How do you deal with the complexity of Business Transformation?
Business Transformation encompasses a variety of situations: mergers and acquisitions; digital transformation; re-structuring and re-organization; performance optimization… and more.
In all these cases, the impact of the transformation crosses departmental boundaries: this transversality is a key factor contributing to the complexity of Business Transformation.
- Acquisition and merger of an external company is not just the business of the legal and finance departments of the buyer. The integration of the purchased company will most likely impact Information Systems, HR processes, marketing and sales, possibly R&D or manufacturing. It will certainly affect all employees and the culture of the company.
- Digital transformation is likely to drive changes across the board: IT, marketing, sales, HR, customer support. It might even impact the business model, as well as products and services depending on the nature of the business. It often has implications on the job content for many employees.
- Restructuring to adapt to market constraints might involve off shoring, near-shoring, insourcing, or outsourcing of multiple departments in the corporation, as well as merging departments, suppressing others, or creating new ones.
- Financial performance improvement could involve cost reduction initiatives across the board, changes in business development and sales, addressing new markets…
- Operational performance optimization will most likely impact administrative processes, sales operations, supply chain, manufacturing…
Whatever the size of the enterprise, these transformations will bear a definite amount of complexity, due to their being multi-disciplinary.
A few simple principles must be kept in mind in order to ensure that the transformation delivers the expected benefits and does not draw huge and ineffective amounts of resources and energy from the workforce.
Break down complexity of Business Transformation
Or “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time”.
Can you define a few dedicated initiatives or projects that are necessary components of the Business Transformation of your company, each of them with specific objectives and deliverables? For instance, you might break down a digital transformation into a web marketing project, a set of IT initiatives, a sales training project, a customer support modernization project, a marketing job re-engineering project…
Or “Don’t eat more than you can chew”.
Can you develop a benefit roadmap (which benefits are expected, when, what are the dependencies) and prioritize projects/components of the transformation accordingly? Not everything needs to happen at the same time.
Structure and govern
Or “You reap what you sow”.
Be sure to clarify expectations from the overall transformation, as well as from each constituent: objectives, deliverables, and benefits. Assign a Business Transformation Program Manager. Empower her to assign owners for each constituent project (Project Managers).The Business Transformation Program Manager will establish a governance process that will help make key decisions and manage risks.
Acquire the right skills
Or “No man is an island”.
If the skills you need to lead the Business Transformation or its constituents are tied up or not available, think about solutions to acquire them from outside, even temporarily (consulting, interim management) and make sure you use this as an opportunity for your teams to develop the new skills.
Or “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”
Chances are that there will be issues and rocks to turn along the Business Transformation journey. As usual in business, you will not get discouraged by these difficulties, especially if you have established the right structure and governance to manage them.
Or “One half of the world does not know how the other half lives”
The transformation will impact employees, customers, partners, investors… From day one, you need to ensure that expectations are aligned, progress is communicated broadly, successes (even partial or small) are celebrated, difficulties are shared…
All this being in place, how do you ensure that the transformation process is agile enough to accommodate unavoidable and unexpected events along the way?
Stay tuned, we will cover this topic in a future post.