In the business world, there are always opportunities for transformation and growth. As business leaders develop personally and professionally, they gradually learn to identify what parts of their business or team that need change. This ability to identify and understand when your company is in need of a change is an example of effective business leadership. As a result, this gives you the ability to effectively reach your long-term business goals.
What is a Business Transformation?
A business transformation is a change management strategy that can be defined as:
“Any shift, realignment, or fundamental change in business operations.”
The aim is to make changes to processes, people, or systems to better align the company with its business strategy and vision.
Any organizational change can be termed a business transformation.
Typical transformation projects can include:
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Business process outsourcing
- The introduction of shared service centers
- Enterprise software
- Initiatives motivated by sustainability requirements
A business transformation is different from simply making a change to business processes. On the contrary, it requires a holistic approach to change.
Types of Business Transformation
Operational: Make changes to the way you do things to make operations better, cheaper, or faster.
General Motors hired more than 10,000 IT professionals to replace outsourced contractors. This freed up time from IT support and maintenance work. It also lead to more innovation and new development. As a result, there was 1,000% more data and 10x more productivity.
Core Transformation: Moving to a fundamentally different way of operating.
Netflix shifted its business model from a mail DVD rental service to an online streaming service. With 109 million subscribers worldwide, this core transformation has helped create one of the most successful entertainment companies of all time.
Strategic: Changing the focus of the company.
In the 1990’s, Apple instituted a change of direction under Steve Jobs to focus on creating consumer products. The rest, as you know, is history.
How to Tell it’s Time for a Business Transformation
Great leaders understand the importance of transforming their businesses for long-term growth. However, knowing when change needs to happen isn’t always easy. In many cases, the key driver for the transformation will be external. As a result, this can be overlooked by leaders who fail to act.
Recognizing the opportunity for transformation and having a clear vision for the future state of the business is often the hardest part. By understanding the various triggers for transformation and being aware of them when they occur, you can optimize the success of your business transformation.
Here are a few things to look out for:
As technology advances, businesses are constantly looking for ways to leverage new opportunities to improve their business.
Shift in Competition
As new competitors enter the market, the general business landscape is changed. This can shake up the status quo! organizations that coexisted peacefully may now become competitors. On the other hand, other businesses may thrive and make leaps forward. Ultimately, this could threaten your market share.
Businesses are always seeking faster, newer, and more efficient ways of working.
This can involve:
- Assessing processes and removing duplicate activities
- A change to organizational structure or teams
- A digital transformation with the integration of new technology
High costs or a need for cost savings may trigger a change within an organization to reduce outgoing spending.
Lack of Business Growth
Current operations may not be allowing a company the time and resources to focus on innovation and growing the business.
Merger, Acquisition, or Expansion
Transformation opportunities include:
- Organic growth
- Business mergers
- Buying out another company
In addition, another way to expand your business is through diversification, whether it’s adding new products or opening operations in new geographic regions.
New Business Leadership
A new leadership team might want to make changes to the current organization. They could prefer their own ways of working or implement a new strategy/goal they want the business to focus on.
Low Customer Satisfaction
If current customers are not happy and retention rates are low, an organization may seek to identify ways to adapt their business so they are better able to meet customer needs.
Rising Customer Expectations
The need for business transformation may be driven by a need to meet increasing customer expectations. Responsiveness, speed, or customization are just a few of those examples.
Economic or Political Climate
Economic conditions impacting new policies or regulations that directly affect the business may trigger a need for change within an organization.
Business Transformation, Step by Step
To implement change, an organization must have a vision of what they want their improved business to look like.
It should know:
- What form the change should take
- The objectives of the change
- A vision that describes a better future
- Defining where the business is
- Where it wants to be
- And working to bridge the gap
Appointing the right leaders to provide oversight and support for the transformation is very important. They will need to have the right experience and capability to deliver a successful transformation by inspiring teams to make changes happen.
Planning and Scoping
Create a clear roadmap of the transformation in a detailed way.
This will include:
Set-Up a Transformation Management Team
There are going to be changes to this roadmap along the way. For example, your leaders in each individual workstream will need to adapt when necessary to keep the transformation on track.
This includes having the right people, in the right roles, at the right time. This may involve training for new roles, new hires, or a shift in role and responsibility for employees or processes.
Business transformation is a journey that can last months or even years. Therefore, it will need to be re-assessed and re-evaluated regularly to ensure it’s still appropriate and adapted when necessary.
The business transformation doesn’t end once the change has been put in place. The goal is to transform in a way that the business cannot move back to how it was before. However, integrating new ways of working or new systems into the business takes time and can be tough.
Azul Knows Business Transformation
Sometimes a business transformation is needed to survive, and other times it’s an opportunity for growth. Either way, it always requires a strong leader with the drive to help the business reach its full potential. Having an innovative business culture can be the make or break of a transformation process.
Transformation skills are not commonly on the hiring agenda. Chances are that you’re unlikely to have all the skills you need for a transformation, no matter how capable your people are.
In conclusion, Azul can be your business solution, providing the guidance and leadership you need. We can help your company navigate its business transformation and manage the changes needed to optimize your success. Schedule a consultation with us today!