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      Tag Archives: Digital Transformation

      9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation

      ERP cultural transformation

      Post ERP implementation blues are problematic for a number of reasons not the least of which is the decline of the collaborative and empowered culture that the implementation tends to create. A common cause for ERP sub-optimization is that most companies do not plan sufficiently to sustain the culture required to achieve the full benefits if the system. While leaders often consider the need for ongoing technology development and maintenance, it is just as important that they plan for cultural sustainability.

      Generally, leaders will make a false assumption that an ERP implementation will be plug-and- play, that performance will come naturally, and that the culture will adapt as a result of the technology. But the research is clear. Having a great company culture is no longer optional for companies who want to compete.

       

      “If you ask a group of CIOs what their biggest barrier to change is in their organization or indeed the wider enterprise, the most common response is almost always culture or some variant thereof. In the 2018 CIO Survey, 46% of respondents named culture as the biggest barrier to scaling digital transformation. This answer isn’t surprising. But it’s also not very useful, since culture is amorphous — hard to pin down and hard to change.”

      – Gartner, The Art of Culture Hacking

      ERP is the backbone of an organization’s operational structure, and exists to improve information flow, reduce costs, optimize processes, link with suppliers, and reduce response times. But, to accomplish all of this, it is must also help breakdown silos, enable transparency, and ensure better cooperation. In other words, the ultimate result of a successful ERP is empowered employees and a collaborative culture. ERP implementation is just part of the complex journey. Organizations often underestimate just how much cultural heavy lifting is required to make sure the business benefits are realized post-implementation.

      The good news is that an ERP refresh presents a perfect opportunity to enact real cultural transformation as well. To renew and sustain the value and achieve the benefits of your ERP, we adhere to 9 tenants of ERP cultural transformation:

      1. Develop a shared vision of the desired outcomes across all units.
      2. Hinge all decisions, roadmaps, and plans on achieving the business outcomes and realizing the business strategy.
      3. Make breaking down functional silos a primary goal for the program.
      4. Make development and sustainability of the culture part of the ERP strategy from the beginning.
      5. Take a top-down, holistic approach to designing and improving business processes through the system.
      6. Appoint a business lead as the executive sponsor and treat the implementation as a long-term business transformation initiative.
      7. Create a cross functional program sponsorship structure with the task of driving organizational change.
      8. Implement a robust, structured change management process that focuses on individual change at all levels.
      9. Facilitate candid, open discussions and clarity regarding cross organizational dependencies.

      Download a PDF of 9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation

       

      At MSS, we work with our customers to develop a transformation plan for their ERP implementation. The plan will include a shared vision, a leadership roadmap and a sponsorship coalition, a cultural implementation plan, a cross functional change strategy, and a robust sustainability plan. All of these tenets ensure a result that is more than the sum of its parts delivering high value for your transformation.

       

      The post 9 Tenets for Achieving Change through ERP Implementation first appeared on MSSBTI.

      The Evolution of Digital Transformation and the CIO

      Evolution is an often misunderstood concept.  Our elementary vision of it is of fish growing legs, crawling out of the muck as alligators turning into rodents then monkeys then apes and finally something resembling people.  Of course, this is not how it works. In fact, evolution is quite complex. On one hand, it requires billions of mutations spread over millions of organisms. Many failures die out while others stick and eventually the whole system reaches a tipping point leading to a great evolutionary leap. On the other hand, drastic environmental changes can lead to significant mutations within a few generations. Both types of evolution are relevant when looking at digital transformational and the role of the CIO.

      Technological evolution follows similar patterns as biological.  Much of it happens as a result of millions of small innovative changes that take place before the next technological era occurs.  Take for example, the transition between the agrarian age to the industrial age.  Many innovations, discoveries and failures were made over hundreds of years until they culminated into the technologies that enabled mass production. This similar process has been taking place over several decades culminating in the digital age.

      Just some examples of current technological “mutations” include:

      • Blockchain – Distributed electronic transactions,
      • Drones – Unmanned autonomous vehicles,
      • Internet of Things (IoT) – Any device connected and exchanging information over the Internet,
      • Robots – Virtual agents assisting humans,
      • 3D Printing – Manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects,
      • Virtual Reality – Simulated images that viewers can realistically interact,
      • Augmented Reality – Virtual reality overlaid on the physical world,
      • Artificial Intelligence – Automating human intelligence

      Any of the above can be considered a major advancement in applied technology, but we happen to exist in a time when they are all maturing into useful applications simultaneously and being used to transform entire industries. It is from this aggregated development and maturity that we will likely see the next great leap as these new technologies come together to create the next tipping point.

      One specific example of how this works is Jaguar’s augmented reality widescreens.  You may have heard of heads up displays (HUD) for fighter jets. Essentially, it is a transparent display that presents data in a view that allows the pilot to see the information and the viewpoints beyond.  Well, Jaguar is also applying this technology to their automobiles.  The HUD highlights obstacles in red, yellow, or green to indicate their distance.  It allows the driver to see through the sides of the car so they appear to be fully transparent.  It can even project a “ghost car” that the driver can simply follow instead of listening or looking down to a navigation device.  Meanwhile, Tesla, Google, and Uber are taking it to the next level by producing cars that can autopilot or don’t even need a driver in the car.  These changes are literally transforming the automotive industry.

      As the bridges between accessibility, artificial intelligence, and automation closes, organizations are able to move faster and faster and bring us closer to the evolutionary tipping point.  One day, in the not too distant future, we will be able to clearly identify the “mutations” that enabled the leap to occur like the ape tossing the bone in 2001 a Space Odyssey (that, when tossed, turned into a satellite), but in the midst of the process, the specific contributions are difficult to foresee. We just know it is coming.

       

       

      For the CIO this presents a challenge. The CIO has to evolve as well, but in the way that responds rapidly to the new environment. There are so many possibilities and opportunities, yet the outcome is uncertain. So, how do you know what strategies to pursue and when to pursue them? How do you know what capabilities to build when you are not certain of the requirements?

      While the final evolution of the CIO’s role is uncertain, there are several steps that one can take to be to be prepared for the environment:

      The Business Strategist – The CIO has a new role in leading business initiatives rather than just the technology applications.  The focus of the CIO is changing from that of controlling IT spend to meeting and managing business outcomes.  You need to review your strategic planning from a multi-horizon point of view, establish a clear vision based on business objectives, and develop an agile execution approach.  Moving faster only helps if you are moving in the right direction.  Otherwise, you might find yourself in Death Valley when you were trying to get to Yellowstone.

      The Change Leader – CIO’s are often responding to or causing change. But you also need to be a change leader which means becoming a visible and active advocate communicating the purpose of change and the expected results to the employees and stakeholders. A CIO cannot afford to be an introvert. You need to engaged and interact face to face with all constituents.  This will enable you to accelerate change when necessary and keep the organization engaged.

      The Framework Architect – Volatility and uncertainty mean that the CIO also needs to develop an ecosystem and structure that is flexible and adaptable to variation.  This goes against the grain of traditional, hierarchical command and control approaches into more organic structures where team members are embedded into the organization they serve, collecting intelligence and testing innovations. This way when one or more components changes the ecosystem is able to adapt. Just like a smart phone can incorporate different apps within a single framework.

      The Bimodal Manager – A CIO needs to have an innate ability to manage both stability and innovation at the same time.  This might be accomplished with separate teams each focused on either stability or innovation, or separate projects with a different focus but using the same resources.  The key is both stability and innovation need to co-exist.

      The Keeper of Data – After all of the strategy discussions, where the rubber meets the road is with your data.  No matter where your ever-changing path leads you, your data needs to be there with you.  Now, where it is stored, how it is stored, and how it is retrieved may all change, but in the end you will always need quality data (customers, products, clients, staff, etc.).   Your data needs to be in an agile environment and available so the business can respond to an ever-changing market.  Yes, if you don’t already have a BI tool you could go out and get one, but you need to be thinking large scale.  In order to evolve you need to think not just outside of the box, but outside of all existing boundaries.

      The Chief Security Officer – Protecting data extends to ensuring that the data you keep it safe from intrusion. This is more and more a challenge as there are more entry points and methods available for those who want to benefit from your data or just want to disrupt the world. You must be on top of these methods but also build systems that adapt and advance faster than those with bad intentions can think.

      As technological evolution happens through the trial and error method until the tipping point is reached, the CIO needs to evolve by being responsive to the environment over a short period.  Fast, flexible, and fluid are all traits that are import, as is being the sponsor of change. In the end, when we look back we will see that it was the CIO with the combination of great leadership skills and promoting innovative change that really led us all into the next digital age.

       

      The post The Evolution of Digital Transformation and the CIO first appeared on MSSBTI.

      Top 5 Cloud Trends

      5 Cloud Trends

      Keeping Your Head (…and Your Business) Above the Clouds

      Cloud technologies has been a buzz word for more than a decade ever since Amazon started selling their in-house, web-based service platform that was used to support their own internet sales site. They were able to package the technology, market it and turned it into a profitable solution that allowed companies to take advantage of large scale technologies without the upfront costs to build their own datacenters. Since then, cloud technologies have evolved quickly as a mainstay in our ever-evolving technological world.

      New, billion-dollar companies such as AirBnB and Uber have capitalized from this trend by utilizing cloud-based infrastructure to increase reliability while decreasing costs. In April of 2018, GoDaddy announced it was moving a vast majority of their current infrastructure to AWS.¹

      As companies are evolving to stay ahead in the new technology world, here are five trends that are happening with cloud computing.

      1. Growth in Cloud Services and Solutions – We are in the digital age where cloud services are now common place and businesses look to a cloud solution first before an on premises solution. 56% percent of CIOs in Gartner’s CIO survey indicate they are adopting cloud as either an option or as part of a “cloud first” approach, while 71% look to SaaS either first or as an option.

      Gartner predicts that by 2020, businesses without cloud capabilities will be as uncommon as businesses without Internet are today.

      Most businesses use some sort of cloud offering or online application such as Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce. Few businesses are completely 100% cloud based nor are there businesses that are completely 100% cloud free.

      2. Serverless Computing – A relatively new cloud service that has come into the marketplace is serverless computing which allows developers to deploy their applications without the need to provision servers or backend infrastructure to support and run their applications. Developers can release their code and run it as a service without the need to build backend infrastructure such as servers, network, databases and backend applications to support the application. This creates simplicity and agility in the marketplace to turn out applications much more quickly than run at greater speed. This also allows companies to go global by replicating their applications to run around the world as if the local datacenter is right next door.

      3. Multi-cloud – The rise of pure play cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday show that most businesses already utilize a multi-cloud cloud environment. Multicloud is the use of multiple public cloud computing and storage services in a single heterogeneous architecture not to be mistaken for hybrid cloud which is a mixture of public and private resources. Some cloud companies are changing their application architecture to force companies into a multi-cloud environment even if they are not willing to give up the hold on local resources.

      Microsoft will begin to remove Skype for Business and OneDrive for non-365 users by 2020 to force them into using Office 365

      4. Disaster Recovery – As businesses move toward a virtualized and constantly evolving IT ecosystem old DR approaches become much more expensive and complex to maintain. Software based DR at the hypervisor level allows a company to prioritize applications and provides automated testing to ensure and validate a company’s DR strategy. I can remember a year after the 9-11 disaster, the company I worked for at the time invested in a 3rd party disaster recovery site and solution. A few times a year would be spent on building out our servers and clients from backup tapes to perform drills to ensure our DR solution was adequate. This time-consuming ordeal would take 48 hours to build and test but would only ensure our most business-critical applications would be recovered. Now with the use of cloud technologies recovery can be completed and tested within minutes.

      5. Security – Last but certainly not least is security. The glaring question from anyone thinking of moving to the cloud “Is my information in the cloud secure?”. Contrary to the myth that you will lose security when you move to the public cloud because you cannot physically touch the device, in most cases you are increasing security by moving data to the cloud by utilizing the provider’s hardened datacenters with many more security resources. This all depends on your current state of security. The cloud provider is responsible for the security of the cloud (datacenters, access, security tools, etc.) while the consumer is responsible for the security in the cloud (data access policy, authentication, authorization, etc.). Security must be built into every step of product development or migration strategy rather than at the end.

      Businesses demand more as technology increases and legacy systems become less sustainable. The goal for business is to reduce risk by ensuring that crucial applications are always available. The cloud has become a tool to satisfy this business demand while reducing risk. What needs to change is the IT mindset of being a support model into being an enabler. That means rethinking IT infrastructure and services that support the business which is not always an easy task. It takes resources that understand what and how to move business applications and infrastructure to the cloud to ensure businesses do not become extinct.

      Cloud evolution is happening in the technology world, if you aren’t willing to adapt, you’ll die.


      ¹ https://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2018/mar/29/godaddy-goes-all-aws-citing-containers-expertise-key/
      ² https://www.pcworld.com/article/3191298/windows/microsoft-will-cut-services-to-standalone-office-users-so-theyll-subscribe-to-office-365.html

      The post Top 5 Cloud Trends first appeared on MSSBTI.