February 24, 2017

Speed your digital transformation by building awareness

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Anders Huldén

Concept Owner for Transformation, Tieto

'The speed of change’ may no longer be quantified as speed, but merely as a state. In order to support growth, customer centricity and business incubator activities, business requirements assume and call for organisational settings to be flexible, fully supportive and aligned. Additionally, traditional leadership is challenged when network leadership is becoming the norm.

Conquer complexity

These are complex issues and the ability to implement and realise transformational initiatives has become immensely important for every business and organisation - mastering change and transformation is imperative in order to stay ahead of the curve.

In this context, Duality - the ability to run a traditional business in parallel with new initiatives - will present the dynamic necessary for providing businesses with the ability to cope with constant change.

When an organisation is entering a digital journey, it is crucial for executive management to keep ownership of the transformational initiatives in order to a) guarantee alignment with the business strategy and b) being able to commit the right skills to the transformation, based on the targeted business perspective.

What you should do

So here you are, responsible for the operational activities in a transformation programme - what do you do in order for the programme to succeed?

For you, one of the top priorities will be to handle the required and desired speed of change. Executive management and business stakeholders want to see the results, they want to see the alignment and improvement of the business drivers and they want the organisation to execute at the new and desired level.

As the transformation leader, you can use this top-management momentum to establish the first component of a successful transformation – Awareness in the organisation and business of the need to change.

When building awareness, it is essential that you - as transformation leader, together with business executives - are visible and present at the targeted business and organisation.

Your mission will be clear and precise: you are to support, promote and provide the ambition and motivation for the organisational and business change.

Remember, transformation is a top-down initiative, so for leaders and managers to be visible and communicative is key to establish the necessary awareness.

The Awareness factor

The basic principle of creating awareness is based on the fact that if you - as an individual embraced by the scope of change - are aware of the need to change, then you want to change. And when you want to change you will ask “how can I change and which abilities do I need in order to change successfully?”

By building awareness, you will reach the point when your organisation starts to seriously consider these questions, and then your transformation programme - which will comprise you, change leaders, top management and business stakeholders - is in an excellent position to keep ownership and momentum of the transformation by providing the answers, and thus, keeping the transformation initiative aligned with the strategy.

What you shouldn’t do

When you go full steam ahead, you have to be heading in the right direction, otherwise you will end up far from your intended destination or goal in no time.

Every so often - especially when dealing with digital transformation initiatives - you will find that a business stakeholder or the technical counterpart is about to implement a new application/system as what they may call, “a digital transformation initiative”.

Within the scope of the implementation project, a ‘communication activity’ is planned, meaning that the affected organisation and/or business will be informed as a project activity in the system implementation project.

However, this contradicts the awareness factor – if a system implementation is performed as means of adding digital capabilities to the business, the implementation should be managed and operated within the scope of a transformation programme as the ability to support the desired change. Not the other way round.

…and in theory, this should work

Of course, theory is easy. In practice, it soon becomes apparent that top-management engagement can be difficult to attain and sustain. Alignment with business perspectives can be challenging and your competitors may be breathing down your neck, pursuing their change efforts.

So, for the sake of not getting stuck in your strategic change, go and get advice from those who managed transformations before. Go and get business insights and professional change leadership from experienced partners - because your ability to implement change is crucial and shouldn’t be underestimated.

When managing a transformation, you will be responsible for fundamental change, and change is challenging. For real.

To read more about the digital journey, download our whitepaper Your journey into the heart of digital.

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