Where should you start when transforming your operations?
Transformation agendas can go awry if stakeholders don’t talk.
The world is moving fast. If organizations want to stay ahead of the curve, their operations need to be agile and predictive, and they must pick the right time to engage with both the right talent and the right new technologies to gain a competitive edge.
However, there are a lot of technologies out there and a lot of business processes, all in a state of continuous evolution. Separating the signal from the noise – and picking the right strategy – can be a real challenge.
Even when organizations choose a strategy, other factors can stand in the way of effective implementation. Understanding how to ask the right questions, who to ask and where to find the answers, is critical in making any strategy work.
Take, for example, the challenges around digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a vital component of any modern business strategy. Old software, platforms and processes become unfit for modern needs. In their place, new software, new platforms and new processes need to be developed and efficiently implemented.
However, transformation is often driven by technologists and IT teams, rather than the people who they will actually impact – such as those on the office floor. This can make communicating business value and enacting effective change a fraught process.
The most sophisticated, expensive artificial intelligence (AI) in the world can quickly become ineffective if implemented without the input from the people who would actually be using it, and whether or not they think it would actually improve processes.
But getting the right people talking and identifying the actual problems that need to be solved, can be harder than it looks.
One Tier 1 financial client came to EY with this problem. It had faced challenges in implementing technological transformations in the past, and so recognized the need for creating the kind of collaborative spaces in which critical questions could be asked – and strategies shaped – before it started building technology into its operations.
The question the client asked was crucial but broad: rather than making incremental improvements, how do we think differently about how the finance function supports the business? In particular, it was looking at how to improve operations across eight distinct finance processes, from financial accounting to book closing, by applying technology in ways which would work to deliver real value.