The digital transformation process brings with it a lot of uncertainty. How do I know what tasks and changes I need to carry out in my organization to transform it? It’s impossible to know beforehand. How do I know where I will end up in my transformation process once it is finished? It’s impossible to have a clear idea at the beginning.
Article by Jesús Martínez, Director of Global Project Office
I know where I’m coming from, what my problems are, and I believe that this transformation, which is a disruptive process, will help me discover a new way to succeed in my business.
Lantek faces these situations on a daily basis. Managers eager to improve, but with an incomplete and sometimes blurred map of their business. Users and area managers who have detected lots of flaws, but without the 360º view that allows them to fit these into that map.
Moreover, during the course of the transformation project, a lot of new discoveries are made as a result of the possibilities offered by the new systems and processes of our changing company. Sometimes, in the last phases of the process, key elements come to light that were not clearly defined at the beginning since they were seen as unfeasible and which, in the light of new capabilities, become elements that can take the transformation to an even higher level.
On the other side, something which often occurs during these processes is that the person in charge of deciding and supervising the acquisition of the solution required to undertake the transformation wants to have a clear scenario, with very defined milestones that are clearly linked to any outlays, which can sometimes be significant, that these processes entail.
It is essential that we accurately define both the requirements and their degree of uncertainty at each moment of the transformation project, as well as our expectations of the future and their realistic alignment with the resources at our disposal, and it is even more important that we manage their progress during the transformation.
The necessary steps towards transformation
Below are some of the elements that we must define beforehand and that we will adapt on the go as we discover the effects of the transformation on our business:
To begin, we will take a decision on the approach to transformation, whether it be iterative or incremental, depending on the dependency detected among the different areas of the company and the degree of uncertainty about the final destination of the transformation.
It is essential as a first approach to determine the expectations we have regarding the future scenario. Without knowing if they will ultimately be achievable or if they are even reasonable, we must define them with the highest possible level of detail. During the transformation project, we will compare the objectives we see as achievable with these expectations and we will have to adapt them little by little to ensure they are as realistic as possible.
Once the scope of the transformation is outlined, we will describe the current situation, with all the elements involved and their effect on our operations, both positive and negative. On this foundation, we will begin to build the transformation. We will define the minimum requirements of the end goal, making any assumptions that may be necessary as a result of unknown factors in order to make progress with the definition. We must also select the procedures that we will use to verify and validate that the desired transformation has come to fruition.
Having defined the requirements, we must decide if changes will be allowed during the execution of the transformation project or if they should be postponed for subsequent iterations or increments. Reducing the uncertainty as the project progresses is vital for its success and adding new requirements, especially towards the end of the project, can significantly prolong and delay the verification, validation and start-up phases. If changes are to be permitted during the project, its essential that they be properly managed.
Finally, once the planned activities are concluded, we will verify that the results obtained are those that were specified and that the transformation objectives are in line with the scenario that we initially decided upon. This will be the starting point for a new iteration or increment that takes us a little further in our digital transformation.
Controlling the scope of the digital transformation project is a crucial exercise for achieving both success in terms of meeting the set objectives and in terms of satisfying the expectations of all the actors involved in the process. All the parties involved need to understand the importance of this aspect and understand that this kind of adaptability is necessary, even though it may seem very demanding, as the only way to achieve the desired digital transformation of our sheet metal cutting industry.