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BLOG: Leading a transformation

Tracey J. Rothenberger | March 14, 2012
The most important step in a successful business process transformation is arguably the motivation and empowerment of diverse stakeholders at all levels of the organisation.

But it's not. Because strategic information management is the raison d'etre of the CIO, and no one knows more about it, the CIO can play a huge role in helping executives go with the programme. He or she must carefully explain the initiative's benefits and link them to quantifiable business objectives.

The C-suite must do more than "buy into" a transformation initiative. It is critical for CXOs to carry the baton and communicate down the ladder why transforming business critical information management processes will advance strategic goals within their purview and across the business.

For example, a stated strategic goal might be sharpening the customer-centric focus. In that case, CXOs must clarify exactly how a proposed change in business processes will deliver better customer service or get existing customers to increase their business.

While the C-level sets the strategic direction and tone for process transformation, there are two critical resources that must be included at the line-of-business level. These are the acknowledged domain experts - e.g., the customer service team leader, and the responsible functional managers, e.g., the VP of customer care.

The domain experts enlisted to transform business-critical document processes should be the best and the brightest in their functional area. They should be the acknowledged "go to" people with frontline experience in how the business process being transformed actually works. They'll know best how the new process should work.

If the domain expert fleshes out the tactical project plan, it's the role of the functional manager to keep the business process transformation on schedule. He or she must keep priorities clear and people accountable. When needed, the domain expert should clarify for the functional manager, both up front and during implementation, what needs to happen for the transformation to be successful. This includes flagging any potential obstacles.

By working closely together, domain experts and line-of-business managers can successfully manage tactical decisions during implementation and head off conflicts with other functional groups having different resource and process requirements.

There's a side benefit in involving domain experts so deeply. It creates a pride of ownership over a positive contribution with which they and their teams must live and work going forward. This is a major incentive for follow-through. Choosing leaders who are respected by colleagues also supports adoption and sustained interest in continuous improvement.

Once you've involved and engaged these stakeholders, and built this coalition, the hardest part just might be complete. The most important step in a successful transformation is arguably the motivation and empowerment of diverse stakeholders at all levels of the organisation. It is this constructive engagement that will steadily optimise business critical document processes.

All that's left is the technology. And that part's all you.

 

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