Are you ready to make digital transformation a success?

Posted on : 15-01-2020 | By : kerry.housley | In : FinTech, Innovation

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Digital Transformation is a phrase that businesses are all too familiar with but there are many interpretations of what it means. Companies large or small feel this is an opportunity that they cannot afford to miss!

All too often a decision is made at the top when an executive says we must do “more digital” with little understanding of what this involves and how this will affect their daily business operations. Companies are under huge pressure to get onboard with this process, they fear that if they do not, they will be left behind and watch their competitive edge slip away

Traditional organisational change failure rates are already reported to be 60-80 %, when it comes to digital transformation the story is much worse. A Bain survey reported that just 5% of companies involved in digital transformation achieved or exceeded the expectations that they had set themselves. Many of these companies had settled for very little return on investment and mediocre performance.

There are many reasons for such poor outcomes but one of the reasons is that many firms jump on this bandwagon far too early without thinking it through at a higher strategic level.  Often the starting point is “we need to go digital”, looking for areas of the business to implement the technology, usually this is a strong pain point that they want to fix.  Digital transformation is not about fixing isolated pain points but more about finding ways in which a company can improve their customer journey and provide the best level of service they can. Companies overlook this and go straight ahead putting digital solutions into various parts of the business rather than thinking of this as an enterprise wide initiative.

Another reason for failure is a total lack of investment in areas outside the digital arena. In order to successfully implement any change, there must be a clear reason for doing so. This message must be communicated throughout the organisation from the Board level at the top through to the workers on the frontline. It is here that many companies fail to invest the time and money required, and without the understanding and buy-in of all involved success will very difficult to achieve.

Technology is constantly improving, and companies are keen to be seen as the leaders in their field. There is no doubt for those who are successful in their digital transformation the rewards are immense in terms improved customer service and increased revenue. The problem is that not every company needs or indeed will benefit from digital transformation. Technology is not a one size fits all. Often, companies are so keen to be seen as innovators so they rush into it and buy the “next big thing” without any clear idea how they will use it and what the benefits might be.

Introducing traditional change into an organization is no easy feat, and digital transformation with all it entails is a far greater challenge.

The operating model is a crucial starting point, what does it look like and how can technology work within this model to give the best results. Many organisations are operating based on models that are out of date with their business goals and not agile enough to keep up with the fast pace of customer expectations and technology change.

All the business departments must work together to confirm the business processes and look at how these processes can benefit from digital intervention.

In the Broadgate office we often talk about people, process and technology and it is the people part here which will ensure that the innovations proposed will benefit what is actually happening in the business on a day to day basis. These are the people who have the understanding to see how a process can be improved and they are the people who can ensure your success. As we said earlier, investing heavily in the planning process and getting the culture and the environment ready for change cannot be underestimated but is often overlooked.

From the boardroom to the post room everyone must understand the business, what your business is trying to achieve so that everyone can understand the benefits of the digital change.

Digital transformation is not a one-time project but an ongoing improvement strategy.  Organisations should always be thinking how they can keep improving their business and how they can offer their customers the best experience.

Is your business ready for digital transformation?

  • Is your operating model ready?
  • Are your business processes ready?
  • Is your board ready?
  • Are your employees ready?
  • Is your company culture ready?

If the answer is yes to all the above, then you have a good basis on which to start and might just be in with a chance of success!

Has the agile product delivery model has been too widely adopted?

Posted on : 30-01-2019 | By : richard.gale | In : Uncategorized

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As a consultancy, we have the benefit of working with many clients across almost all industry verticals. Specifically, over the last 7-8 years we have seen a huge uptake in the shift from traditional project delivery models towards more agile techniques.

The combination of people, process and technology with this delivery model has been hugely beneficial in increasing both the speed of execution and alignment of business requirements with products. That said, in more recent years we have observed an almost “religious like” adoption of agile often, in our view, at the expense of pragmatism and execution focus. A purist approach to agile—where traditional development is completely replaced in one fell swoop— results in failure for many organisations, especially those that rely on tight controls, rigid structures and cost-benefit analysis.

Despite its advantages, many organisations struggle to successfully transition to agile, leading to an unnecessarily high agile project failure rate. While there are several common causes for this failure rate, one of the top causes—if not the leading cause—is the lack of an agile-ready culture.

This has been evident with our own client discussions which have centred around “organisational culture at odds with agile values” and “lack of business customer or product owner availability” as challenges for adopting and scaling agile.  Agile as a methodology does require a corresponding agile culture to ensure success.  It’s no good committing to implementing in an agile way when the organisation is anything but agile!

Doing Agile v Being Agile

Adopting an Agile methodology in an organisation which has not fully embraced Agile can still reap results (various estimates but benchmark around a 20% increase in benefits). If, on the other hand, the firm has truly embraced an agile approach in the organisation from CEO to receptionist then the sky is the limit and improvements of 200% plus have been experienced!

Investing in the change management required to build an agile culture is the key to making a successful transition to agile and experiencing all of the competitive advantages it affords. Through this investment, your business leadership, IT leadership and IT teams can align, collaborate and deliver quality solutions for customers, as well as drive organisational transformation—both today and into the future.

There are certain projects, where shoehorning them into agile processes just serves to slow down the delivery with no benefit. Some of this may come from the increase in devops delivery but we see it stifling many infrastructure or underpinning projects, which still lend themselves to a more waterfall delivery approach.

The main difference between agile methodologies and waterfall methodologies is the phased approach that waterfall takes (define requirements, freeze requirements, begin coding, move to testing, etc.) as opposed to the iterative approach of agile. However, there are different ways to implement a waterfall methodology, including iterative waterfall, which still practices the phased approach but delivers in smaller release cycles.

Today, more and more teams would say that they are using an agile methodology. When in fact, many of those teams are likely to be using a hybrid model that includes elements of several agile methodologies as well as waterfall.

It is crucial to bring together people, processes and technologies and identify where it makes business sense to implement agile; agile is not a silver bullet. An assessment of the areas where agile would work best is required, which will then guide the transition. Many organisations kick off an agile project without carrying out this assessment and find following this path is just too difficult. A well-defined transitional approach is a prerequisite for success.

We all understand that today’s business units need to be flexible and agile to survive but following an agile delivery model is not always the only solution.