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Penny Murphy, Regional Head of Digital Transformation, Asia, Arcadis [EURONEXT: ARCAD]
It is hard to find an organisation now who is not already incorporating a transformation strategy into their business planning or aware of the need to do so. One cannot read a business publication without hearing about the impact that digital advancements such as machine learning, IoT, artificial intelligence, mobile and cloud platforms will bring to a business, often told with two sides of a coin - disruptive or beneficial depending which stage you are at.
With an economic outlook that will see the Asia -Pacific region remain the world’s fastest growing major region, contributing more than two-thirds to global growth- we are seeing board-room leaders grasp quicker than ever the need to adopt technology and digital innovation to ride the economic boom.
One of the common features of a transformation strategy is often a large scale, well thought out and articulate digital transformation program. This program will speak your organisation corporate language and more than often than not, becomes a regular board-room agenda item where progress is tracked by what’s been ticked off the program execution list and ‘finished’ products are showcased.
Whilst necessary to manage the ‘to-dos’, it is important to understand and challenge whether the completion truly has bought about a transformation shift.
Your business is transforming – why is tracking that change not changing?
Leaders and managers must start embracing a certain level of ambiguity when tracking what success looks like and how the iterative process plays a de facto and starring role when transforming. A sustained change whether that is adopting a new system, technology partner or digitalising a process can only be managed and achieved with some form of iterative process or repeated cycle occurring before it become the new normality. For many CIO leaders, this concept is not new and agile framework such as Scrum is used regularly in software development- but strangely enough this iterative process seems to rarely be adopted at the boardroom table to manage and engage with stakeholders.
One additional benefit from adopting a more agile way of tracking and managing success is that risks, opportunities and optimisation come to light quicker amongst the decision makers and owners. Organisations who adopt the principles of agile(scrum and sprints)into the way they report back to stakeholders create a regular feedback loop and establish a communication pathway for senior leaders to understand how the digital transformation is actually going to impact the organisation. This understanding then allows senior leaders to then consider and communicate the impact relevant to their teams which all leads to a transformative culture and ownership from the top.
A few final words
There are many new methodologies that an organisation should consider to ensure the digital transformation is not just another process led initiative. To embed change, CIOs and leaders alike must consider drawing on their existing knowledge and new styles of working to help their business create, refine, measure and improve in the digital environment. There are a plethora of methodologies out there from design thinking to client empathy mapping but to embed true sustained transformation, leaders must always be questioning and challenging what does success look like? Einstein’s famous adage of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results rings some truth here. If you want different results than what you’re getting, you have to try different approaches.