We all know the old story – that real business value and ROI isn’t achieved until your technology projects are not only implemented but “adopted” by your business users. And yet, communications, process and change management are often overlooked until digital transformation is well underway.
Because digital transformation impacts every part of your business, the challenge is to enlist all the moving parts to change at the same time as they change is taking place. This can cause a great deal of friction, resistance and delay. But over the last decade or so, we’ve learned a few “transformation hacks” that can help you accelerate.
Transformation #1: The zero change transformation. A great deal of resistance happens when change is announced – and yet for many people, the degree of change that will impact their jobs is minimal. For these people, zero change is entirely possible – they will still have the same job, do the same work, hold the same KPIs and work with the same teams. Importantly, communicating zero change requires precision and clarity – and it sets a new rhythm for your program.
Transformation #2: Create customer flow. Mapping comprehensive customer journeys can take some time, but many transformation projects fail simply because they take too long or don’t build momentum quickly enough. Service design, design thinking and process re-engineering can work hand in glove in small sprints to unblock choke points in your customer engagements. Focus sprint teams or squads on definable blockages and help your customers achieve the next best step.
Transformation #3: Adopt your early adopters. The cycles of change and transformation are occurring at an increasing pace. But as with any population, you will have segments of customers who will innovate faster than others. These early adopters can be engaged through customer panels and advisory groups and are often willing to share their latest thinking, ideas and trends that most organizations are not able to see or respond to. By adopting your early adopters, you gain visibility over future movements in your mainstream customer segments.
Transformation #4: Engineer your future. No doubt you set your sales teams some audacious targets. What if you were to do the same for your transformations? Rather than aiming for “three implementations within 18 months”, what if you were to set a goal challenging your teams to process 50% of your business transactions via blockchain within 6 months? Engage your teams to engineer a faster, more responsive organization from the code up.
Transformation #5: Shock and awe aircover. When you are disrupting the way that you work, change can happen incredibly fast. This can mean that resistance can be hidden until it reaches a choke point – and suddenly your project will stop. This is when you need “air cover” from your leadership – not just “permission”, but a bold plan and vision to drive transformation into the very DNA of your organization. Strategically use your communications and best leadership talent to position, sell and deliver the business conditions that will create success.
Finally, remember that you don’t need to do digital transformation alone. It’s a program that is going to transform not just your business but your industry – if it is done right. Find partners that you can rely upon, that share your vision, and work with an urgency and openness that reflect your values.