This is how it should be: the strategy serves as the catalyst for projects and transformations. The vision of top management is typically to take the company to the next level, a new stage of development.
It is corporate responsibility that drives the project: digitalization, efficiency improvement, automation, internationalization are the typical strategic goals. Often, the existing solution landscape does not support the scope of the objectives, which gives rise to an optimization project. But beware: optimization is one thing – transformation something else entirely.
What is really required is a complete rethink of the company from the next stage of development.
Give it a few months and you may find yourself wondering when discussing with your consultant colleagues in a hotel bar of an evening; what actually remains of the strategic ideas? The vision has become a project focusing primarily on applications, IT, and occasionally a new process. Was a business project even planned? Is there still a focus on the achievement of business objectives? Are the company’s (business) managers (not IT managers) still involved in the project at all?
If you want to transform your company, and turn everything on its head in other words, you have to be agile, you have to do it yourself and you have to be committed. It simply cannot be achieved by an external party working alone. Nor is it, out of respect for the valuable work they do, a task that should be placed solely at the door of an in-house IT department.
Turning everything on its head is essential from time to time
The approach within the framework of truly proactive business transformation management, therefore, should be to involve the business departments in the project from the very beginning, to develop the future business/process model together, and to shape it in detail.
This, of course, requires the presence of management and genuine cooperation. Whether in regular workshops/meetings to clarify the business model, as mentors of key users in the various departments, liaison with business partners, or simply as a knowledge bearer helping to avoid or, if worse comes to worst, personally remove obstacles.
Consulting partners have even more advantages: They are impartial and therefore apolitical. Internal hierarchies or moving spheres of influence have no relevance for them. They are fully conversant with the new solution and its processes. They are experienced in business transformation because it is what they do on a daily basis, they have the right tools to bring the transformation to the desired conclusion and, last but not least, they are on top of the entire project organization and can prioritize tasks and capacities.
Consulting partners therefore provide valuable support when you are turning your company on its head. Otherwise, even with this light exercise in gymnastics, you are likely to topple over on occasion and cause yourself unnecessary pain – which is an extremely unpleasant experience...
Further technical article:
You can see Claus Bühs on the topic of "Managing Transformations" in our expert interview: