As mentioned in the previous article (Digital Transformation 1/6 – Value Creation), Digital Transformation is in the service of the executive strategy and contributes to create value. Hence, projects to directly increase EBITDA, in a fast and measurable way, shall be prioritized.
Selected projects will then enable productivity gains, or sales increase. Doing both simultaneously is not forbidden.
Improvement productivity projects to be launched at first often rely on software or services implementation.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Electronic Content Management (ECM), Business Process Management (BPM), IT Service Management (ITSM), Human Resource Management System (HRMS) … There is one for everyone’s taste and everyone’s budget. Still, make sure you shaped and staffed your project the appropriate way as 1 project out of 3 fails. Whenever available, meaning when no regulatory or technical deadlines force you to implement in one shot, you should consider checking productivity gains on a reduced scope before deploying the software throughout the whole company.
Another lever to productivity: collaborative software
Slack, Trello, Teams, … enable employees to create teams and to chat in a collaborative way rather than e-mailing. They manage teams’ files and are granted online storage space. The purpose is to knock down company’s silos, to create synergies, to enable networking and matrix organization. Be careful, habits die hard and no software on its own is likely to have silos collapse. Such result will require strong executive commitment and emblematic project. We will expand this topic in a further article. However, as those collaborative tools are rather cheap and full web based, they are easy to implement. They are similar to software we use on a private and daily basis so they can be tested quickly with a dedicated team. They are really user friendly and will support remote work and decentralized teams.
Migrating part of IT Infrastructure to the Cloud and enabling web services and API are also to improve productivity
Cloud solutions have much improved these past years and are sinks of direct and sometimes indirect sustainable productivity. Cloud solutions deliver a very high security level, barely available with onsite and self-managed servers. When comparing internal servers and cloud solution, costs of security management and teams training often appear much bigger when infrastructure is managed locally.
Migrating IT infrastructure to the Cloud will grant IT Teams time to support other Digital Transformation project, especially innovation projects.
Last but not least, Cloud solutions enable telework for travellers and home office which also improve productivity. All jobs can’t be done from home and home office doesn’t suit every employee. But whenever it’s possible and claimed, home office saves time (no transport time), gets employees more available, increases well-being at work and retains employees. All those productivity gains are barely measurable but real.
In some way, IP telephony might be a digital transformation matter. But only if this new technology provides concrete added value to users. For example, when IP telephony is connected to CRM solution. If IP telephony doesn’t provide new features then it shouldn’t be an emblematic project for digital transformation in your company.
Another productivity gain from technology: opening IT system to external partnership
IT systems can be modernized developing web services and API management (when replacing an old Core system for example). Best is to move step by step, transferring process or features from IT Core to a web services platform gradually. It will be easy to host new software to this platform as they run in a SaaS (Software as a Service) mode. Features such as developing a new contract, designing new services or new product lines, merging customers databases, embedding a new subsidiary will then get much easier. IT System gets more agile, hence it contributes to reducing Time to Market. It becomes a real partner to support innovating projects.
Thousands of projects already worked on those topics. Nevertheless, many of those projects failed. Why?
Because what is at stake in those projects is not technology but change management. Technical expertise is already yours, from your employees. If necessary, you can staff you team with external experts. The critical path is Project Management in its ability to leverage resources, to build teams and to adapt project planning to organization’s capability. This is the heart of XPR Transition business.
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