Business Transformation

Business transformation is an umbrella term for making fundamental changes in the manner in which a company runs and operates. This would include the technology, processes and personnel of the company. Business transformations assist companies to compete in a more effective manner, improve their productivity or even make an overall strategic pivot.

Earlier, Anand Jayapalan had spoken about how business transformations typically involve bold, seismic shifts that a company makes with the goal of accelerating growth and change beyond typical incremental advancements. The scope of such transformations is likely to be strategic and broad, like switching to new operating or business models. Companies often undertake business transformations to create additional value. This may imply to harnessing intellectual property, using proprietary technology for varied purposes, unlocking the potential of employees and more.

Business transformations are often extensive, multi-year initiatives. They are likely to require making broad changes to fundamental aspects of a company. Based on the timeframe, scope and size of the transformation, it ideally should be driven from the top, whether by the CEO or the Board of Directors. Company leaders must strive to position the business for sustained success and growth for the foreseeable future with the transformation.

Business transformations may take multiple years. This process generally starts with a strategy. A business transformation process is likely to fail without clear, big picture objectives and plans on how to execute it and reach the goal.  Business transformation strategy should also be apparent to downstream individuals in order to make sure that nothing is lost in translations. The steps and processes of a business transformation must never be left open to interpretation.

Subsequent to creating the transformation strategy, one has to identify the capabilities required to achieve the strategic goals. These are typically the things that a company can’t or doesn’t do now or areas that may use significant improvement or redirection. Each capability can be defined along the following lines:

  • Mission – Stemming directly from the strategy, the mission includes the purpose, approach, and capacity.
  • Insights – Methods for compiling data, communicating, and using data to drive decisions.
  • Integration – Establishing rules, roles, and decision-making responsibilities.
  • Processes – Clearly outlined and streamlined methodologies aimed at achieving desired results.
  • Technology – Specifications for the necessary hardware, software, utilities, and support services.
  • Talent – Identification of skills and expertise needed for the success of a capability, including allocating existing staff and recruiting additional team members.

All transformational activities also require staying power. After all, there is no reason to go through this entire process if the company falls back into its old ways right after the exercise is completed. The metrics and data used to measure if a company has achieved its goals and objectives can also be used to make sure that they are being maintained once the transformation is complete.

Earlier, Anand Jayapalan had discussed that a dedicated staff is key to a successful transformation. The management of a transformation program must be someone’s “day job” and not an add-on responsibility. Business transformations are massive undertakings. Hence, they require a dedicated team of professionals with expertise, experience and authority to hold people accountable for their deliverable.

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