Today, organizations are susceptible to constant change. According to Forbes, 70% ofcompanies either have a digital transformation in place or are working on one. To keep up with the change, almost every successful organization ensures to keep the balance between three factors—people, process, and technology. In the past few decades, the people, process, technology (PPT) framework has emerged as one of the best ways for organizations to improve their operational efficiency and achieve unrivaled growth.
People, process, technology (PPT) framework is typically a method in which the balance of people, process, and technology drive organizational change. As people undertake different processes and use various technologies to complete their tasks for any organization, balancing these three components and maintaining a good relationship between them can significantly boost efficiency as well as productivity.
History of People, Process, Technology (PPT) Framework
The roots of the PPT framework date back to the early 1960s when a business management expert named Herold Leavitt developed a change-focused ‘Diamond Model’ in his paper entitled “Applied Organization Change in Industry”. The original diamond model proposed by Leavitt constituted four elements—people, structure, tasks, and technology.
However, several people later combined structure and tasks into a process and turned the diamond into a triangle. Bruce Schneier—computer security and privacy specialist—was one such person who revolutionized this framework and people, process, technology became a mantra for successful organizational management. Since then, many others leveraged this framework in various areas to address the change. Realizing the potentials of combining these elements together, numerous organizations around the world started using the PPT framework.
Elements of the Framework
Each element of the framework is important in various ways. A thorough understanding of these elements is crucial for an organization to succeed.
This is arguably the most important element of this triangle. In general terms, ‘people’ refers to the employees associated with an organization. They are the ones who are practically involved with the company’s tasks and have a direct impact on its efficiency. Employee productivity is a major issue faced by organizations today. A report shows that 75% of organizations around the world are projected to increase the use of productivity tools to tackle this issue.
Hiring the right people is one of the most important tasks for organizations. They need to identify and shortlist the employees with the right skills, attitude, and experience required for a particular job. Another major issue is the availability of efficient employees. While implementing a change, it is paramount for organizations to have their best personnel available. Thus, they should be aware of the timetables and availability of the most productive employees.
Executing a change also requires dedication. Organizations thus should ensure that the employees are aligned with the mission and vision of the company and are willing to give their absolute best to complete the task at hand. Thus, a group of highly productive, motivated, and passionate employees is a critical element of the people, process, technology framework.
A process is a combination of actions or steps that aim towards achieving a particular goal. In general terms, processes are repeatable actions that produce similar result theoretically, regardless of who is performing them. A process is the answer to all the ‘how’s in the PPT framework, for example—how will we achieve the optimum result; how can people and technology be used in combination, etc.
Proper implementation of processes, however, is not as easy as it seems. An organization has to keep in mind several things before starting a process. These things include,
- Understanding how people fit into a process
- Identifying and focusing on the key steps
- Considering the metrics to measure the success
- Monitoring and evaluating feedback
Once the people and processes are well managed, technology comes in place.
According to a report, 87% of CIOs believe digitally empowering their employees can drive at least 5% additional revenue growth over three years. In today’s world, technology is the backbone of an organization. Technology provides tools that people can leverage to carry out the processes. It also helps in automating certain processes for quick and tangible results. Given its benefits, organizations can be tempted to invest more in technology. However, they should ensure that the technology fits well into the organization.
Investing heavily in technology without taking people and processes into consideration can be disadvantageous for a company. Technology can be leveraged to its fullest with the right people following the right processes. Thus, organizations need to define their objectives and processes as well as train the people to ensure optimum use of technology and ultimately maximum productivity.
Importance of Balancing the Elements
While all the three elements of the people, process, technology framework exist independently, they do affect one another in multiple ways. If one of the elements is changed, several changes are visible in the two other elements as well. Thus, ensuring the intact balance between them is important. The three elements of the framework can also be seen as a tripod stand. If one of the legs is weakened or shortened, the whole stand can immediately break down. Maintaining the balance may seem difficult; however, it is paramount if an organization is seeking the perfect PPT framework.
Relevance of People, Process, Technology today
When digital transformation started picking pace, several people anticipated that the people, process, technology framework would become obsolete. However, that was not the case. Several experts initially thought that the increasing prominence of technology would place it above people and processes which would cause imbalance. They believed that greater dependence on technology would significantly alter the conversations and interactions between people, processes, and technology.
Some experts also believed that the triangle will again transform back into a diamond. They proposed that data would become a new component that would ensure a balance between people, processes, and technology. According to their theory, data would help business leaders determine the vision and mission of the company. While some professionals have started using the diamond model, the theory that the PPT framework will become obsolete has been debunked. Businesses today are leveraging the PPT framework more than ever while implementing new technologies.
Applying the PPT Framework in the Workplace
An average digital transformation strategy usually does not include people, as a result, it fails. For implementing the PPT framework at the workplace, organizations should make sure they are not excluding people as they are the ones who carry out the processes using technology. Moreover, several organizations today are leveraging the PPT framework for short-term changes over long-term transformations.
For the effective and efficient application of the PPT framework in the workplace, the concerned organizations should be aware of their flaws and should look to use the framework to fill in the gaps. While using the PPT framework in the workplace, organizations should consider various interactions such as the interactions between processes and technology, people and processes, as well as people and technology.
In a nutshell, digital transformation is expected to continue bringing a plethora of changes in how organizations operate in the long term. Keeping up with the changes, therefore, is daunting, to say the least. Methods like people, process, technology framework will also continue to play a pivotal role in organizational development in the future.
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