Tag Archives: Transformation

Where is the Value? – Introduction

Over the last 3+ years I have worked with different internal and external organizations, colleagues from different backgrounds and colleagues with different objectives. One thing that they all have in common is that they have been asked at one stage or another what value they have brought to their customer.

This is an inherently difficult questions to answer, especially  without having the preliminary work completed to allow us to connect the dots and provide the evidence. That however, does not take away from it’s validity.

For example, before we utilize a new digital solution we cannot answer definitively what the improvement, innovation or advancement has been. Until we get through Go-live and into operations, we rely on potential benefits,  and point of view documents. This could be defined as perceived value, but perceived by who? During discovery, these types of documents are great to get the appetite for innovation but they are generally not too customer specific. They also do not help to measure or govern the value of a project as we move from away from inception. So if we wait until we get to operations and haven’t set the success criteria in connection with what we care about, the business needs, then the discussion of value is not only based on perception, it is based on emotion.

To enable us to track measured value, we need to leverage a fully integrated End to End Value Management process from discovery through delivery starting with empathy. Empathy for the user.

With this in mind, how are you thinking about your Digital Transformation? How will you showcase the “value”? Does taking the leap into new cloud environments, IoT applied data or machine learning mean that you get the value defined in technology terms or will you be able to describe how you are moving the needle on Business Objectives.

Every day we see the evidence of dramatic shifts happening throughout the world.  Most notably in the form of disruption. While we are talking about Digital Transformation, we can talk of digital disruption.  Examples of Digital Disruption. If you are not a cause of disruption, then it’s safe to say you will be effected by it. Just think about Netflix and Blockbuster.

Digital Transformation is the goal for so many, but the drive for this transformation is coming from customers. If you are an enterprise or B2B, then I mean the customers of your customers. They want a better experience, intuitive UI, integrated systems, and mobile freedom. This also means that the drivers for our solutions are not the technology teams, but the business and owners of the business processes. They are responsible for the customer satisfaction and will be working with their technology teams to realize the potential of this shift. This is where empathy is very important. They are also the ones who are responsible to reinvent their business model. That is if they are able to understand their current model and forecast the future one.

You may have also seen numerous articles, white papers, websites, twitter accounts all discussing the “commoditization of IT”, and how the new drivers are the business. Beware the outsource, or now the insource. The result of this is we now need to ensure that our technological advantages and future solutions have a direct connection to Business Value mapped to the Technology. We want to do things right, do the right things and have an increase in speed and agility but be able to explain the ‘why’.

The Role of Business Value in Selling Digital Technology:

  • “Software offers no ROI by itself. The value of technology is how you use it to change and improve your organization’s business processes.”
  • The power of business value analysis lies in the ability to quantify the business benefits of a technology in terms that CFOs and other executives can readily understand.
  • Emerging from the field of marketing in the late 1990s, the theory of perceived value denotes that the value of a product or service is co-created by both the buyer and seller of the product (Vargo & Lusch, 2004).

Value of innovation:

So where is the value of innovation? If you ask business leaders to define value, you are going to get a dizzying variety of answers. Why is it so hard to define the term? Value means different things to different people. The definition depends on what they see as value in their organization. Finding value is equally elusive. Applying value to innovation can be difficult for many organizations.

Understanding the value is like any other process. An organization needs vision and a clear understanding of their values and mission. It begins with an idea or a vision of where an organization would like to be and what the path looks like to get there. In the beginning, the true value of innovation will only be perceived. That perception though is a powerful force that moves the innovative idea forward. Never underestimate the value of perception with innovation. It creates possibilities and fires imaginations. Perception creates visions of excellence and success. As momentum builds moving the idea forward, measurable results begin to develop. Organizations then can begin to compare performance data, benchmarking against established best practices. Now, real value can start to be applied. As innovations grow and age, measurable value can be assessed and applied. Organizations will suddenly find that the innovation is resulting in continuous quality improvement.

In my previous series of blogs, I discussed the 6 steps of Design Thinking and how they can help you to answer questions and find solutions. Design Thinking is a human-centric approach for solving problems by creating new ideas. In the sense of Digital Transformation, these target solutions are expected to help you to re-define your business model. Design Thinking is one approach I suggest for understanding and discovering the foundations upon which you will start your transformation.

As you focus on technology innovations to help navigate an increasingly complex business environment, stay focused on delivering value and business outcomes aligned with your organization’s strategy. That’s the lesson I have learned as we’ve worked with thousands of companies to ensure that projects are delivered on-time, on-budget – and on-value.

I invite you to the next blogs in the series, Where’s the Value? In this series, I will be breaking down the 5 main phases in a value management project to help you identify and track measurable value. But more importantly, help you understand and define what value means to you and your stakeholders. Be sure to review the 6 steps of design thinking to provide you and your team a new method to ask the right questions. Hopefully this will provide you with some new tools to take the first steps of your digital transformation and be a digital disruption and change agent for your organization.

 

Design Thinking – Introduction

So as one of my main focus areas, I will start with Design Thinking. I will provide a definition, and overview of the 6 stages, and hopefully create the link from Design Thinking to Digital Transformation and how it can help you start or continue the journey.

What is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking is a human-centric approach for solving problems by creating new ideas. Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Always thinking about the outcome.

Where does it work?
For any business challenges like defining new solutions, strategies and roadmaps, organizational structures and processes. I believe that design thinking is perfect for the first and seconds phases of your digital transformation but you will probably leverage the process throughout. I will explore all phases of Digital Transformation as I move through the posts. But at a high level and to wet your appetite a little, the 6 phases are Discover / Prepare / Explore / Realize / Deploy / Run. Can you already imagine where a new process to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients can help here?

Create INNOVATION by combining the right PEOPLE, the needed SPACE and a supporting PROCESS. I like to summarize this as People / Process / Platform. More on this in a later post.

What is Innovation?

  • DESIRABILITY – Create something which fits to your users need.
  • FEASIBILITY – Otherwise it is just science fiction.
  • VIABILITY – Because we would like to earn money with it.

INNOVATION = Desirability + Feasibility + Viability. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10%, win some market share (even if it is in a red ocean), and maybe crash some competitors. This is exactly why most companies decay little by little as they tend to mostly do what they have done before with a few changes, their 10%. A study from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University estimates that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 10 years. It is no surprise as 90% of Fortune 500 companies vanished since 1955, but the latest estimate is in 10 years, a fast decade away.

True innovation happens when you try to improve something by 10 times rather than 10%. Google talks about how sometimes it’s actually easier to make something 10 times better than improve it to make it 10% better. The key is perspective. This is where Design Thinking can help you get to that point.

In the next posts I will cover the 6 phases of Design Thinking. Now there are a few different process models so find the one that woks for you, but I will be covering my 6.

  • Understand / Empathize
  • Observe
  • Define a point or view
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Right lets go to Understand.

 

Starting my blog…

As a first blog post, with no-one reading just yet, I will introduce myself and lay out a little what I would like to achieve with this site. My name is Gavin…

First a little background; I have been working for one of the worlds top enterprise software companies, SAP, for the last 16 years. In my current role of Support Architect I am privy to a number of the top 500 companies in the world. While they are very different in many ways, there is one thing they all have in common. They are trying to get their heads around their Digital Transformation, they are trying to out innovate their competition, some are trying to re-invent their business model, and some are trying to keep up.

Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind.

In the last 5+ years there has been an accelerating advance in technology and expectation of innovation in nearly all disciplines that we work with these customers on. As I work in the spaces of Design Thinking, Digital Marketing, Value Management, and Digital Transformation, that will be the main focus of my content. But being involved with a large number of the worlds Fortune 500 and their ever changing objectives as they try to maintain relevance, I come across alot of very interesting situations and this is where I draw most of my experience.

Now, we all know that there is a dramatic shift happening throughout the world. One area of turbulent change is Digital Transformation. While Digital Transformation is the goal for so many, the drive for this transformation is coming from customers. However for both the supplier and consumer (customer implies product, consumer is connected to services) they hope for minimal disruption to achieve their targets. They want better experiences, intuitive UIs, integrated systems, and mobile freedom. We also see that the drivers for our solutions are not the technology teams, but the business and owners of the business processes. They are responsible for customer satisfaction and will be working with their technology teams to realize the potential of this shift or take advantage of it. They are also the ones who are responsible to reinvent their business model while listening to what the consumers want. A real effort is needed to get involved as early as you can in the consumers buying journey while adding value. Here we can learn alot from the Digital Marketing discipline and how leverage the knowledge in all aspects of customer interaction.

From a technology stand point we are making some amazing breakthroughs in the fields of AI and machine learning. Huge increases in automation are opening up brand new value streams. This has some people scared for higher unemployment. In certain positions this will be true but the goal is to enable more opportunity, higher productivity and impact by connecting the smartest people with the best solutions. We all want to help the world run better and improve people’s lives – but where would you start?

Arriving at my current position I have reviewed numerous articles, white papers, websites, twitter accounts all discussing the commoditization of IT, and how the new drivers are the “business side of the house”. The result of this is we now need to ensure that our technological advantages and future solutions have a direct connection to Business Value all the while being mapped to the Technology. We are moving into the age of services, Everything as as Service. We want to do things right, do the right things and have an increase in speed and agility but the key to all of this is empathy for the users. That’s a good starting point, right?

So with the opportunities around Digital Transformation, I would like to focus on some related topics, or some very useful tools and methodology that can help us as we try to navigate the choppy waters. This make me think about the triangle of People, Process & Platform and whether or not all dimensions have what they need to be successful. Some of the below are processes, with integrated platforms, but we need the right people to be proficient.

For me, Design thinking is an extremely useful discipline to get to the crux of the problem statement and start to find the right questions. Possibly even some solutions. Digital Marketing, which is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium can also play a big role in how we positions the new solutions or offers. And also Value Management. The term value is thrown around and seems to lose it meaning and even has a different definition to different people. For example….What does Value mean to you? But as you focus on technology innovations to help navigate an increasingly complex business environment, staying focused on delivering value and business outcomes which are aligned with your organization’s strategy is key to unlocking measurable ‘value’. While working with SAP, I have learned that successful companies see significantly better performance when they keep their eye on achieving the expected value from project definition to delivery and throughout operation. Successful companies apply the value management discipline consistently across the project portfolio through the value management life cycle.

On the Books page, you can see the latest books I have read (or listened to) to prepare for starting this blog. This may also give you an indication about where my attention is. With all that being said, I will be posting about content related to the above, hoping to make connections with fellow “digital transformers“, and learning along the way. I will start my first few posts around the definition and summaries of some of the key focus areas. I would like this content to serve as a guide in some places, with the ultimate goal of getting you to ask a questions of yourself and your team that you have not asked before.

Join me online @GavinOLearySAP or follow my SoBiz project at @SoBizCo.

Passionate about Design Thinking, Digital Marketing, Value Management, and Digital Transformation. Leveraging Co-Innovation, Product and Project Management, for collaborative impact. Digital Dreamer employed by SAP.