Growing into the future, part 3: Growing SMARTER


Welcome to the final installment of the growing into the future series. Today, we’re looking at how Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls took what they learned about growing faster and growing stronger, and then applied it all toward growing smarter.

As I mentioned in part one, even with the undeniably greatest player in basketball history, you still need a team to win.

A smart team. Which brings us to the triangle offense.

Intelligent offense

Initially the idea of coach Sam Barry at the University of Southern California, Tex Winter took the triangle offense to another level as assistant coach for the Bulls during Jordan’s spectacular tenure. After all, growing smarter means not just having a great team, but having great coaches.

You know, experts who you can partner with to ensure ongoing success.

At this time, Phil Jackson was the head coach, and he wanted to do something about what the Detroit Pistons called the “Jordan Rules.” This was a defensive strategy where basically the entire team guarded Jordan, roughing him up while trying to keep the ball away from him.

It was time for an innovative strategy.

By employing the triangle offense — a rotating triangle of three offensive players — the Bulls were able to move the ball quickly and create space on the court. At the same time, the team’s success gave it the ability to pick up other great players to supplement Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

This forced defenders to guard the ball and freed Jordan, giving him a little breathing space. So, by the time he did get the ball, even if they scrambled to triple team him, it was too late.

The business world is the same way. When an organization turns a profit, it also turns heads. Especially those of competitors. So they crowd around the ball, trying to steal it.

For example, I remember a case study my class discussed when I was getting my MBA, which is as close as I’ll ever get to the NBA. Missed it by one letter!

The case study focused on a barber shop that was doing incredible business, so someone opened a competing barber shop across the street. To cut into the successful shop’s business, the new shop put up a huge billboard advertising $10 haircuts.

It worked. The new barber shop started stealing customers. But the established organization had a trick up its sleeve: A great strategy.

So, the original barber shop put up its own billboard, stating: “We fix bad haircuts for $11.”

It was a brilliant move. And the end of the competition.

Which brings us to the idea of intelligence in business. And these days, it’s no longer confined to the brains of humans.

Intelligent automation

Just like freeing Jordan from swarming defenders and giving other great players a chance to score, intelligent automation frees your entire roster by taking care of manual tasks for them. Like a great screen that blocks a defender, your players shake off busywork and get a clear route to the basket.

This improves both the employee and customer experience. After all, everyone wants to be on, or be a fan of, a winning team that moves fast and scores a lot.

There are three main components of intelligent automation. They are:

1. Intelligent capture

In an increasingly digital world, information is becoming your organization’s most valuable asset. But relying on employees to manually receive, process, and input that information into your systems is slow, error prone, and can cause inaccurate decisions. That’s where intelligent capture helps.

“Intelligent capture is the linchpin of intelligent automation,” according to Scott Caesar, director of innovation at Hyland. “It not only automatically captures data — even unstructured data like handwriting — but it actually understands the data and classifies it.”

Today, information is coursing into your organization at an incredible — and increasing — pace. If you’re stuck in the early stages of trying to capture, manage, and access it, it’s like blindfolding your players before you send them out onto the court. They need that information now to make the best decisions and help customers.

Think of it like this: Intelligent capture designs plays where players are moving around the court and then suddenly, they’re open, someone passes them the rock, and they sink a three pointer for the win.

2. Workflow automation

Another great way to keep the ball moving is by using workflow automation. The right workflow solutions feature automation engines and electronic routing systems that empower your organization to process work faster, more efficiently, and more accurately. A rich set of point-and-click configurable rules and actions allows you to quickly automate manual processes with no need for custom programming.

With workflow automation, documentation automatically speeds through processes, alerting stakeholders as it does. It also flags inaccurate or incomplete information to keep work moving.

It’s like a Jordan no-look pass to an open player for an easy layup. Repeatedly.

3. Robotic process automation

Robotic process automation is like Dennis Rodman. Seriously.

Earlier in his career, Rodman was a key member of the Detroit Pistons’ team that roughed up Jordan and repeatedly thwarted the Bulls’ playoff ambitions. However, as Jordan began to age, the Bulls realized that having someone take care of the grunt work like rebounding and getting into the opposing team’s faces — and heads – was yet another way to free Jordan to score.


By utilizing robotic process automation, software robots take care of tedious work that saps creativity. By letting the bots take care of mouse clicking, copying, pasting, opening applications, and switching applications, once again, you free your players on the court.

No more repetitive, manual tasks like information collection and data entry. Just easy lanes to the hoop.

Intelligent dynasty

Well folks, that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

I also hope you picked up a trick or two that will help your organization become a dynasty.

Whether it’s the beginning of your digital transformation journey, you’re researching low code, or adopting intelligent automation, it’s all about constantly evolving. Like Jordan and the Bulls, once you win, you know other teams have their sights set on you.

But if you tap into intelligent technology to free the creative instincts of your players, you’ll always win.

Scoop Skupien is a former radio station mascot. A rabbit, if you really want to know. These days, he's a content marketing manager at Hyland. The author of three books, he’s been writing about tech at Hyland for more than a decade. His industry certifications include CDIA, ecmp, and an MBA.
Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien

Scoop Skupien is a former radio station mascot. A rabbit, if you really want to know. These days, he’s a content marketing manager at Hyland. The author of three books,... read more about: Scoop Skupien