Tag: Cecilia Edwards

Digital Transformation: Five Steps to Better Metrics | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Everest Group’s recent Enterprise Digital Adoption | Pinnacle Model™ Assessment suggests that the organizations that are having the greatest success in achieving outcomes from their initiatives have a focus on a set of success metrics the extend well beyond cost savings. They include a focus on things that are relatively easy to quantify such as reduction in process cycle times. However, they also include an emphasis of more nebulous goals such as improving customer experience, introducing innovative offering, and engaging in disruptive behavior in the market.

Measuring this latter set of goals is a far departure from the familiar service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) that IT organizations and their internal business customers are accustomed to using to determine success. Not only are SLAs and KPIs insufficient to measure the strategic impact of digital efforts, they also fail to capture the real essence of what business customers desire. While every SLA and KPI can be met, enterprises on digital transformation journeys tend to find those metrics unsatisfactory.

Five steps enterprises need to take to establish a meaningful set of digital performance metrics

1. Ensure a clear set of business objectives have been established – an objective to improve customer experience is not a clear enough metric to guide a focused set of activities and investments in a digital effort.

Within the customer experience realm, an enterprise could focus on increasing the level of consistency of the experience. In this case, the digital effort may be around automating a set of processes to reduce the variability in results and decrease the dependence upon the knowledge and experience of individuals.

If the desired improvement is to create a personalized experience, the enterprise may be more focused on ways to leverage analytics to consolidate the customer’s activity with the enterprise, make recommendations based upon the behaviors of similar customers, and predict the likelihood of purchasing.

In addition to defining the objectives, a business value should be attached to each. What is the anticipated benefit to the business, in terms of dollars and cents, were the objectives to be met.

Related: See our latest research on digital transformation readiness

2. Develop a quantifiable baseline for the business objective – even with a goal as vague as improving an experience, enterprises who want to ensure their activities are leading to results will find a way to quantify them. For example, if you are trying to improve customer experience through consistency, you may want to measure and set improvement targets for the level of variability in the time to serve a customer or whether the customer experience is similar regardless of the channel through which the customer engages.

3. Track the progress of adoption – while getting a technology solution implemented or a new process defined is clearly the first step, enterprises that get results from their efforts also focus on the level of adoption. These enterprises understand that without behavioral changes to use the technology and follow the new procedures the value potential of the digital efforts cannot be realized.

4. Track the achievement of the quantifiable results – once it is clear that there is a high level of adoption of the technology and redefined business processes, enterprises can begin to track the achievement of the quantifiable objectives identified in step two. Until adoption is achieved, tracking these results is futile.

5. Determine whether the desired business impact is being achieved – a critical and oft overlooked step is to ensure the achievement of the quantifiable results is delivering the desired business impact. In the age of digital transformation, the level of certainty  in effectively achieving outcomes is much lower than in times past. Additionally, the pace of change is greater, meaning that an approach that worked last month might begin to lose its effectiveness this month. Enterprises that want to achieve business results are wise to continuously monitor the impact of their efforts on their desired business results and make the necessary adjustments to both technology and business process to sustain the desired business impact.

Even in the digital era, the adage that what gets measured gets done remains solid advice for enterprises interested in not merely engaging in digital transformation activities but in achieving business results.

With All The Talk of Transformation, Are RPA Projects Bad? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

This past week, I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote speech at the Dallas RPA and Cognitive Summit that focused on the difference between digital projects (in this case, RPA projects) and transformations. In a nutshell, here are the key takeaways:

  • Your Why Matters: RPA implementation by itself is not a strategy but an enable of a specific objective(s) the organization is trying to accomplish
  • What you want to accomplish can be far reaching: The outcomes of your RPA effort have the potential to range from IT operations improvements, business efficiency, or improvements in the customer experience. The closer to the customer, the more transformative the effort is likely to be
  • How you choose to execute determines your impact: Since technology is rarely a barrier to success, the alignment of the business stakeholders, the cultural adjustments, and the approach to risk management will be the determining factors in the ability to scale and to capture the intended value

While my talk was purposefully focused on pushing the group’s thinking around transformation, the world in which most of the attendees current live is all about projects. The dichotomy between my focus and their reality led one of the attendees to ask whether projects were a bad thing and what they as mid-level manager could do to encourage transformation.

RPA projects are not bad

RPA projects are by no means bad or inferior to transformation efforts. In fact, most transformation efforts are implemented through a series of projects. However, it is important to know that projects implemented outside of the context of a transformation effort will have limited impact. It is perfectly acceptable to do standalone projects – just do not expect them to deliver results that will be significant enough for customers or the marketplace to notice.

On the other hand, understand that you cannot run a transformation as though it were a project and expect good results. Given the level of complexity and need for executive sponsorship, transformation run as projects usually do not scale well beyond the initial pilot, take excessively long to implement, and rarely achieve business impact. If it is a transformation, run it as such.

Use RPA projects to ready your organization for true transformation

Realistically, if your title is Director of RPA, Business Process Improvement, Operations Excellence, etc., the chances of you being able to initiate a digital transformation in your organization are slim. That is not to say, however, that you cannot have some influence on the organization through you work you do with your RPA projects.

RPA adoption is still relatively new and most business stakeholders are not familiar with the potential impact it can have, comfortable with the different type of risk it brings, nor aware of the level of effort required to use it for transformation. An approach that starts with a project focus that creates a pull in demand from the business side of the organization could be just the early experience an organization needs to begin to consider RPA and other automation technologies as a part of its digital transformation efforts company-wide.

View the full presentation.

RPA & Cognitive Congress — January 17-18 | Event

Key leaders from Everest Group will lead sessions at the RPA & Cognitive Congress held in Dallas on January 17-18.

Partner Cecilia Edwards will host a keynote session on January 18 focused on helping business leaders align AI with business objectives. Attendees will get a clear idea of how to pursue AI adoption with a strategic plan, rather than letting the technology do the driving.

Cecilia will also moderate a Fireside Chat on January 18 titled, The Holistic Digital Transformation: What is the Roadmap? She will discuss how to achieve seamless end-t0-end digital efficiency in the age of constant  transformation.

Chief Research Guru Michel Janssen and Managing Partner Eric Simonson will lead a pre-conference workshop on January 16 on what it takes to successfully set up an automation Center of Excellence (COE)

About the conference
RPA & Cognitive Congress Dallas is assembling leading service delivery and automation professionals for frank and pragmatic discussion about RPA, the benefits and opportunities of this technology, and the real-world challenges they’re facing in implementation.

Use cases from early adopters will demonstrate how machine learning technology and digitization solutions, such as OCR and NLP, can take out the human touchpoints of a process and supercharge RPA. This discussion will be framed within analysis of the organizational transformation that is necessary to fully maximize the ROI from process automation and future technological innovations.

When
January 17-18, 2018

Where
Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center
7121 Bishop Road
Plano, TX 75024 USA

Speaker
Cecilia Edwards, Partner, Everest Group
Michel Janssen, Chief Research Guru, Everest Group
Eric Simonson, Managing Partner, Everest Group

Learn more and register

How to Successfully Fund Your Enterprise Innovation Initiative | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

One of the biggest obstacles to successful innovation efforts is a challenge familiar to any entrepreneur: funding. Good ideas take time and money to get off the ground. But when those ideas are relatively “out there” or unproven, the investment can be hard to justify.

This is especially true in a corporate environment. Standard corporate funding models for technology projects simply don’t align with the way innovation works. Traditionally, organizations base their internal investments on a business case that shows projected improvement from a baseline. The business case requires and includes upfront knowledge of the full funding needed to complete the project, and assumes that every project will in fact be successfully completed.

Read more at Cecilia’s blog

5 Steps to a Realistic, Repeatable Innovation Process | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Innovation in a business context cannot be a simple flash of brilliance. (It typically isn’t a simple flash of brilliance in any case, as we’ll discuss below.) Even in the rare cases that an innovative idea seems to come from nowhere, it must not end there. Businesses, and especially IT departments, need to deliver outcomes. A cool new gadget, algorithm, etc. is essentially meaningless until it enables or produces the desired results, e.g.: improve the customer experience, drive down costs, transform the business model. Only then is the energy from that flash of brilliance harnessed in a way that matters to the organization.

This focus on practicality feels unintuitive and different from how we usually think of innovation; the image of a single inventor being struck by a moment of genius is a powerful cultural paradigm. It is also neither realistic nor repeatable. Innovation driven by an undisciplined creative process will not predictably deliver results. This makes reliance on serendipity an innovation strategy unsuited for a corporate environment.

Read more at Cecilia’s blog

The Biggest Risk to Your IT Department that You’re Not Addressing | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Today’s IT departments face a profound challenge: the delicate and precarious balance between stability and innovation. “Keeping the lights on” has never been more important. Business quite literally runs on technology and any downtime or blips in the user experience can cause major negative consequences, from brand equity and sales to internal productivity and morale. But innovation is equally imperative. The pace of technological change demands that businesses evolve or go extinct. You can’t afford to stand still – but you cannot compromise your core operations, either. In response, most organizations split the difference. IT assumes that legacy systems are stable and continues to rely on them as foundational infrastructure. When new requirements arise, they invest in new technology with a greater emphasis on agility and responsiveness, often in the cloud. Read more at Cecilia’s blog.

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