The epidemic usage of the words “IT Transformation” has led to most people sink in the belief that IT (Information Technology) in itself is the panache of all transformations. The appreciation that IT led Transformation is different from IT as a transformation initiative is thin on ground in many instances. So, it is important to realise where IT stands in the transformation game and how to carry out a transformation agenda with IT as the backbone!!!
To draw a parlance to personal transformation; any change, renewal or overhauling starts with the innate need for the make over and has to be inside-out. A Personal Transformation is generally triggered by an intrinsic desire to change – to either achieve a particular goal or to overcome an issue or obstacle. When organic growth through natural selection is reckoned insufficient the Human instinct to drive growth through intelligent design kicks in!
In Organisations too, the starting point of Transformation has to be a Progressive, Pioneering Business Ambition OR a Critical Need for Problem Solving in Business. Technology as an objective for Transformation seldom succeeds but Technology as a means for achieving the Business Objective rarely fails.
The peak of the transformation agenda is the Spirit of the project: a clear cut reason, a clear answer to the question “why”; which goes beyond commercial compulsion and sets out to solve a real life challenge or elevate . Let us take a few examples of this. The advent of ATM machines provided access to cash anytime – anywhere. The innovation of cloud computing ushered in the benefit of unlimited access to information not bound by time and place. Ecommerce helped augment lives by making anything you wanted across borders available at your doorstep and changed the dimension of trade and commerce and touched individual lives in a big way. So, the starting point to any transformation is the soul or the spirit !!!
The next in the structure of Transformational framework is the Process : supported by People and Technology. This provides answer to the question – what do we do? It is a critical structure in constructing the transformation roadmap. It is critical to bring people and technology aligned through the process framework to achieve the end result. It is important to chalk out the roadmap of the change through the process definitions. Automation augments the achievement of the objective through the pre-defined process and People are critical in executing the framework. It is important for Organisations to understand the interlinkages between People and Technology through the Process and be meticulous in conceiving and planning the processes, process automation and employee engagement perfectly well.
None of the above leads to success as much as a precise accomplishment which forms the Implementation framework in the edifice of Business Transformation. This entails responding to the question – how do we achieve the objective ? The three pillars of this framework are Plan, Execute and Monitor. Plan provides the competitive edge by minimizing uncertainties, optimizing resources, improving efficiency and fast tracks execution. Error free execution insulates Businesses from time and cost overruns and most importantly prevents competitive hijacking of Business ideas.. The fruition of the goal is when execution meets the implementation plan in alignment with the strategies. Monitoring is the key to identifying execution gaps, strategic mis-alignments and flaws in planning and helps in course correction to ensure achievement of the goal!!! This framework drives home the point that the role of a strong, objective oriented project management cannot be undermined in ensuring that Business reach their transformational goals. It also reiterates the fact that monitoring and measuring the actual vis-à-vis the planned objectives and periodic measurement of the achievements against the target is critical for the success of the project and also helps in the onward – upcoming transformational initiatives of the Organisation.
The next in the structure of the Business Transformational edifice is the Change Management framework. At the start of any Transformational endeavour, there is a high level of optimism, many a times unrealistic and unjustified; that is triggered. This the phase where the perceived impact far outweighs the actual possible impact of the project. While this propels the project preparatory phase and accelerates progress initially; it is short lived before “apprehension” sets in. This is the time when there is overwhelming realization of the changes that the transformational efforts would bring in; often giving a negative tone driven predominantly by the resistance to change. The “apprehension” gives way to “desperation” generally during the realization phase of a Technology implementation; when the Businesses are faced with initial hiccups owing to the change. It is critical to have a Business Leader driving the effort and orchestrate the change with discipline and empathy during the adoption phase of the IT project to ensure that the next phase of satisfaction sets in!
The basic foundation and structure of the edifice is the Environmental framework. This consists of the stakeholders and the environment in general – Shareholders, Employees, Consumers, Vendors, Government / regulation. It is critical to make sure that the journey augments Business; guaranteeing better ROI to shareholders, enabling employees with simplified operations and improved productivity, enriching Customer Value and empowering Vendors along with ensuring Governance and Compliance – leading to a better and more purposeful contribution to the Economy and ecosystem in general…
It is pivotal that the metamorphosis carries the bolster of the 5 layered framework to transmute an assured well-balanced Organisation driven by a meaningful Business Transformational journey strongly shored up by IT.
Author: Rajeshwari Bhattacharyya, Co-Founder & Global Head