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Change versus Transformation

What is Business Transformation?

Business transformation is an initiative driven by the C-Suite that fundamentally shifts the way an organization operates. It is an approach that attempts to align an organization’s activities relating to people, process, and technology more closely with its business strategy and vision. This decision is enacted in order to make an organization “future-proof.” In contrast to the cost-cutting approach of the past, business transformation aims to provide substantial financial benefit along both revenue and cost dimensions. But considering all the confusion surrounding transformation, perhaps its easiest to understand when placed in contrast to a similar term: change.  

The Difference Between Change and Transformation

In spite of the fact that much has been written and researched in the past decade about why transformation efforts fail, the success rate for major change initiatives continues to hover around the same 20-30% rate that it did a decade ago. (See John Kotter’s classic article: Why Transformation Efforts Fail) In an article for the HBR, Ron Ashenkas posits that our struggle to succeed with transformation stems from a small, but significant semantic problem. While change connotes the implementation of several finite initiatives that may or may not affect the whole organization, transformation focuses on a portfolio of interdependent or intersecting initiatives that aims to reinvent the organization as a whole. Change focuses on the execution of a pre-defined shift. Transformation seeks to discover or invent a business model with an eye towards the future. Transformation is much more unpredictable, and as such, involves significantly higher risk. To be even more clear, change initiatives can be included within a transformation, but not the other way around. Even if change management leads to the success of a couple given initiatives within the transformation portfolio, the overall transformation could still fail.  

Why You Need a Platform to Enable Your Transformation

Because transformation is high risk, proper alignment of people, processes, and technology is critical. Discrete change initiatives might be able to succeed without sufficient alignment, but transformation requires a much broader set of capabilities. Transformation requires a more dynamic coordination of resources (both human and financial), stronger collaboration across organizational silos, and continual communication as the transformation progresses. Change management consultants can aid in transformation in a variety of ways, but even the most highly paid consultants cannot bring an organization through the murky waters of major transformation without first laying the foundation for continuous improvement. Connecting people, processes, and technology facilitates this by giving insight into the impact of change. The Mavim Platform gives you the capability to keep your organization on track with daily activities, while giving the C-Suite the insight needed to be more flexible with resource planning and to understand what activities are high and low priority as the organization shifts business models. Change management alone cannot achieve this. But with the proper foundation, your organization can successfully become “future proof”.

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