Better Tools for Effective Business Transformation

Business Transformation & System Modernization

In a world where 70% of PMI projects fail, it’s safe to say that any business transformation process carries more than its share of pitfalls. Is every process change doomed to that statistical reality, or are there ways to improve the odds of a successful outcome?

In a recent presentation to members of Tech Hub South Florida, Jeff Welch, Think’s Vice President and Chief Services Development Officer, addressed this topic in detail.

That 70% statistic, noted Jeff, comes from the old way of doing things in which a manager might propose a new project with a vague promise that undertaking it would improve the company. The problem here is that often there would be no real way to attach a realized value, just a best guess. What followed would typically be a litany of data migration headaches, new processes tacked on to a broken ecosystem – the “lift and shift” method – and a great deal of waste.

With this scenario, the end goal of a transformed organization was often little more than a wish list, often depicted in Vizio-style org charts or process flow diagrams, or unrelated spreadsheets, that failed to account for necessary process changes. No wonder any prediction of ROI was a guesstimate at best.

The pandemic has seen more and more organizations needing to make these types of transformative changes to a new Target Operating Model (TOM), so the need for a better way is greater than ever.

It turns out that there is a better way, a way that begins with better tools. Jeff first introduced the group to the concept of creating a Digital Twin. Borrowed from the aerospace and automotive industries, a digital twin (not a clone) duplicates existing processes and procedures and allows changes to be simulated, tested and tweaked before they become reality.

As a case study, Jeff detailed the story of a client, a $67 million membership-based organization with marketing as a core function. Their current tools were limiting their ability to grow and adapt with changing marketing technology.  The solution was a switch from on-premises Oracle, with many integration points, to Salesforce Sales Cloud. Besides the obvious challenges associated with the change in technology, the organization’s processes needed to change significantly to take full advantage of their new technical capabilities.

Jeff introduced the group to Business Optix, a web-based software tool used by Think to bring unparalleled levels of detail, structure and modeling to the transformation process. The platform allows metadata to be mapped in for every process and procedure.

By carefully mapping and connecting data, stakeholders can view the current and future state of any process, or of the business transformation as a whole. For one example of the power and flexibility offered, Jeff searched on “GDPR.” Instantly displayed were every process and procedure within the organization that tied back to compliance needs.

Yes, there are still Vizio-style charts as before. But now, instead of being vague predictors of what might happen, the charts are products of actual real-world data, interconnected within a relational database. Now those future-state scenarios are no longer guesswork, and any gaps are revealed before they become problems in real time.

While we may never get that PMI failure rate to zero, we can do much better than 70%. Effective tools like these are a big step in the right direction.