system so that employees could order IT equipment that they needed based on job requirements and not their position in the company.

These practices, said the study’s authors, provide impetus for organisations to embrace new processes while taking away processes that do not work anymore.

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“Our hope is that organisations use our research to approach digital workplace transformation not only by incorporating new practices and new technologies but also by eliminating those that impede their transformation goals. Taking such a balanced view may help managers avoid frustrations caused by the dominant ‘addition narrative’ logic,” added Associate Professor Baiyere.