Roy French, Director, EMEA Consulting Delivery at Micro Focus, now an OpenText company, explores why enterprise transformation efforts fail and shares how organizations can sustain long-term initiatives.
How does transformation happen?
Everyone is talking about transformation. My peers and colleagues are busy blogging on the topic. It’s all over the press. And most importantly, it’s a regular topic of conversation with our customers. Lots of people are talking about WHAT should be transformed—Can your operation be moved to the cloud? Can you deal with new applications being procured as subscriptions while incorporating them into your day-to-day processes? Can you leverage the freedoms of modern compute without breaking data protection regulations? Can you add automation while taking your people with you? The list goes on.
What gets covered less is HOW transformation happens.
Some organizations trust in a logo from large consulting companies and “have them do it for us.” Others trust in published approaches or alleged silver bullets. Some see the transformation itself as the goal.
The reality is that transformation needs to be part of everyday activity. But critically, it needs to be a journey of many small steps.
Why transformations fail
In my many years within the software services industry, I am yet to meet a client with a crystal ball. In an ever-changing world, you can’t predict your medium or far-future needs accurately. There is no unwavering two-year transformation plan you can kick off and force through. There is no silver bullet. Any form of organizational change is hard.
One reason transformation is so challenging is that it’s as much a culture change as it is a technology change. You can flip your apps to the cloud. But unless Carmen in ops, Karim in invoicing, and Jason in sales can see why it’s important, change the way they think, and enhance their processes and day-to-day decisions, your organization will struggle to truly transform.
Why? Because we all face the digital dilemma of running and transforming at the same time. The burden of keeping the lights on takes too much time and resources—be they money, people, or mind space. The result is that the pace of change is too slow because it effectively stops while “we just get through this quarter” or whatever other task takes priority. People lose faith. Sponsors move on to something more exciting or urgent. When this happens around you, you can almost see these decisions sucking the life force from your organization.
Also, it doesn’t seem to matter if technology operations are run internally, outsourced, or a combination. The fact is that our organizations are scaled for the day-to-day, rather than for the extraordinary. So relying on an extraordinary situation to transform is a waste of time. Time is a resource we cannot afford to waste in a highly competitive environment.
Transformation takes small steps
What I have seen over my many years in the industry is that we have all been transforming, to one degree or another, most of the time. Some have made it look easy, while others have ended up on the front pages.
The only way to find success is to take an often-indirect route but one that delivers results that matter and does it often—every week or two, rather than every year or two. And vitally, you need to take your people with you, which typically means you need to inspire them and have them do what they were hired to do: deliver for your customers.
The reality is that transformation needs to be part of everyday activity but critically it needs to be a journey of many small steps. Those stakeholders across their various teams need to be involved in the change, ideally leading it. And they certainly need to be involved in setting ambition for the things that need to change.
Our approach to transformation
As part of our own transformation, Micro Focus is changing the way we operate our Professional Services business—we are calling the new approach Value+. We are shaking off some of the traditional methods of service engagement that are common in the industry and instead re-doubling our focus on you. We use our extensive experience to deliver against outcomes that mean something to you, rather than simply delivering our products. An outcome vs. product objective will drastically reduce your risk of implementing something new or enabling new capabilities.
Our Value+ approach provides agility so that you can change or reprioritize scope without costing you the earth or requiring a fistful of change forms completed in triplicate (showing my age?). We can even make billing simple—so you can pay an equal monthly amount over a term, making invoicing easy and predictable, even if the effort varies from month to month.
It isn’t rocket science. It’s actually very simple—for more exciting details check out our new eBook: Win Your New Transformation Race. But it’s only possible where an organization like ours has the skills and experience to stand behind it. We call this approach Value+ and it will help you to be confident that your investment in Micro Focus will get you where you need to be.
If this sounds refreshing, please talk to your existing contacts at Micro Focus about Value+, or drop me a note. I would be happy to talk you through it.