Business Transformation.. What, How and Why?

Business Transformation is the process of changing the systems/technology, processes and people across a whole organisation or within departments, to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder/customer satisfaction. As such, a business transformation project is likely to include any number of change management projects/initiatives, each focused on an individual system, technology, process, team or department.

So why would an organisation want to undertake business transformation? If organisations become stagnant and do not transform or evolve they may not be keeping up with competitors, demands from customers or creating additional value. With transformation, organisations have the ability to unlock the potential of employees, work with the latest and greatest technology and become more efficient.

Business transformation can be many things and is a large scale topic. Business transformation activities can be broken down and usually  fall into these categories:

  • Business process transformation
  • Data/digital transformation
  • Organisational transformation
  • Management transformation
  • Cultural transformation

Before organisations can move forwards on a business transformation journey there needs to be a strategy in place. Without a clear direction and objectives for the organisation, any business transformation will likely fail due to no measurements and direction from the organisation and leadership. A strategy must be clear and easy to follow to ensure all individuals in the organisation can work towards the same goals and nothing is lost in translation.

Once a strategy has been defined and clear objectives are in place, its time to look at the capabilities that are needed or needs to be implemented in order to achieve the objectives and goals. It is important to ensure there are individuals who have full focus on the transformation activities rather than adding additional scope to an individuals day job. If transformational activities are put as an addition to someone’s role they will be unable to dedicate the time needed and activities will slip and not be achieved when needed.

Once an organisation has a strategy and objectives in place, understand what is required to achieve those objectives, planning can take place to break down activities for each objective. Activities can be planned in and the transformation work can commence with regular measurement to show the success and progress against the objectives. Some activities could be quick to implement and others longer. Business transformation is not a quick fix, the majority of transformation programmes run for several years aligning to the longer term strategy.  

With any change in an organisation there is always the risk that the individuals and the organisation as a whole could fall back into old ways of working once the activities are completed or the programme comes to an end. Organisations need to measure when they have achieved its objectives but also use the same/similar metrics to ensure they are maintaining that achievement long term. There is no reason for going through the whole transformation process, investing time and money for the organisation to revert back once the programme has completed. The transformation needs to be long term and embedded to ensure value is found and the organisation comes out stronger.  

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