AT A GLANCE
- Business transformation efforts play a critical role in a dynamic business environment.
- There are five indispensable basics of business transformation to consider.
- Business Transformation Initiatives can be planned and implemented at six steps
If you Google “Business Transformation,” you would see various definitions as well as some fancy frameworks. There are probably as many different definitions of -and approaches to- business transformation as there are consultants. We can also say that business transformation implementation is very challenging and lots to take in.
That said, there is a silver lining: regardless of how you describe and approach Business Transformation, it is possible to reduce the concept to a few essential aspects.
STRATEGY AT THE TOP… AS ALWAYS!
Irrespective of the business area, transformation should come up with a concrete need. The company’s strategy must trigger that business need. In other words, whatever you plan and achieve, it must be linked to the company’s strategic objectives. Hence, a business transformation initiative should start with a clear business goal such as entering new channels, re-designing sales and distribution teams, increasing profitability, or improving lead to cash cycle as per the strategy.
“Whatever you plan and achieve, it must be aligned with the company’s strategy.”
Any transformation initiative not bound to the company’s targets is a candidate to fail even to get started, let alone to be implemented. So, you must come up with solid reasoning around how your business transformation will help the company to achieve its strategic targets.
THE INSEPARABLE TRIO: OPERATIONS, ORGANIZATION AND SYSTEMS!
Although we will explain each of these three aspects separately, it is critical to consider them together; during both planning and implementation. The reason is quite simple: when you modify one of those aspects, that change will indeed affect the rest, like a chain reaction. For example, by altering the steps of a process, you might inadvertently cause the replacement of the person in charge.
Operations refer to your value chain, daily operations, processes, etc. Often, business transformation efforts are initiated or focused on improving, re-engineering, or developing an operations stream.
Simply said while the goal of a transformation could be about operations, the changes that take place will eventually impact the way you designed your organization. The opposite is also true: a change in an organizational structure will also affect the operations.
Often, the requirements of the organizational change derive from an operational need. For instance, let’s say you just changed a process. Other than its steps, what else would be affected?
- Adding/removing responsibilities to related titles
- Introducing a new organizational unit/title
- Changing the responsibility type of certain positions (i.e. Responsible to Accountable in a RACI Matrix)
- Revising the grading levels of certain positions
All of the modifications above are directly related to some organizational change. The reverse is equally true: a suggested change in an organization could affect how a process would be conducted. Does that sound familiar?
By systems, we refer to workflows -ideally digital systems, MIS, etc.- that directly support the company’s business activities and decision making. With the digital age being in full throttle, it is inevitable to consider the effects of systems on business transformation efforts. For instance, here are some of the systemic consequences you must think when you conduct a process change.
- How will the information and data flow?
- How will the process info be integrated into other systems/processes?
- How will the changes in responsibilities be reflected in the system users’ rights?
- How will we measure the effectiveness of the new process? (i.e. which reports will we need?)
“A business transformation initiative should include the system’s effect on business change.”
CULTURE AS A POWERFUL ENABLER
As a business transformation planner, you cannot implement all the changes alone. Regardless of how well your transformation is planned, proper implementation requires an effective Change Management plan.
Peter Drucker once said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” which we can confirm by our own experiences. During a transformation effort, a change management plan is necessary, as:
- Employees should be aware of the business transformation initiative,
- They should also believe in it,
- Transformation is a team effort; you need to have structured teams to perform it, so you need full support from them.
HOW TO APPROACH BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION CASES
Grasping and internalizing the basics of business transformation helps a lot. Still, that does not change the fact that a Business Transformation Project is a challenging effort.
We, as Maven Insights Team, built a practical and proven framework to support our clients in their relevant projects.
- First, we understand the strategy and direction of the company
- We conduct a diagnostic analysis to identify the company’s current standing against the set strategy
- Then, we formulate the Business Transformation initiative(s) aligned with corporate strategy and direction
- We check the readiness of the organizational culture to initiate such a transformation
- We develop a transformation plan that includes: Operations, organizations, systems aspects, change management plan
- Finally, we help in/by:
- Improving / re-engineering / developing operations streams
- Identifying & implementing relevant changes in organizational structure
- Developing the business requirements in digitization efforts
- Managing business transformation programs
- Supporting people to adapt to the transformation needs to ensure a smooth transition
Business Transformation efforts never were and never will be easy due to several factors. However, keeping the above basics in mind and applying a structured plan will ease the hassle and complications.
As a team of planning and implementation experts, we can help you in your journey — not only with our program management but also with our operational improvement, people management, and digital transformation capabilities.