In Biology, the DNA of an organism is the series of instructions that determine what the organism will be, how it behaves and engages with the environment.
In companies, their DNA refers to the ways and practices that they implement to fulfill their goals. How they create their products, how employees interact with each other, how they request services of the firm and even how they document their own work.
Sometimes, these practices are codified in company manuals. Other times, they are passed down through the oral history of the firm. There are mavens of company practice that have learnt and "just know" the ‘company way’. All of those approaches have their strengths: manuals are tomes through which the savvy will learn and grow. Oral histories personalize and make employees walking reference points for how the business runs. Mavens are pillars of practice.
However, over time, the constraints associated with each of these approaches can cripple organizations in their onward march, from causing isolationism to an inability to quickly adjust the way things are done. To avoid them, organizations have found themselves implementing programmes and systems with various degrees of success.
For those with manuals, computerization might be the order of the day. Computerization tends to not go far enough in that, simply copying the data written down in instruction manuals to documents or websites help make the information accessible, but not easily transformed.
Oral histories become captured but then have to be put through the process of transference, translation and perhaps transformation. It can also be difficult to obtain all the information about how a thing is actually done. One may know how to do it, but there may be bits of knowledge that has become automatic, tactile and invisible.
Mavens, because of pride, protectionism or politics may deliberately keep their ways close to their chests, thus making the process of understanding what the organization actually does a mystery, difficult to reveal.
But all is not lost. Automation is a powerful antidote for the challenges associated with manual, undefined or informal processes. Automation will help companies capture their processes, key personnel and expected outcomes. It tracks how the appropriate persons, information and activities work together to produce stable and predictable outcomes. Automation will sequence the DNA of firms. In so doing, as the age of DNA unfolds and allows for diagnoses of threats and revelation of possible strengths, companies will similarly be able to benefit from that knowledge.
You can read more about mapping the corporate genome here.
For more information on a cloud-based platform that allows for easy automation (think hours), reference www.quikworxcloud.com.