Some months ago, we were in the middle of an ERP discovery session with a client’s management team to identify their financial and operations challenges and goals, when I was quietly pulled aside by the CFO.

He looked a little awkward, then he said that he felt that before going any further, he needed to step back and take some time to understand the larger digital transformation (DX) picture. He knew that a new ERP was an essential part of the path forward, but he was unsure where it fitted in their DX strategy, and what else they needed to do. What they should and could aspire to. And how it would impact their current and future technology choices.

Digital transformation it transpired, was something they had embraced in theory, without knowing what they didn’t know. In particular, the alignment between their DX strategy and their technology roadmap.

And they’re not alone.

So, we decided to do something about it. To raise the bar, and turn DX into its own discovery process. To introduce digital transformation strategy workshops as an optional (but recommended) step when introducing business-changing technology.

Getting a grip on the business benefits of DX

The first step of our ‘doing something about it’ was to design a ‘big picture’ workshop that ensures  everyone (and we suggest CEO, CFO, Financial Controllers and CIO make up the core attendees list) understands the potential of DX to deliver significant operational and cost benefits across the entire business.

Conversation points include increasing the productivity and accuracy of all fundamental business processes to help drive down your business costs, through to providing greater insights into the operation of the company so you can easily identify your winners and the losers and improve planning.

We also cover creating a streamlined and integrated supply chain across the entire company network to improve the business’s ability to compete, and forging stronger relationships with customers to create more revenue earning opportunities through improved service and sales.

And then?

We discuss how to make sure that your DX plan aligns with the strategic direction of the company. This keeps in mind that your vision needs to address not only the immediate challenges you’re facing, but also the as yet unspecified future requirements. So, in the (almost) words of the Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scout movement): Be prepared, because stuff happens.

What outcomes should you expect from a DX strategy workshop?

By the end of the strategy workshop, you’ll know what you didn’t know.

You’ll be able to review your company’s strategic business plans against the capabilities of the solution you’ve chosen, or need to choose, and have the confidence that you are making the right decision.

You’ll also understand the wider proposed technology stack (all the stuff that comes with your solution — like analytics, AI, portals, etc) and understand the value they add, and how they will help the business realise its strategic benefits. And you’ll be able to prioritise the proposed project scope – so you will understand what should happen first in the project to deliver the biggest, most strategic wins to the business, the soonest.

Lastly, you’ll be able to quantify the benefits of the technology to the business, and set up benchmarks to help you evaluate the success of your solution, the change management process, training, operational improvements, savings, and more.

But wait, there’s more

Critically, our DX strategy workshop will also deliver a project canvas which is used by both your business and ours.

If you haven’t come across the term before, a project canvas is a relatively new project management tool which helps you define a project in a structured way. Ideally, you will end up with a one-page summary (although it may be on A0 sized surface!) which details the purpose of the project, the desired results, budget, teams and resources, risks and milestones, and deadline.

Pushed for time?

We’ve run a few of these workshops now. And the biggest challenge isn’t achieving great results, but engaging the time and attention of the senior management team who say: “No, I simply can’t afford or find the time to come along.”

We get that, you’re busy.

But ironically, the most significant piece of feedback from senior management at every session so far has been the same: “This was great, it’s been hugely beneficial to us. I’m so glad I took the time.”

Great outcomes start with great conversations


Great outcomes start with great conversations

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