Business Transformation: Key Lessons Learned

Key Lessons Learned Working in Change

Here are some of the lessons that summarise our experience helping clients through their business change, enterprise software deployments, and digital transformation initiatives:

  1. After 20+ years in business change, it has always been more about people and processes than it is about technology.

As much as technology has changed over the last couple of decades, some things don’t change one bit.  In particular, successful enterprise transformations have more to do with people and business processes than they do with the technology itself.  If anything, this is truer now than it was several years ago.  Change management and organisational development is more important than ever.


  1. There is no one-size fits all answer to digitalisation challenges.

Software vendors may push a one-size-fits-all solution since it’s what they sell, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for you. For example, many vendors push trendy cloud solutions because it means more profits for them, but it’s not the right answer for everyone.

Big-bang approaches to deployments may not suit the context of the clients needs where a more iterative dripping tap approach to new system functionality may be appropriate.


  1. It is a truism most Consultants do not have your best interests in mind.

Just as software vendors may push a myopic solution, most consultants also push what is best for them rather than what is best for your organisation.  This is because the industry is still dominated by consultants, resellers, and system integrators with financial ties to software vendors.


  1. Your business should drive your digital and enterprise software needs – not the other way around.

Your business has been successful for a reason, and often times this is true in spite of your outdated enterprise systems. You do not want your enterprise software, or anything else, to cause you to lose the “secret sauce” that makes you who you are. Successful companies start with their business needs and let those drive their technology initiatives.


  1. Take industry hype with a grain of salt.

There will always be industry buzzwords and new trends to cloud your thinking and understanding of the market, so it’s important to look beyond short-term trends. Cloud systems, digital transformation, big data, analytics, mobility, internet of things, and a slew of other sexy terms will come and go, so it’s important to focus on what’s best for your business (see point #4).  Know your drivers for why you want to change before you execute what to change and how.


  1. Even the best technology will not fix your broken business processes.

One of the biggest (and most longstanding) misconceptions in the industry is related to business process management. Some will tell you that their off-the-shelf technology will help you define your business processes; but don’t fall for it!  It sounds good in theory, but today’s software is too flexible with too many options to allow short-cutting of this important part of your transformation initiative.


  1. An effective business and IT strategy backed up with a well thought through execution process is the foundation for success.

Companies too often start running full speed ahead with their initiatives without a clear sense of direction. The only way to overcome industry biases, hype, and myopic thinking is to define a clear digital technology roadmap that fits your specific business strategy and objectives.


  1. Failures do not happen overnight.

To the uneducated and inexperienced, it may seem as though one or two fatal mistakes lead to a complete catastrophe. That could not be further from the truth. Whatever the scale of the failure, there are any number of reasons why a transformation project might go awry. The business case might not have scoped the project correctly; the planning phase might not have been sufficiently thorough; the skill set needed to get the project over the line might have been lacking in some areas. Much like death from a thousand paper cuts, change program failures develop over months or years of poor strategies, decision-making, and execution. Experienced and agnostic expertise can help you identify those failure points before it’s too late.


  1. Business change program failures have a lot in common – and so do successful ones

Neither change success nor failure is a result of chance. Instead, there are clear and consistent patterns between those that succeed and those that fail. It is important to understand those patterns so you can pivot as things get off track along the way and any one of our independent change consultants can help with that, so contact us today.


  1. Advances in technology are a double-edged sword.

For the most part, enterprise technology improvements have been a good thing for customers. But, it’s also a double-edged sword. Robust functionality and impressive flexibility also make implementations more challenging from a people and process perspective (see point #1 above).  You may not need to exploit every feature of the new technology as this may complicate you processes key is to make the technology to simplify your business processes not over-engineer them.


  1. Dramatic enterprise software and digital transformations aren’t for everyone.

It may be blasphemous to say out loud, but some clients simply should not  move forward with their digital transformation or enterprise software implementation efforts.  For some, there is more low-hanging fruit that can be accomplished with much less cost and risk, such as business process reengineering, upgrades to current systems, or implementing point solutions.


  1. Vendor independence and objectivity is still a critical key to success.

In order to navigate change options and best route specific to clients own situation it is important to find a trusted, independent consulting firm, like Adastra with no ties to software vendors or, agendas to make you dependent on us to help you plan and execute your change journey. This is true not just for the business analysis or, software evaluation stage of your project, but also for the implementation phases as well.

There are undoubtedly more lessons but these few are a good foundation for anyone considering business change, digital or, enterprise software change initiative.

What do you think? Is this helpful for your transformation? Happy to discuss these points with you to see what is really relevant.

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