Over the past few years, a number of my clients have embarked on massive technology and business transformations as they embrace the digital agenda. They are not alone. Many other enterprises have done, or are planning to do, the same.
The idea of moving to an entirely digital platform may seem like a daunting experience. In fact, one global CIO with whom I worked described the move from a legacy SAP environment to cloud as requiring a “leap of faith.” At the heart of such transformation program lies a new integrated IT landscape built on a Software-as-a-Service delivery model. Yet making the switch requires more than a leap of faith.
Replacing such a massively complex IT and business landscape cannot happen over night, and companies should think carefully about their motivations for making the move. What factors should drive the choice of cloud technology? How can one ensure that the change is successfully implemented across the company? These are the sort of questions facing so many organizations as they seek to maximize their move to the cloud, but are unsure of how to approach the decision criteria.
Step 1: Agree on the desired outcome
Our answer is to take a process-driven approach to transformation right from the start. Working with our clients, we have built and modernized a Value Prototyping (VP) approach aimed at eliminating risk and accelerating both cloud selection and business impact. The goal is to align IT and business stakeholders on one simple, guiding question: what results do we want to extract from this change?
This process–also referred to as the vendor procurement approach–should drive the change, developing proof points and identifying customer journeys. It must de-risk any projects along the way by identifying potential issues with a vendor or outlining specific solutions.
Step 2: Define your decision factors
We have industrialized our VP process and used it to define the decision factors that shape the journey to cloud. These include:
· Functionality and capability alignment: how to leverage inherent packaged functionality in software platforms and understand their impact on requirements
· Portfolio and value management: how to prioritize initiatives and realize benefits given the amount of change and deployment options
· Agile vs. Waterfall development (program governance): how to change IT delivery behaviors and methods while also setting and managing business expectations
· Architectural transition: how to ensure new platforms work with the target architecture, while also being able to transition from legacy
· Operationalize the cloud: how to ensure business and IT are ready to maintain and support upgrades, releases, and change control going forward.
Step 3: Engage stakeholders in the process
One of the many benefits of taking a process-driven approach is that it identifies everyone involved in the change and engages them only when necessary. It brings stakeholders together to push through decisions based on a thorough understanding of risk, budgets, delivery approach, and more. Business units from HR and finance to product development, sales and marketing, will all have different end-user needs. To account for this, the adoption of each new technology or cloud service should be supported with the appropriate end-to-end change process.
It might, for example, incorporate product visualization, or perhaps stakeholder alignment and proof point testing. This ensures business confidence by providing evidence that a particular solution will fulfil business needs. It enables the business case to be realized ahead of full implementation. Key business scenarios could also be built into working prototypes to bring new technology solutions to life.
We recently took exactly this approach in one client’s recent transformation. We were able to confirm to the business the financial viability of different solutions by linking functional components directly to business benefits and providing early visibility of the TCO. The process has since been successfully applied across a range of complex and challenging capabilities, including supply chain, regulatory compliance, cyber security, sales operations, finance, and procurement.
Step 4: Focus on the users
We’ve all heard about projects where, at the eleventh hour, the development team realizes one technology isn’t compatible with another. All too often, this results in the project being abandoned or seriously delayed after months of work. But this can be avoided by following a structured process for building a solution or a product focused on the user.
By using proof points early on in the process, issues that might previously have derailed a project can be identified and resolved early enough to avoid delays. It’s a great example of the value of implementing a structured process for wide-scale business and digital transformation.
You can read more about Capgemini’s Cloud Advise services on our Cloud Strategy page.