• Strategy

Accelerate change by breaking through barriers.

How to accelerate organizational change and avoid falling behind customer expectations.

There are three common truths in business these days:

  1. Change happens quickly in our digitally-driven business world.
  2. Customers drive this high speed of change.
  3. Organizations struggle to keep pace.

We're interested in learning about the barriers that may affect an organization's ability to change in line with market demands, industry trends, competitor advancements, and customer needs.

Through much of our consultative digital strategy work with clients, we see universal barriers that slow down this speed of change. While not a full capture of all the organizational elements required to move faster digitally, addressing these specific hurdles early in the strategic planning process will enable a quicker pace to market. At the very least, your organization will be able to avoid falling behind industry norms and customer expectations.

Business model evolution

The barrier: No clear link between the current state business model and the future state business model that's adapted to the evolving needs of the market and customer base.

Overcoming the barrier: Establish a process to define how net new business initiatives will support corporate objectives. Charter an exploratory planning project that outlines the existing business model and the role of digital as it stands today, contrasted with an evaluation of what's working and what's not. Look to highlight quick wins around existing digital business optimization while determining the gaps where digital strategy initiatives become a bridge to the future business model.

Planning tools used:

  • Business model canvas (pictured below)
  • Industry gap analysis
  • Customer research

Business model canvas

Digital business prioritization

The barrier Unclear prioritization of where to focus efforts of digital optimization and innovation that will have the most impact for the organization.

Overcoming the barrier: Look to the digital business gap analysis described above to prioritize improvement and net new opportunities based on potential business impact and outcomes. Develop a digital business roadmap using a variety of key filters such as Ability To Execute, Complexity Of Effort, Duration, Budget Requirement, Customer Acceptance Level, and Ability to Define ROI.

Prioritization tools used:

  • Customer journey map
  • Digital opportunity matrix
  • Visual decision making board
  • Digital business roadmap

Budgeting tolerance and ROI understanding

The barrier: Undefined budgetary requirements or insufficient funding sources to properly fuel net new digital business opportunities.

Overcoming the barrier: Work through a collaborative cost estimation process that allows multiple parties to cast a perspective into the various levels of effort required to deliver against the roadmapped work. Layer in industry standards around typical budget funding requirements and baseline expectations around ROI markers and quantifiable outcomes (metrics). Connecting the upside lift of digital business optimizations may be more straightforward than net-new opportunities, but look at the latter from a competitor cost-benefit standpoint.

Budgeting and ROI tools used:

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Digital opportunity roadmap estimation
  • Data-based opportunity analysis

Changing from within

Additional barriers to digital business evolution are more focused on balancing the organization's internal resource capabilities and abilities within the corporation's culture and tolerance for change. Considerations when working through these common barriers include:

Internal resource availability and allocation

Once digital business opportunities are defined, prioritized, and budgeted for, focus on how best to deliver through a cross-functional resource management planning effort. A workshop environment is ideal as the goal is to open up the conversation around the specific talents needed to drive initiatives forward.

From the trenches: Be honest and transparent about your organization's availability here. We find many digital transformation efforts require much more dedicated attention than initially planned, and a good amount of pre-work to get everyone up to speed. Success rarely comes from an "off the side of my desk" approach to resource allocation leadership or support. Momentum building is critical to ensure a reasonable go-to-market timeline.

Internal subject matter expertise

Along with the availability of resources at appropriate allocation levels, it's critical to ensure that the depth of subject matter expertise on the team is on par with the sophistication and complexity of the work ahead. Once again, be truthful about the internal team's core capabilities to deliver against the work requirements.

From the trenches: We find that subject matter specialization is more pronounced as a fundamental resource type when dealing with digital transformation efforts that are net-new in nature. Ensure true experts are in line with project requirements. Look to external resources and teams who are well-versed in specific areas of need. It saves time and is much more efficient to rely on external help than to hope internal team members are "up to the challenge."

Framework for change acceptance

Change management and organizational culture adoption are essential elements to fuel the success of any digital transformation initiative. Begin to outline a plan to gain acceptance of potential changes within the organization early in the planning process. The more support you can build at early stages of the process, the easier it will be to solicit acceptance further down the line.

From the trenches: We find that stakeholder engagement planning as part of the project planning process is the key here. Ownership of potential changes in the organization should come from the bottom up — not the top down. Allow the working group to enable change to occur by instilling confidence that they are in control of potential non-acceptance risks to senior level stakeholders and executives.

Next steps

If you're facing the road to digital business transformation and need a partner to help get started, or add a boost to your progress velocity, reach out. We'd love to hear from you.

Dean Elissat VP Client Engagement