IT is a 21st-century transformation tool that supports restructuring, business re-orientation, efficiency improvement with resultant increased shareholder value, higher top, and bottom line. The widespread deployment of IT by US companies post 2007-8 crisis is one of the best examples of the use of IT as a transformation tool. Companies, there, now are leaner, more competitive, have healthier balance sheets, and are sitting on large amounts of cash ready to be deployed for both organic and inorganic growth.
Today, when the world is faced with this global pandemic, many companies across the globe are facing a repeat of the challenges that they faced in 2007-8. For them to survive, they will need to transform.
Why is it that some companies continue to outperform their peers, are able to ride through cycles of boom and bust while others struggle, sometimes wither and die away? This question continues to chase founders, boards, and CEOs. Analysts keep a hawk’s eye on companies looking at the slightest signs of increase/drop of performance and many a warning when picked up by the mass media leads to a direct impact on shareholder value.
Transformation is an integrated play between people, processes, and technology. All three support each other. Transformation happens when the three work in harmony.
Transformation is a continuum and not an event. The transformation model can be split into five steps- determine, design, develop, deploy, and integrate.
Determine– Based on the need for transformation- a transformation plan that supports the overall organization objective is prepared. In some ways, this is a stock-taking phase during which the blueprint for transformation emerges. This blueprint often includes a host of things beyond IT like organization restructuring, process re-engineering, new products, and new market penetration planning, etc.
Design- Appropriate technologies, architecture, technology components, process re-engineering changes, organization restructuring actions, organic and inorganic growth plans are prepared. IT is often the binding force that helps coordinate and propels efforts
Develop– Solutions are developed, infrastructure, networks elements procured, change management programs prepared, organization restructuring, marketing plans are finalized along with new re-engineered processes
Deploy– Installation, testing, bug fixing on-site in a client location, people’s training, change management, program supervision, new business processes, marketing plans are some of the key components in this phase
Integrate- Post-deployment integration with existing pieces of technology, integrating the old and newly restructured organization, technical and management support, supporting and easing change, transformation performance monitoring from people, process, and technology standpoint is done in this phase.
While many IT vendors do present their technology solutions as total transformation solutions, the reality is that there is a lot of non-IT activity that needs to precede and succeed in the transformation process.
Organizations need to continuously restructure and realign themselves to market reality. While the organization’s vision stays more or less in place, its business strategy is dynamic. The organization structure is altered so as to effectively address the prevailing market need.
Successful IT services organizations like Accenture, Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, and in Asia – TCS, Infosys and many others keep undergoing this period organization restructuring. While it does become a bit disconcerting to the workforce but these changes are critical to sustained organizational growth. A considerable amount of retooling and retraining is required during these bursts of organization change. Much of the retooling at the senior management level requires innovation and self-motivation. This is, often supported by senior and middle management training.
Inorganic growth effort like acquiring a company and integrating it within a parent organization is also yet another non-IT activity that is used not only to enhance the top and bottom line but to bring in new skills, products and tools. This helps keep the organization nimble and ready for change.
Transformation is not only a cyclical and continuous process but it requires deploying both IT and non-IT tools. As the company integrates, it initiates the new wave of ideas for change that will go through the same transformation cycle. The company thus continues to renew itself and flourish.