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Sustainable Digital Transformation

28 Aug

Accelerated pace of technological disruption has forced organizations to change.  It has triggered leaders to think of the ways they must adopt to survive in these challenging times.

Organizations are confronting this scenario by embracing digital technologies.  Traditionally, the focus of the organizations in these Transformation initiatives has remained on speed of change.  To get the most out of their initiatives, they are making drastic changes, to include:

  • Creating Agile Teams
  • Introducing Mobile Apps
  • Building Big Data and Analytics capabilities
  • Experimenting with creative Digital Business Models.

Digital Transformation programs are launched with huge fanfare, see success early on, but fail to keep the momentum going.  The issues that plague the sustainability of these initiatives are typically:

  • Aging Technology Infrastructure
  • Incompatible Operating Models
  • Archaic ways of doing business
  • Change-agnostic culture.

Drivers of change for the Digital Leadership have changed significantly over the years.  There is an increased focus on building scale when executing Digital Transformation.  Leaders have realized that quick Decision Making is not the only element required for successful Transformation.  To achieve its full potential, they need to create differentiated offerings and scale the most viable initiatives across the organization to create value.

Traditional organizations have started following the footsteps of digital disrupters like Amazon and Tesla.  They are implementing new digital services and adjusting their operations.  However, typical hurdles—e.g., old enterprise systems, bureaucratic red tape, delayed decision making, and segregation between IT and business units—make them slip back into the outdated ways of doing things.

Sustainable Digital Transformation involves building not only the technology infrastructure but also revisiting the operating model.  Successful Digital Transformations essentially involve embracing 4 key strategies to enable an ecosystem that encourages change to stick as well as scale:

  1. Create a strong Digital Foundation
  2. Integrate and consolidate the Digital Ecosystem
  3. Front-end to back-end approach
  4. Create a new Business Model

Let’s delve deeper into these strategies.

Create a Strong Digital Foundation

Manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries are the major sectors that employ this strategy.  The typical state of affairs in organizations implementing this strategy is such that they are in need of developing new digital capabilities from scratch to tackle nimble rivals who are churning out novel value propositions using digital tech.  These companies are burdened by dated tech infrastructure, sluggish decision making, and dated business models.  The risk of disruption to these businesses is growing but it hasn’t challenged them to transform drastically.

To them, building a digital foundation warrants acquiring novel foundational capabilities.  Their approach should be to start implementing and managing small changes one step at a time.  For instance, building a smart technology architecture with advanced Big Data, Analytics, and predictive modeling capabilities.  This should be followed by testing prototypes of the new model to prove their worth before implementing a full-blown execution.

Integrate and Consolidate the Digital Ecosystem

This strategy has gained traction most in organizations from the Consumer Products industry.  These organizations are typically marred by scores of fragmented IT systems running in different parts of the organization.  There is a general inability to prioritize the most viable projects and scale them.  The need to reform and rapid deployment of Digital Infrastructure is critical for survival.

The approach to Digital Transformation in these organization should be to establish a central management position to manage the initiative and streamline dispersed technology landscape.  This entails revising the technology infrastructure and operating model, deploying a unified IT platform for gathering and storing customer data, establishing a common data repository accessible to all units to recognize customers’ needs, and creating a culture that encourages innovation, acts on creative ideas, and refines them through experimentation and advanced tools.

Interested in learning more about the other strategies to enable Digital Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Sustainable Digital Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Processes of Sustainable Change

25 Aug

Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments.  Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.

However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success.  Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:

  • Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
  • Lack of trust on senior leadership.
  • Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
  • Performance relapse.
  • Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
  • Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.

Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change.  Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization.The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.

The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers.  Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review.  A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias.  Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections.  Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool.  Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.

The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization.   These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:

  1. Chartering
  2. Learning
  3. Mobilizing
  4. Realigning

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.

Chartering

Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative.  Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.

The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:

  • Boundary Setting
  • Team Design

Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.

The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle.  Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area.  The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.

The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration.  Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts.  The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams.  There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members.  Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.

Learning

Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives.  Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes.  it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation.  The process entails 2 critical components:

  • Discovery
  • Experimentation

For more information on Learning and Development and how to elevate your organization into a Learning Organization, check out the frameworks and tools on Flevy here: https://flevy.com/business-toolkit/learning-organization

The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives.  Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative.  Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase.  The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.

Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

10 Best Practices in Business Dashboard Design

21 Mar

Business dashboards are important tools to measure key performance indicators and data pertaining to an organization or certain procedure.  Just as a vehicle dashboard is powerful performance management tool in summarizing a performance of a multitude of processes, a business dashboard summarizes the performance or impact of a host of functions, teams, and activities; and assists in strategic planning and decision making.

Business dashboards simplify sharing and analysis of large data, and help users visualize complex performance data in simple yet visually aesthetic manner.  Dashboards aid in simplifying complex processes into smaller more manageable information pieces for the organizational leadership to focus on everyday operations.  They keep everyone on the same wavelength and prioritize display of facts based on their importance and potential impact.  The information on a well-designed dashboard is clear, presentable to enhance meaning, readily accessible, and dynamic.  A carefully-planned dashboard allows the leadership to identify and answer business challenges in real-time, develop plan of action based on insights, and inculcate innovation.

Proficient and capable dashboard designers and firms have taken the art of visualization of valuable indicators and insights through dashboards to the next level.  They have devised specific guiding principles, dos and don’ts, and time-tested development routines to accomplish this.  These guiding principles comprise 10 best practices, which can be segregated into 3 major implementation categories:

  1. Planning
  • Analyze your audience
  • Contemplate display options
  • Prompt application loading time
  1. Design
  • Exploit eye-scanning patterns
  • Restrict number of views & colors
  • Let viewers filter data
  • Ensure proper formatting 
  1. Refinement
  • Use Tooltips to reinforce story
  • Eliminate redundancy  
  • Review the dashboard carefully

Let’s discuss the first 5 best practices for now.

Analyze your audience

A careful analysis and understanding of the business dashboard’s intended audience is the first important principle to consider before commencing the development of such a dashboard.  For instance, a busy salesperson in need of quickly going through indicators, whereas senior management needing a deep-down review of quarterly sales results.  This gives the developers a thorough idea of what the audience wants from a dashboard, what data they will visualize utilizing this, and let them know the audience’s technical capabilities in terms of data analysis, theme, issue, and business understanding.

Contemplate display options

The second principle to follow in designing a business dashboard is to research your users’ device and display preferences beforehand.  Building a dashboard with desktop display options in mind when your audience prefers to use phones to view it could be a disaster.  The designers should set the size of the dashboard properly—allowing the users to view it on a range of devices, by building in automatic sizing option for the dashboard to adopt to the dimensions of the browser window.

Prompt application loading time

Your audience and viewers are busy people who hate long waits.  Therefore a stunningly designed dashboard would not get the right traction if it takes too much time to load.  The dashboard author should facilitate prompt dashboard loading by deciding which filters to add in the dashboard and which ones to exclude.  For instance, although filtering is useful in restricting the amount of data analyzed, it effects query performance.  Some filters are quite slower than others as they load all of the data for a dimension instead of just what you want to keep.  Knowing the Order of Operations is also beneficial in reducing the load times.

Exploit eye-scanning patterns

The dashboard authors should have a deep sense of the main purpose of the dashboard in mind when develop such a tool.  They need to be aware of individuals’ eye tracking patterns—typically when most people look at a screen or content, they start scanning the upper left hand corner of the screen first by intuition—and make the best use of the screen space to display the most important content at the right place.

Restrict number of views & colors

The designers often get over enthusiastic during their application designs and try to stuff the dashboard with multiple relevant views.  This is detrimental for the bigger picture.  They must include not more than 2 to 3 views per dashboard and create more dashboards in case the scope creeps beyond the 2-3 views range.  It is also crucial to ensure the content to be clearly visible to the viewer and to use colors correctly to facilitate analysis instead of cramming too many colors in the visuals, which creates a graphical overload for the viewers, slacken analysis (or may even prevent users to analyze data), and even blur the graphics.

Let viewers filter data

Allowing users to filter the data is another best practice to keep in mind while designing business dashboards.  This added interactivity encourages data assessment and permits the users to have their most important view act as a filter for the other views in the dashboard.  This helps in conducting side-by-side analysis, promotes involvement, and retains users’ interest.

Interested in learning more about the other best practices to aid in designing a robust business dashboard and knowing the most common mistakes to avoid in this process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Business Dashboard Design here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

When Data is Not Enough: The Need to Understand Purpose-driven Analytics

27 Nov

The Data Analytics Revolution is here. It is transforming how companies organize, operate, manage talent, and create value. In fact, advanced data analytics is now a quintessential business matter. It is important for CEOs and top executives to be able to clearly articulate its purpose and translate it into action. Yet, this is not so.

CEOs and top executives are finding it difficult to articulate the clarity of purpose and act on it. It must not just stay in an Analytics department but must be embedded throughout the organization where the insights will be used. Leaders with strong intuition do not just become better equipped to kick the tires on their analytics efforts. They can capably address the many critical top management challenges by employing a range of tools, employing the right personnel, applying hard metrics, and asking hard questions.

Data Analytics is a means to an end. It is a discriminating tool for identifying and implementing a value-driving answer. It can unleash insights that could be the very core of your organization’s approach to improving performance. This, however, cannot be achieved if there is no clarity in the purpose of your data.

Data Analytics Revolution: Are We Ready?

The Data Analytics Revolution is transforming how companies organize, operate, manage talents, and create value. But are we ready for this? A number of companies are reaping major rewards from Data Analytics. But this is far from the norm. More CEOs and top executives are avoiding getting dragged into the esoteric weeds.

Data Analytics have complex methodologies and there is a sheer scale of data sets. Machine Learning is becoming increasingly more important. For us to be ready in the onset of Data Analytics Revolutions, we need to be capable of addressing many critical and complimentary top management challenges. We need to be able to ground even the highest analytical aspirations in traditional business principles and deploy a range of tools and people.

To be properly equipped on the proper use of Data Analytics, we just need to develop a mindset for Purpose-driven Analytics anchored on 4 guiding principles.

The 4 Guiding Principles of Purpose-driven Analytics

  1. Ask Clear and Correct Questions. The first principle focuses on generating impact the soonest. Hence, precise questions are asked based on the company’s best-informed priorities. Here, clarity is essential.
  2.  Identify Small Changes for Big Impact. The second principle focuses on generating gains even on small improvements. There is a need to identify small points of difference to amplify and exploit because the smallest edge can make the biggest difference.
  3. Leverage Soft Data. The third principle focuses on getting quality insights and generating sharper conclusions. It is at this point wherein the use of softer inputs such as industry forecasts, predictions from product experts, and social media commentary are given more emphasis. Soft data is essential when trying to connect the dots between more exact inputs.
  4. Connect Separate Data Sets. The fourth principle focuses on capturing the untapped value. This principle emphasizes the need to combine sources of information to make sharper insights. When different data sets are examined, the greater is the probability that problems can easily be fixed.

From Learning to Doing: Connecting the Dots

It is not enough that organizations learn about Purpose-driven Analytics. One also needs to be able to put these into effective use. Companies must take a multi-faceted approach to analyze data to minimize overwhelming complexity. There are 4 guiding principles for Purpose-driven Analytics implementation. Using these principles will facilitate the effective use of analytics and transform outputs into action.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Purpose-driven Analytics? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Purpose-driven Analytics here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

The 6 Core Capabilities of a Customer-centric Organization: Your Ammunition to Winning a Highly Demanding Customer

25 Nov

In this age of digital disruption, how can organizations engage customers, increase Customer Loyalty, and achieve profitable growth?

Today’s customers are better informed, better connected, and more demanding than ever before. CEOs are now concerned about Customer Loyalty and they recognize that mastery of the customer agenda is essential. In fact, global leaders of successful businesses recognize that creating a customer-centric, digitally-transformed business is a top priority.

Almost every market is experiencing a fundamental change. Consumer expectations have shifted and digital technologies are making the biggest impact on businesses large and small since the start of the information age. Ultimately, businesses need to navigate the challenges of digital disruption and find new ways to create economic value and drive growth.

The challenge today is what it takes for organizations to be a Customer-centric Organization.

Unraveling the 6 Core Capabilities of a Customer-centric Organization

A Customer-centric Organization must have 6 Core Capabilities to compete in the Digital Age. In this global time, customer-centricity ceases to be a differentiator. It has become a matter of survival.

The first 2 Core Capabilities are Customer-directed. These are Customer Strategy and Customer Experience (CX).

  1. Customer Strategy. The first core capability, Customer Strategy is focused on addressing changing customer needs and behavior. It involves the development of a clear view of customer behavior and intentions using data and analytics. Customer Strategy can be applied in several ways. It can be used to refine and develop a proposition or even inform major investments in new media content.
  2. Customer Experience (CX). Customer Experience (CX) is that core capability that generates a significant competitive advantage – a double revenue growth against industry counterparts. It is being able to respond to customer needs balanced with understanding the values customers bring to the enterprise. The world’s most advanced customer businesses often undertake customer journey mapping and experience design which are critical to executing customer-centric change.

The second 2 Core Capabilities focus on front office capability and across the enterprise value chain. These are Sales & Service Transformation and Connected Enterprise.

  1. Sales & Service Transformation. As the third core capability, Sales & Service Transformation is essential to becoming a customer-responsive business. This is a newly digitized and fully integrated front office capability that can attract, engage, acquire, and continually engage with customers. With the modernization and transformation of front office functions, Marketing, Sales, and Service teams get to have better ideas on how to work together more effectively. This leads to a full end-to-end Business Transformation.  A core concept to Service Transformation is the development of Service 4.0 capabilities.
  2. Connected Enterprise. Focused on delivering differentiated Customer Experiences, Connected Enterprise is an architecture of fundamental capabilities that work across the Enterprise Value Chain, from back office operations through customer-facing interactions. The application of Connected Enterprises has led to companies experiencing an increase in annual revenue and a positive return on investment.

The third 2 Core Capabilities are Data & Analytics and Digital Transformation — your company’s response to a highly demanding digital market.

  1. Data & Analytics. The fourth core capability is Data & Analytics. This core capability is focused on creating actionable insights that drive profitable growth. With the use of Data & Analytics, it can uncover patterns of customer behavior, relevant social media influencers, and channel preferences. It is useful in personalizing propositions, channels, marketing communication, and the experiences offered to customers.
  2. Digital Transformation. The sixth core capability, this is the core capability that can power new ways to engage customers, optimize operations, and transform products. Digital Transformation is delivering the right customer and digital technology. With the advent of virtual reality, augmented reality headsets, the Internet of Things, AI, and cognitive computing, it has changed the way customer-centric companies engage customers. Digital Transformation is not an overnight event. This is a series of incremental steps, each delivering a concrete business advantage.

Developing the 6 Core Capabilities is no easy task. It can be pretty challenging. Companies need to have a good handle of its key challenges and the right approaches to mastering the 6 Core Capabilities. When this is achieved, the high road to global competitiveness is achieved.

Interested in gaining more understanding of these 6 core Capabilities of a Customer-centric Organization? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the 6 Core Capabilities of a Customer-centric Organization here on the Flevy documents marketplace. There is a series of 3 presentations – Part I, Part II, and Part III that discusses all 6 Core Capabilities.

Are you a management consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.


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