Business Transformation Strategy: Fake It till You Make It
By Betsy Burton
This month, I had the pleasure of rolling out Aragon Research’s first Transformation Platform as a Service (tPaaS) Globe in a live webinar. During this webinar, we discussed the importance of ensuring that your business strategy and business models drive your business transformation projects and operations.
The challenge is that we find that 80% of organizations do not define a clear and actionable business strategy. And even worse, many do not revisit their strategy when seeking to leverage emerging technologies to enable business transformation. Many organizations are flying blind, spending money, time, and resources on tactical “transformation” projects because they think it is the thing to do.
One client during the webinar asked what they should do if IT sees the opportunity for business transformation, but business leaders haven’t defined a clear actionable business strategy.
Business Strategy Drives Business Transformation
To answer this question, it is firstly key to understand that “business transformation” is first and foremost a business issue (strategy, goals, model, operations, and metrics) that is empowered by emerging and existing technologies/services. You don’t get to buy business transformation. You must define what your future-state business models should be, and then determine how it might be enabled by technologies and services.
Now, this is not a one-sided or single cycle approach. Business and technology leaders need to come together to define the future state of business; each bringing their own skills and knowledge. The challenge is that in many organizations, business and technology leaders are still living in two different worlds, speaking different languages, approaching problems differently, and using different resources.
Business Transformation Strategy: Educated Guess
If you are a technology leader, and you can’t get your business counterparts to meet with you about strategy, the best thing you can do is make a good solid educated guess about the future business strategy; use public statements, SEC filings, marketing presentations and peer conversations to help you. Draft up what you think the business strategy is and take it to your business counterparts. And very sweetly and humbly ask them,
“This is what I think the business strategy is. Can you help me understand it and fix it if you think it is different?”
This reverse psychology will get them engaged in the conversation about what the business could be, and how you might be able to help without letting them know that they haven’t defined a clear strategy.
Business Transformation Strategy: Fake It
If you are a technology leader who sees a business transformation opportunity, but your business peers either don’t see the opportunity or are not willing to engage, the best thing you can do is draft what you think the business transformation strategy and opportunity should be and begin to work in supporting this opportunity. Over time, you can begin to show your peers how business transformation could affect the business and slowly bring them along.
However, there are two things that will make this work:
2. You must have metrics that are measurable and show the impact of business transformation opportunities. These metrics must be defined, tracked, and revisited as your business transformation efforts continue.
The concept of business transformation is associated, rightly, with a lot of hype. Further, many organizations are confusing business transformation, evolution, and digitalization (See this blog). Despite the hype, there are real business opportunities to leverage new and emerging technologies and services in order to create highly competitive new business models. However, it must be based on a vision/strategy, not tactical investments.
More than ever technology leaders face the opportunity to be technology-enabled business leaders. This means, walking, talking, thinking, and partnering like a business leader, with the knowledge of the emerging technologies/services that can help transform your business models and operations.