Transformation is Coming: How to Prepare for a Company-Publication
Lyudmila Shusterova

Deputy General director for strategic development Unicon Outsourcing

Sooner or later, traditional models of work cease to bring the desired results to the company. To stay competitive, changes are needed. Lyudmila Shusterova (Unicon Outsourcing) told us how to prepare a business for transformation and carry it out successfully.

Recently, the term “transformation” has become very popular, it is used whenever something needs to be changed. But before you bring innovations, it’s important to decide why your company needs them and what result you expect in terms of market share, revenue growth, and profitability. How to set these goals depends on the personal ambitions of the business owners and objective data on the growth rates of competitors, customer expectations and general situation in the market.

You also need to understand that changes can be different. Thus, projects to improve the effectiveness of processes or automation carry fewer risks for the company, but the return on them is usually limited, while substantial changes in the business model are much more risky, but the expected result is often more significant. It is important for the owners and management of the company to decide to what extent they are willing to risk. As a rule, small teams are created to begin testing new approaches.


OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE - WHEN IS IT WORTH ENGAGING AN EXTERNAL EXPERT?

People working at the same company have lack of insight: they hardly have seen many different approaches, options, business models. Third party consultants can help:

  1.  Analyse the market situation, trends.
  2. Manage the process of generating ideas, set criteria for their prioritisation.
  3. Provide competencies that are lacking in the company.
When we carried out transformation in our company, thanks to external consultants we managed to analyse the market situation thoroughly, highlight trends and clearly formulate how the business should respond to them. For example, the consultant confirmed our hypothesis that in Russia the popularity of digital solutions for process optimisation had increased during the pandemic. Then we set ourselves a priority task of expanding the range of IT tools and solutions available to our customers. In addition, external experts helped us to select the appropriate roadmap structure for the transition to the target state.


HOW TO SELL A TRANSFORMATION IDEA TO THE TEAM

Any changes come jointly with risks and additional costs for the company. Therefore, first of all it is the owner and the main stakeholders of the company who should decide on transformation. And it is the owner and the main stakeholders who will broadcast the benefits and inevitability of upcoming innovations to employees. Of course, the support from all team members is important. But it will probably take some time to achieve unanimity in the team. Therefore, if the company is determined to change, it is necessary to create a leading team consisting of active participants who support the transformation programme.

Management’s ambition often makes it difficult to recognize that there are problems in the company that need to be addressed. Instead, top management can talk about certain areas where they have achieved growth or higher indicators compared to the previous period, but without assessing the whole situation. At this stage, it is very important for the ideologists of transformation to convey the idea to the management that changes are inevitable. Moreover, the winner will be the one who starts them earlier, and the laggards are likely to lose their market share.


WHERE TO FIND ALLIES AND HOW TO DISTRIBUTE RESPONSIBILITY IN THE TRANSFORMATION TEAM

Building a change team is a difficult task. Resistance is inevitable: in our experience, at the very beginning, no more than 5% of employees support transformation. Therefore, at this stage it is very important for the ideologists of transformations to be able to defend their own position, constantly explain their actions and have a holistic idea of where the company needs to move.

A successful change team is a mix of employees having expertise in current arrangement of business processes and understanding the needs of clients, as well as specialists with competencies in change management and new models building. They give creative drive to the team because they already have successful experience of change.

After setting the goal, the team develops a roadmap for changes, i.e. a list of projects that need to be implemented. For example, the company wants to strengthen its IT area and plans to start developing new products for automation and robotisation. To do this, it will need to involve:

  • product specialists. They will assess customers’ needs and understand how attractive the new solution is to them;
  • marketing experts. Their task is to conduct market research, identify the strengths and weaknesses of competitor’s technologies;
  • IT specialists and project managers for the project implementation;
  • employees targeted by the solution, to check its effectiveness. For example, for new IT projects, we invite customers to participate in the testing to refine the product based on the end-user experience.
We must not forget about employees who are not involved in the work on internal projects: the more people understand what is changing in the company and why, the faster the on-site resistance will decrease. We organise regular meet-ups for heads of departments and divisions to talk about new products and initiatives of the company, its plans for the future, as well as about the course of development of our competitors and the trends observed in the market.


HOW TO ASSESS THE RESULTS OF CHANGE

Any transformation plan should contain targets for assessing the effectiveness of the introduced changes. For example, several years ago we introduced the MyBPO portal, which had been developed for clients and allowed them to exchange files, communicate, set and track tasks. Understanding the complexity and volume of work that will be required to successfully transfer customers to a new product, we initially set the KPI at 20% of the total number of our customers for the year. In the course of the programme, it is necessary to sum up the interim results.

Thus, the company’s management will be able to track the implementation of tasks from the transformation plan, monitor how the set goals are being achieved, and evaluate the effect of the changes introduced.

Source: pro.rbc.ru



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