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Is Business Transformation a Dirty Word(s)?

Every IT management guru worth his or her salt is keen to talk about “business transformation”

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

Let's pose the question: Is business transformation a dirty word? Okay it's words plural, but you get the point.

To start with we must realize why we are asking the question. It's probably because the phraseis so prevalent at the moment.

Every IT management guru worth his or her salt is keen to talk about "business transformation" almost as if it is some de facto standard around which all firms should now structure their central commercial strategies.

But then, perhaps they should. Perhaps business transformation is that important. Strange then that business transformation has never been capitalized to Business Transformation and afforded the (BT) acronym... but this is mere folly in the wider world of business transformation, so what is it?

As of 2014 we can state generally that business transformation is the process by which firms of all shapes and sizes can go about making fundamental deep-rooted architectural-level changes in terms of how they conduct their business processes and the multiplicity of channels upon which they carry them out.

Why do we do business transformation?
We might imagine that business transformation becomes an imperative because:

  • A firm needs to move with wider market changes
  • A firm's core product is impacted by external changes in the market
  • A firm's key partners shift dramatically in behavior, location, etc.
  • A firm's income streams change due to known or unknown market forces
  • A firm is affected by new regulations/governance coming into force
  • A fundamental shift in technology impacting key transactions and/or processes has occurred

All of these reasons are real factors driving us to consider (and now embrace) this thing called business transformation, whether it's a dirty and unwelcome term or not. Unsurprisingly, though, it is that last very "technology-centric" reason that sits last on our list that tends to be the most rampant and ubiquitous of all today.

How do we do business transformation?
There are some basics mechanics that we have to get right before we can execute business transformation successfully.

First we need to recognize the need to change, next we need to get agreement from management and stakeholders that change needs to happen, next we need to agree upon objectives for change and you can start to work out most of the rest. That is to say, we need to detail steps for change, plan a change strategy, test change before it is implemented and work in an Agile (CAPS-A) way to ‘bed in' that change and make sure that if we need change to be an "iterative dynamic constant" process that we revisit (don't worry, it will be, you can bet on this part) then we give ourselves room to go back again and again.

In her Forbes.com piece 4 Steps To A Successful Business Transformation writer Kasia Moreno summarizes our path to business transformation as follows:

Step One: Getting the right strategic vision is critical.

Step Two: Execution is the hardest part of transformation.

Step Three: The biggest challenge to transformation may be a leader wedded to a past or current success.

Step Four: Take a broad view of customer demand when embarking on business transformation.

When do we do business transformation?
This subject is open ended and we could go over the who, why, what and how of this process interminably. Let us end by asking when do we do business transformation?

The answer, regrettably if it appears obvious, is VERY PROBABLY NOW and very probably because of the impact of mobile and cloud. These technologies are driving all manner of business operation to manifest themselves differently and function in new ways.

It's time for business transformation now... when won't it be?

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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