In a surgical analogy, a transformation programme is relative to ‘open heart surgery’ as it is one of the most important and powerful opportunities you can undertake to change the purpose and strategic direction of your organisation.
Transformation programmes are a blend of business, people and technology change including root and branch process review. They are mainly focused around improving customer engagement, commercial return and re-energising the customer experience.
In the planning of any transformation programme, its imperative you fully understand the objectives you are looking to achieve and that your board or leadership team are fully aligned with and agree on the prioritisation of its primary objectives. Everyone must agree that the results you’re looking for are not only achievable and affordable but necessary for you to progress as an organisation.
For any transformation to be successful you will need the full support and buy-in of your whole organisation. Not just key stakeholders but all affected parties including key clients and partners, so you will need to have a full and open communications strategy at all times.
You will need to work out through internal and external consultation the level of necessary change and thus ascertain the degree of transformational surgery you need to perform including the level of process change you can readily consume alongside any necessary new systems, platforms or infrastructure to support it.
It is imperative you keep this communications line open and a continuous dialogue with your key clients to understand what they want from your organisation, what products and subsequent features they use or need and how they wish to consume them (don’t forget to focus on mobile consumption as this will affect your design and performance criteria). You should also take this opportunity to learn of competing solutions and how your products rank against them, which will often give you valuable feedback.
Strong leadership is required during any transformation programme so that it stays true to its principles and delivers its agreed objectives whilst staying open to internal and external client feedback throughout.
The leadership team will need to control the direction and pace of the transformation so that business as usual operations are not interrupted or allowed to veer off track (an obvious but often overlooked dilemma).
It is imperative the leadership team understands both the technology and business goals and how decisions in either can have a knock on effect in the other. Managing this critical symbiotic relationship will not only ensure adherence to the project plan but also limit costs and surprises along the way.
Most transformation programmes will require fine tuning and subtle alterations through their lifetime as not all necessary objectives will be deliverable without some form of tweaking.
Some objectives may not act as desired once in development or testing and require reworking, postponing until later in the programme or removal. This is where strong leadership and a firm hand on the tiller is imperative.
A full training, implementation and internal/external support plan is a major but often overlooked component of any transformation programme. Skip this stage at your peril as it will cause your transformation programme to fall spectacularly and very publicly at the last hurdle.
Transformation programmes of any size are major surgery on your organisation and subsequently need constant follow up and handholding of both internal staff, partners and external clients to make sure all of your implemented objectives are delivering as planned. This will allow you to make any necessary amendments and fine tuning whilst showing proactivity and desire to deliver the best possible results you can.
Transformation is an important process in reengineering an organisation and ensuring it stays relevant in how it operates, making sure its products and services are commercially relevant as well as improving the strength of the customer experience it delivers. It should not be taken lightly but when done well it can give you an enormous competitive advantage, re-energised staff, revenue generating products and an engaged client base.
This post has also been featured on the HP Business Value Exchange here and here on the IBM Middleware site in my position as a member of the IBM VIP Influencer Programme