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Business transformation: Do companies need to adjust the structure of business processes?

The business environment is constantly changing. Companies need to adjust not only their vision and plans but also the structure of the business processes.

The rapid development of information technology in the recent years has changed organizations dramatically. The use of technologies is much more intensive. In today's reality, more and more processes are knowledge-based and this has a specific implication for most of the companies. Combines with new business trends, it requires a rethinking process which generates transformation.

Some companies are faster than others, in terms of changing or fine tuning processes. Regardless of the size, companies must change and adapt to the ever-changing reality in order to survive. It is true not only for start-up companies but also for big corporations. Take a look at the top 50 companies in the NASDAQ index. See how many corporations managed to stay on the top of the list in the last decades.

Management in general and business leaders, in particular, are expected to be the change agents. They are accountable and should become the change catalysts. It means that leaders should re-align (if and when required) basic values, attitudes and business assumptions. Megatrends are also very important and need to be discussed accordingly. Business transformation is more than an enhanced strategic plan, as one may think. It is a strategic organization change plan. Vision, mission, and strategies are all taken into consideration.

In some cases, it is possible that such process may affect not only the structure bus also the culture of the company. The one thing that will not change is the focus on the existing and potential customers.

The outcome of the transformation discussions and preparation work should be a solid plan. Then it should be executed decisively. It is not always the easiest thing to do (like any other change) but in most cases it is a must.

At the end of the transformation process, the company should be able to move forward from the past state to the future state. Implemented properly, the outcome should be a significant improvement in business procedures, system capabilities and eventually better business performance. It is more likely that a more flexible, adaptive and responsive organization will prosper these days.

3 Replies

Mark Rome
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Mark Rome Entrepreneur
CFO, Director of Finance, Controller, Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense, Construction, Logistics & Software

Meir, you raise some excellent points, "It means that leaders should re-align (if and when required) basic values, attitudes and business assumptions."

For business transformations to succeed, they must look beyond restructuring business processes.

In the Fall of 2013, the local news media in Phoenix, Arizona reported a backlog of more than 6,000 cases of child abuse and neglect that went un-investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS). But three years earlier, in March 2011, CPS Director Clarence Carter recognized that the workload was unsustainable, and kicked off a systemic process improvement initiative. To accomplish his goals, CPS contracted with a nationally recognized third party team of experts from Change and Innovation Agency.

Each of the major work flows in the process of keeping children safe and improving child and family well-being were dissected and laid out from beginning to end. The process led to the elimination of the need for more than 200,000 work hours of staff time each year. But there were no long-term sustainable performance improvements, as caseloads continued to rise, and employee turnover for case investigators continued to climb. By focusing strictly on BUSINESS PROCESSES without understanding the interaction between PEOPLE (skills, performance levels, decision-making), PROJECTS, and INFRASTRUCTURE (IT systems, technology, facilities, equipment), the process improvement initiative failed to achieve measurable improvement.

Business transformation initiatives must realign employee skills (hard & soft), performance levels and decision-making withcorporate strategyand goals. They must revisit business processes and projects to determine whether they are aligned with corporate strategy andgoalsas well. Finally, they must assess whether the employees functional areas have the right infrastructure (IT systems, technology, equipment and facilities) in place to help employees meet their performance expectations.

Business transformation initiatives must collect data that can provide valuable insights into making informed, strategic decisions to better align people (hard and soft skills, performance levels, decision-making, etc.), BUSINESS processes, projects and infrastructure (equipment, facilities, IT systems, technology, etc.) with company strategy and goals. By looking at all the variables simultaneously, leadership can effectively and efficiently allocate resources to optimize outcomes, and achieve its business transformation objectives.

Bruce Carpenter
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Bruce Carpenter Advisor
Co-founder and Principal, Harbour Bridge Ventures
Business transformations are generally undertaken when a business finds itself behind the curve, lacking innovation, failing to accomplish its objectives, and often misaligned with fundamental changes in both the macro-environment and the dynamics of its targeted markets.

I agree with the statements already made on fundamental elements of a successful transformation. However, I would also advocate for institution of an organizational discipline of constant and consistent transformation in the business going forward. I do not believe that transformation should be seen as a singular event or even a periodic cycle. Constant adaptation and innovation in reaction to changing circumstances, the introduction of new risks and opportunities are genetic markers of the most successful enterprises.
Michael Hawley
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Michael Hawley Entrepreneur
Owner Founder at Appends Consulting Limited
Hi There is quite a large amount material covered here which I will try outline my views on succinctly. The first is that transformation should not by default touch mission and values. If you personify a business as we all do then; Who am I = Mission ( this is why we exist) What do I stand for? = Values which should endure What do I want to achieve = Vision which you should keep challenging in doing a better job in meeting your mission in a way that maintains your values. So when it comes to transformation: Generally this is required when the vision is not being achieved. Referring back to your mission and values is often a great starting point in trouble shooting what's not working culturally and in terms of results. You can then work through a strategic planning process to get you back on track to achieve your vision (qualitative and quantitative). Outputs of this plan typically include a. Structure b. People c. Processes d. Measures To tease out process in detail: Part of your strategic plan will include 3-5 critical success factors. Plotting your existing or required processes against the csf's and seeing how many of csf's each process touches helps to Pareto which processes are most important. The complex processes by default become long term projects, the relatively easy are your "low hanging fruit" representing quick wins. Transformations are radical moves which a business needs to ensure don't result in a loss of identity with the customer. Adaptation in anticipation of customer needs is a healthier and more sustainable way to make steady profess toward your goals and growing customers. Technology appraisal relative to a clear strategic plan will help your business evaluate which technologies will be of sustainable benefit your business and customers. Each change you make will always slow you down during implementation and understanding the benefit of vs. Lost momentum is worth taking into account. I am not sure I covered the full spectrum of your questions, but have tried to hit the most salient. Best regards Michael Sent from my iPhone
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