What are the imperatives for business transformation? It is both an expensive and highly disruptive journey, so why do it? There are a number of reasons why organisations call for major transformations, as opposed to running much more discrete change initiatives. I’ve highlight 10 of the most common below, and I will be writing more on these in the future.
- Driving Shareholders Value– For publicly listed businesses shareholder perception is paramount. If there is any perception of a lack of competitiveness through, for example an aged business model, or that there is too much cost in the business, this will detract from investment. Therefore a transformation programme will have a positive impact on the share price.
- Digital Disruption– Customers are changing the way they buy. If you have bought from Amazon recently then you’re part of this change. New ‘digital converts’ and emerging ‘digital natives’ want what I call the 4S experience, i.e Speedy, Seamless, Sin (error) free digital experience, and they want it ‘on the Spot’ i.e. now and everywhere. This ‘digital revolution’, i.e. the coming together of a plethora of access devices, web technologies and the ‘socialisation’ of the web is forcing many organisations to challenge the way they operate. This challenge to transform is not only in the customer facing domain, but also how that connects back all the way through the business and supply chain.
- Regulation– Market regulation isn’t new, but it is growing as governments both locally and internationally seek to control the less desirable characteristics of free markets. Implementing regulatory changes in a business in a co-ordinated way, so as to avoid unintended consequences, is an initiative which must be transformational in nature.
- Disruptive Technology– Technologies such as ‘the cloud’ are driving the digital revolution and is placing ever greater importance on business IT, through increased need for computing power and storage. Essentially moving business IT out into the cloud means that there is less reliance on physical assets within the business and IT becomes virtual, and can be bought in as a service on a pay per use basis.
- Diversification and new business streams– Seeking opportunities to bring new offerings to existing and new markets is a major preoccupation of large business enterprises. This challenge is best served by a major, joined up transformation programme to bring people, processes and technology together to ensure coordinated success.
- Cost reduction– Reducing costs in business enables the release of funds which can re-invested to achieve growth in other areas. There is no doubt that this often means headcount reduction, but more often it is about making expensive business processes more efficient, in order to do more with less. For example more payment transactions in less time, which might then lead to the redeployment of existing staff into more value add, less transactional roles.
- Process improvement– A rigorous reworking of internal processes can make big differences to business fortunes – huge amounts of cost can be driven out by eliminating wasteful processes, whilst at the same time improving customer satisfaction and employee relations.
- Changes in the Business Environment– “The pace of change is increasing”, business leaders and technologists have been using that phrase for at least a decade and a half. Just when organisations have developed their strategy, based on the latest disruptive technology or emerging geography something else changes. New demographics, emerging geographies, new markets and the need for new revenue streams, are just some of the challenges that companies face.
- Customer Service optimisation– Digital has and will continue to deepen customer engagement. Certainly customers are demanding more from customer service teams. Optimising and continually improving the customer experience and service is key to success and should not be seen as value add, but as standard.
- Workforce Demographics– The global population of working age people is diminishing. In the next 20 years it is predicted that there will be huge skill shortages across established and emerging nations. Outsourcing lower cost transactional functions will also increasingly become a standard.