Rules of Business Change: How to Keep Transformation on Track From the Start

Innovation - Standing Out From The Crowd - concept photo

By Tom Parsley, MarTech Managing Consultant for Credera UK

Unless they care more about hitting take-off slots than the safety of their passengers, you’d expect airlines to run diagnostic tests before their planes take to the skies. Why, then, do so many organisations rush to transform before they’ve even figured out what needs to be fixed?

This lack of consideration is something we frequently observe. More often than not, it results in the plane being taken apart and reassembled in midair. But by taking a more logical and patient approach to business transformation and mapping out a bespoke strategy ahead of getting started, success is ultimately much easier to achieve.

Diagnostics and the will to change

Two interdependent factors are required to make positive change happen: thorough diagnostics, and the will to implement the resulting findings.

When subject matter experts scrutinise the aspects of your business that aren’t working, being open-minded to their eventual diagnosis is the only way to succeed. This means accepting consultants’ recommendations – even if they weren’t what you were expecting, and your firm isn’t keen on being told what to do.

It may therefore take a complete cultural shift to be able to listen, learn, and put the findings into practice. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of a transformation strategy in the first place?

From the outset, it’s a case of setting aside time for senior stakeholders to do their own diagnostics on what isn’t working. Think about what is holding you back from doing your job in the most efficient way, or achieving your commercial and strategic targets in the shortest time.

This sets the scene for the entire diagnostic phase of your business transformation strategy.

Finding common ground for IT and marketing

In most instances the two major parties of a business transformation process that we deal with are marketing and IT. It’s fair to say there’s often tension between the two teams. However, it’s crucial to find harmony between them to make your new model work.

For instance, do you – and both of those departments – know if they have any shared goals or measurement systems? In our experience, the answer is likely to be no. And that means a different view is needed.

Look at it this way: IT and marketing can be treated as two parallel train tracks pointing to the same spot on the horizon. These teams might work in silo but are in theory aiming to be pulling in the same direction. Examining the barriers that stop them doing so is critical before embarking on the journey.

Subject matter experts can help uncover the gaps in strategy and functionality that prevent each team – and a powerful combination of both – from being the best possible version of themselves.

Factors the experts will examine and diagnose

If you’re unsure where to start on your business transformation strategy, a subject matter expert will pick up the slack for you. These are the aspects that will be taken into account, from initial diagnostics, to stakeholder review sessions, to recommendation:

  • Tools and technology – Does your organisation have the right tools to do the job? Discovering what’s missing, or broken, is key.
  • Processes – Looking at the maturity of your current business model. Could it be built on more efficient practices?
  • Knowledge and skills – Do you need to recruit people with different expertise, upskill your existing workforce, or commit to a combination of both?
  • Capacity to change – Crucial to dovetailing all of the above is the open mindset mentioned earlier. Without a willingness to transform and the resources to do so, the strategy – however watertight it seems – simply won’t work.

In all of these aspects organisations often find it difficult to see the wood for the trees. This could be because they have been in partnership with a particular platform provider for a long time. But it can also be an internal issue. Having to firefight client work and constantly report to the leadership team leaves little time to focus on the bigger picture.

The dedicated, undistracted and undiluted resource provided by an independent business transformation team can fix your problems, regardless of their nature: poor lead-to-sale conversion, legacy technology that stunts marketing content automation, or an inability to deliver personalisation today’s customer expects.

Whether through a technology-agnostic approach to selecting a vendor that can overhaul your operations for the better, or simply by rolling up their sleeves to make change happen with as much efficiency as possible, the expertise provided can dig out what’s holding you back, identify ideas and innovation to drive transformation, and propel your organisation towards your commercial goals.