The frequency of technology deployments, upgrades and transformations have reached the point where most organizations have at least one major project on the go at any time. Traditionally, the IT department would be responsible for selecting the most appropriate software and deploying it to the internal environment and training users, who would only find out about the change at the end of the process.
Increasingly, however, organisations are looking to business users to drive effective digital transformation. Let’s look at two companies facing competitive challenges and their different approaches to technology projects.
Monique is the CEO of StellarPro, a management consulting agency. Sue Lin runs PowerWorks, a civil engineering firm. Both have dispersed workforces with staff working from home or on the road and need to access a lot of essential project documentation. They have recently started losing RFPs to their competitors due to cost and need to make their projects more efficient.
Monique has just returned from a conference where she learned about new developments in project management software. She briefs Procurement to find the best one. They come back with a recommendation on the best project management tool for StellarPro and schedule the implementation as soon as possible to start getting the benefits from this fantastic new software. Look out world!
Sue Lin was also keen to improve productivity but had been burned in the past by big IT projects with poor adoption. People were too busy to learn new processes, the vendor training did not account for different digital skill levels and even after strong directive from senior leaders, usage was patchy.
For this initiative, Sue Lin tasked a Digital Transformation Committee to work with users to identify the real issues, leverage technology the organisation already had and prioritise the right solutions. She wanted to engage users early on to provide a wholistic assessment of system and process concerns, rather than leaving it to IT to figure out everything.
They used a framework called the 6I’s of Digital Transformation:
- Identify:PowerWorks took their time to identify the most important initiatives by running focus groups, investigating customer complaints, conducting new staff interviews and simply watching people work.
- Impact:Once they had a list of all the challenges and opportunities that could be solved with technology, they had each opportunity assessed in terms of benefits to the business. Some had financial impact, while others could affect culture, staff engagement and retention.
- Ideate:The committee then generated ideas to solve these problems and decide whether tackling each one was feasible. The full 6I’s framework includes a DX scorecard to calculate opportunity cost for each proposed solution including impact on end users, process owners, the cost of creation and ongoing costs.
- Innovate:Then it was time to decide which solutions to pursue and develop the winning ideas with deeper understanding and accuracy. Once the solutions were optimised, wireframes were created to get feedback and approval before creating a detailed solution design document.
- Implement:Finally, it was time to get down to business and create the chosen solutions. Projects can encounter stumbling blocks due to competing projects, upgrades, freezes and organisational change so they progressed as quickly as possible.
- Iterate:Post launch, Sue Lin made sure to measure the impact of the implemented solutions and look to enhance them. All opportunities for improvement received the same 6I’s process to assess ROI.
It will come as no surprise that Monique’s new project management software had minimal impact whereas Sue Lin’s enhancements were enthusiastically adopted by the PowerWorks teams, driving productivity and staff engagement.
If your organisation is still taking a technology-driven approach to digital transformation, it’s worth considering a different approach. The rate of project failure is high and frameworks like the 6I’s can reduce risk, help manage stakeholders and provide benchmarks to measure success.