Importance of Simplicity In Technology Excellence


Do you ever purchase a gadget that’s difficult to use?

Many don’t because time is money.

Photo by Aleksi Tappura on Unsplash

Simplicity looks like a paradoxical term.

You may ask how we can expect excellence to be provided with simplicity as distinction refers to complexity. Excellence is a broad and complex topic. It requires sophisticated attributes such as in-depth knowledge, varied skills, and extensive experience.

Ironically, to create simplicity and excellence, one needs to deal with a lot of complexity. Simplicity requires us to diminish complication and sophistication in the process.

To simplify, we must acquire in-depth knowledge, advanced skills, and substantial experience. Paradoxically, we need to deal with complexity skilfully to create simplicity and excellence.

Simplicity is a well sought-after characteristic in technology services and products. The digital world is formed for simplicity and clarity for consumers. Simplicity in products and services makes it appealing to the consumers and creates a competitive advantage.

Technology excellence requires articulating the most complicated and complex matters in a simple format that others understand. Simplicity requires clear communication. One way of clear communication is to customise our message to consumers’ level in the right context.

Simplicity is essential for dealing with complex technical matters and building relationships. Technology leaders must communicate in simple terms. By simplifying technical issues when dealing with technical problems, they establish relationships with the consumers

User-centric technology leaders ask how they can create products and services that are simple, intuitive, and human-centric. Consumer-oriented simplicity is a requirement for leading innovative teams. They motivate their teams to think in simple terms when conveying complicated technical messages.

The path to digital transformation begins with simplifying the technology and process components at all levels.

Process simplicity is a critical topic in all technology domains.

One of the effective ways to this simplification is automating routine tasks and technology stacks. Automation can help to simplify. While delving into details in technology, excellent technology leaders also focus on emerging needs by simplifying them in consumer terms.

Consumers keep complaining that technology creates complexity and makes it difficult to understand concepts and objects in natural human language.

For example, many consumers complain about the cumbersome documentation written in the convoluted language. They also show their disapproval of the voluminous documents for the use of a small technology device. They call it a waste.

There is a generational disconnect in dealing with process simplicity. The old generation used to read manuals to solve their computer problems. Software stacks used to come in large read-me files.

However, the new generation works with technology intuitively. They hardly look at a product manual. If they are stuck, they would usually watch a YouTube video on how to do something or troubleshoot something. Instead of reading, they prefer watching a video. This is a dramatic cultural shift in consumer technologies.

After process simplicity, service simplicity comes next.

Technology is rapidly transforming towards a services orientation. Most of the technology domains are provided based on services models in the industry. The most common technology trend is the Cloud Computing services model.

In the Cloud services model, everything is provided as services such as infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service, database as a service, and many other technology stacks can be offered as a service.

The services model requires substantial amounts of simplification for users to get the benefits of using technologies. Technology leaders using sophisticated skills can simplify services and can add value to the business.

These leaders can inspire and motivate their followers to simplify services required by consumers. Simplification is an innovative process that technology leaders lead and become role models for other stakeholders.

Simplicity and clarity are closely related. Especially in the technical services industry, providing a transparent experience to the technical team members can be very beneficial.

Besides, making this transparent experience available to the end-user even more simplified and more explicit formats for the usage patterns can add additional value to the service provision goals.

An effective way of providing simplicity to the consumer is to think like the consumers. Eminent technology leaders focus on the core tenets of simplifying products and services for the best possible user experience and satisfactory consumption merits.

Design simplicity is an essential factor to consider in services models. The clarity in design can be reflected in delivering services that support underlying systems.

Applying design thinking, combined with adopting agile design methods, is one of the simplification approaches. Simplification is an enabler for agile service delivery. Agile methods strive for simplifications using an iterative process. Each iteration is simpler than whole chunks.

By applying agile methods to the design phase, complicated requirements are simplified using simple use cases based on personas. Complex systems are deconstructed into smaller parts and dealt with simpler chunks. System relationships are simplified with iterative flows. The focus is on smaller building blocks.

Most of the technology services nowadays are digitally offered using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Mobile designs must focus on simplicity by removing clutter from screens due to small screen views. These types of designs must focus on only fundamentally essential objects.

Designing complex systems require simplifications through modular and service-oriented designs. Modularity and modular approaches to complex solutions are essential for simplification and digital transformation.

One practical approach can be a domain-based walkthrough of simplifying modules of IT infrastructure, applications, architecture, middleware, security, network, and data domains. For example, in Big Data solutions and ecosystems, it is desirable to have a simplified schema for the databases.

To elaborate on design simplification, let’s take containers as an example. Containers break down monolithic interdependent architectures into manageable and independent components. A container, as a loosely coupled system, is an entire runtime environment in a bundle. It includes dependencies, binaries, libraries, and configuration files.

These new techniques and approaches can help us simplify the design process. Superior technology leaders are conscious of using simplicity for design. They run workshops to convey the message for intuitive user-centric designs based on simplicity principles.

As a top-down approach after simplifying the process, services, and designs, the next step is streamlining procedures and specifications.

For many years, time and energy spent on the system and user specification of software and hardware products and services were substantial. These cost an enormous amount of funds for the projects developing the specifications with many talented engineers, technical architects and other technical specialists.

However, it became evident that the investment made on these specifications yielded less gain than expected.

The digital trends, mobile culture, and agile approaches substantially addressed the cumbersome specifications, especially concerning the users or consumers. The deep-down technical details for user specifications were found unnecessary.

An interesting approach was proposed by Agile methods and has gained attention for over a decade now. Agile methods proposed simplifications of cumbersome specifications in user stories format.

User stories are simple templates, including the functionalities, capabilities, and specifications from users or consumers point of view. Developing and understanding the user stories consisting of a page or so are much more comfortable and more effective than creating or reading hundreds of pages of specifications in traditional methods.

To conclude, technology leaders must pay special attention to simplicity and add it to their executive agenda.

A top-down approach to simplicity by deconstructing all components can be an effective solution.

The bottom line is consumers need simplicity. They don’t have the patience and appetite to deal with complex services and products. Your product or services can have a state of art technologies and remarkable features, but if they are not simple enough for consumer, you lose the competitive edge in the market. Sadly, your product or services can fail.

Thank you for reading my perspectives.

Reference: A Technical Excellence Framework for Innovative Digital Transformation Leadership

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.


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