Once an organisation reaches the stage where it can’t maintain competitiveness or remain viable through incremental improvements or department overhauls, it’s time to consider an enterprise-wide digital transformation. This “burning platform” moment is required to override the transformation hesitancy, disruption, and uncertainty. This isn’t a technology exercise but encompasses re-imagining and digitising business models, processes, experiences, competencies, and business opportunities, by embracing the digital economy and its technologies.
Enterprise transformation is messy, disruptive, and exceptionally difficult with competing tactical challenges and the usual resistance to change requiring a radically new mindset. Working across various Australian and global services sector organisations, eight guidelines have emerged. These guidelines highlight opportunities to improve the chances of success by focussing on the future model, rather than on existing pain points. All are crucial for success and experience shows that none should be neglected. 1. Enterprise-wide Initiative
An enterprise-wide digital transformation needs to be an enterprise-wide initiative actively led by the CEO, as all business processes, rules, people and data will need to be transformed to the new model. Moving to a digital, automated, straight-through processing model will means that the low-value, high-volume transactions are automated, leaving less more highly skilled staff to manage the areas that demand the human touch and emotional intelligence. These high-value interactions differentiate the organisation. This is usually a significant departure from the current business model and structure. Having a clear vision, direct and unwavering CEO is required to drive a growth mindset and reposition the organisation through the disruptive change. 2. The “New” Experience
In the digital economy the “experience” is paramount. Organisations must collaborate across ecosystems to build this highly personalised and seamless experience. The best way to create a personalised, straight-through, automated experience, is through a single digital platform that interacts with surrounding industry ecosystems, platform to platform.
Moving from a customer to a stakeholder “obsession” drives this ecosystem creation and focuses the seamless experience across all stakeholders.
Cloud based digital ecosystems are a key ‘Enterprise 4.0 concept’ allowing organisations to create integrated ecosystems that interlink with adjacent ecosystems to deliver value. Organisations are a member of an ecosystem community with ecosystems upstream and downstream, and not a sole entity that exists in a vacuum. Value chains are required through the ecosystem to enable end-to-end, fully integrated digital system architecture, so that any product or service can flow straight through the ecosystem. Collaborating with partners is now going to be the lifeblood of the organisation. 4. Enablement – Adopt don’t Build
Adoption enables the creation of enough sustainability, flexibility and agility to keep pace. Today regulatory and business changes happen fast, and organisations must respond with incredible speed to worldwide events including pandemics and natural disasters. It is no longer viable to build a bespoke and customised set of complexly integrated systems that are hard to maintain, expensive and timely to change. Adoption and configuration of specialised platform components allows for an agile and responsive platform. Selecting the right elements and partners is crucial. 5. Culture and New Mindset
Every organisation has a culture. In many cases it is this culture that has created the burning platform. To transform it is imperative that leaders stop the resistance to change undertow by actively leading the workforce from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. After the CEO leading principle this is the most crucial principle to get right early, and one of the hardest. 6. People
Everyone wants to knowhow transformation will impact them. It’s challenging with new skills required and shrinkage in people and departments. Communicating early that “we value everyone and everybody's job changes” starts the conversation. Techniques such as moratoriums on redundancies may help staff understand it is not clear what job they will have in the new structure, but that management will allow them time to find one. People who understand how the organisation works, their customer base, theirproducts and services, are now far more valuable for high value tasks. Having people that are loyal and passionate about the organisation drives growth. 7. Structure
Traditionally organisationsare siloed. Having a single digital platform running the business means siloes can no longer operate in isolation. Slow, deliberate and early restructuring to realign the structure will facilitate executive role realignment and the transformation. 8. Risk
The organisation's current risk and regulatory profile needs to be revised for a digital environment. Data drives the new platform. Bad data will drive the new platform badly. Understanding whether legacy data could or should be migrated will save potential regulatory exposure. Less is more.
Success will depend on the CEO and executives and their commitment to the automation of low-value, high-volume transactions; repositioning the business’ risk profile; understanding the role of data: having a digital platform that fully represents the business; collaboration with ecosystem stakeholders; embracing new ways to communicate; the need to keep pace through a sustainable, flexible, and agile organisation; the need to change the culture; as well as the impact of transformation on the workforce and the organisational structure. And finally the most importantly commitment is to a new mindset, starting with yourself.