With transformation high on everyone’s agenda, we consider the benefits of taking a good, long, well-structured look before, during and after a major leap.
Representing significant change as a journey is now commonplace and with good reason. It suggests some degree of difficulty, uncertainty and the need for flexibility to reach the destination. What concerns many though is that the journey doesn’t become an end in itself, or an excuse for huge service costs that don’t ever quite deliver a final result.
So, like all good journeys, transformation should have a start (combining where we are today with a vision of where we want to get to), a middle (the monitored and measured process of change) and an end (a confirmation and reassurance that we have achieved the desired outcome).
In the next five sections we’ll look at how analytics can help us judge across five key phases to give us the best chance of success.
Phase 1: Where Am I?
When considering transformational change, it’s very easy to dive straight into the detail and process, but there is good reason to establish a framework for success first. Why is change needed? What are the expected outcomes? What state are we actually in today?
Establishing and sharing the rational for change and defining “what success looks like” are key to building momentum and establishing credibility among the full spectrum of stakeholders.
Taking a step back and applying some simple analytics helps to examine priorities, readiness and success criteria. Capita has created a simple, free Workspace Agility self-assessment tool as a simple starting point.
Phase 2: The Necessary Detail
Having established the top-level detail, it is usually a good idea to get a more detailed assessment of exactly what the current environment looks like and what state it’s in.
There’s three good reasons for this exercise. Firstly, it establishes a base line for current performance and quality against which future services can be judged. Secondly it helps to establish more realistic cost and business value estimations.
Finally, it helps establish some level of profiling and priorities, indicating suitable groups of users for pilots, areas of highest need / greatest improvement or opportunities to simplify change through standardisation.
Several assessment tools exist in the marketplace to assist with this process, with charges varying depending on the depth of analysis required. Capita provides a low-cost assessment service to help organisations gather the detailed information needed to make informed decisions.
Phase 3: The Case for Change
Detailed business case analysis is something of a lost art, partly discredited by vendor-created ROI and TCO calculators which promised fantastic returns (if certain very specific conditions were met).
Despite this, creating a high-level case remains a good option for most organisations considering transformational change. Ensure you consider both direct and in-direct costs and benefits, including the impact (positive and negative) on staff time and productivity.
It’s also important to ensure that you consider at least two options fully, even if one of them is the “do nothing” option. Fully considering the likely costs and risks of doing nothing can be an enlightening experience.
Finally remember that output is critical to an effective business case, so ensure you understand your audience and the format in which they prefer to receive analysis and information.
Phase 4: In-Flight Metrics
Having determined where we’re starting, where we’re trying to get to and checking that it’s worth getting there it’s time to head off. So how do you know you’re making good progress, or even heading in the right direction?
Of course, good project and programme management will track milestones and deliverables, risks and deliverables, but they will struggle to measure business impacts.
Deploying analytics to track whether expected improvements are being delivered allows changes in emphasis, scope, timescales and expectations. Assuming the correct benchmark analytics were undertaken in Phase 2 you should be able to look at the change process in action and determine whether it is delivering the expected benefits.
Minor course changes are annoying but are also a lot easier to manage than running out of fuel part way or arriving at entirely the wrong destination.
Phase 5: Checklist on Arrival
So, is arriving safely at your transformed destination the end of the journey? Hopefully not. Having seen that analytics are capable of keeping us on track and measuring the impacts of change and innovation it would be good to see what else they can do for us.
Building out dashboards and business information feeds that draw on information from multiple sources and create deep, correlated, contextually rich information is a great way to put your service at the heart of the organisation.
Whether you’re just starting out in analytics and wanting that initial benchmark, or are seeking real in-depth and actionable insights, it’s important to seek advice and guidance on the right tools and processes.
Transformational change is hard to achieve, but it’s far harder without the evidence to benchmark, measure and guide progress.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how analytics could make change simpler and more effective in your organisation simply connect with Ewen via his LinkedIn profile or get in touch with us on our Workspace Agility website.
About the Author: Ewen Anderson BSc, MMS (Dip): With a background in strategic consultancy, enterprise-scale managed services, psychology and management services Ewen is a passionate believer that technology is an essential element of business strategy and that when end user computing services are properly designed and managed they can directly improve productivity and work life balance, while minimising the effect of work on the environment.