Dealing with Transformation and Change

While working in the IT industry for many years and writing about legacy OSS, infrastructure and transformation challenges, I often wonder why so many businesses struggle with the task of change and why “transformation” is potentially becoming a dirty word. What is all the fuss about? I suspect all this apprehension may be for all the wrong reasons. Surely this is not too difficult or an impossible feat. Resolving legacy environments is certainly not a new problem. This challenge is well understood and there are many skills at a company’s disposal that can help.

Factors Contributing to Transformation Difficulties

So, what is the main contributor to this problem? Is it the arrival of digital services, cloud solutions and virtualization? Is it the inability to provide consumer content to multiple services or the inability to be agile and quick when providing new services? Or maybe it is the inability to gather customer insights that can possibly drive product innovation. I suspect the source of transformation difficulty is a mix of all the above.

The level of change is unparalleled and is still accelerating without a sign of slowing down. This creates multiple concerns for governance teams regarding:
• Risk,
• Service impact during the transformation life cycle, and
• Maintained business growth.

For companies that can adopt or are in the position to start a fresh or greenfield approach, the risk and impact is minimal – plus the cost is considerably less and quicker to realize. However, that does not alleviate the problems the change has on the organization.

Mitigate Transformation Challenges

So, could current telecommunications providers adopt a greenfield or ground zero approach? Is this an option that could be workable in achieving the business outcomes? Another idea to consider is a hybrid approach which may better fit the business needs.

I believe that a multifaceted approach could be adopted and be the preferred method in achieving the best outcome. This would in turn create less risk and cost while improving delivery. This approach has a better chance of delivering the business outcomes, while minimizing concern on the investment over the program duration.

Change requires many aspects to be aligned. Clarity is needed to understand how those changes will be achieved. To get to a point where you are ready for this transformation process, ask the following questions:

• What is the current pulse of the business?
• Does the IT team have the respect and influence within the company to implement these changes?
• Do we have the right level of partners and commercial capabilities to craft the complex contracts?
• What additional resources are required for onboarding?
• Do we have the experience personnel to tackle this level of change?

Teams Play a Vital Role in Transformation

Changing behavior to achieve the desired outcome will come down to having the right managers in place to deliver the message and define the team and organization structure. Defining clear lines of communications and upward reporting is a necessity in a smooth transformation process. It will also need the right people with the right skills – this includes clear contract deliverables and SLAs for 3rd parties. The good news is that having the experienced level of management is not a new requirement. Effective team management has always been required since the concept of management was defined.

Finally, change will require incredible communication from the top to the bottom of the organization. This is needed to maintain excellent project governance, provide business insight and visibility for speedy approvals and reduce any cyclic project delays. The change organization should have robust structure, clear lines of authority and senior sponsorship to maintain cohesive collaboration and commitment, all with the common goal to deliver the projects on time and within budget.

The team should be able to deal with all exceptions quickly to reduce the possibility of stalling. They also need to be available to provide clarity on directional changes impacting the program. Furthermore, if the speed of change is to be maintained and achieved, the team will need to manage the budget, skill gaps and general problems that require management decisions.

Change requires a coordinated approach that cuts across the whole organization. It needs the absolute sponsorship and support at the C-Level and the appropriate team structure. The right people with the right experience can deliver the transformation strategy directive successfully and within the required timeline. The bottom line is the entire organization staff must be engaged, removing any silos and resulting in a positive environment to achieve the above transformational change.