Market Trends & Outlook

Half Of Senior Leaders Rate Their Business Transformations A Waste Of Time (Forbes)

Digitization is supposed to be all about the shiny and the new, about employees working with purpose and insight and, above all, about organizations turning themselves into entities focused on the needs and desires of their customers rather being paralyzed by their systems and procedures. And yet it appears that is largely not the case. In other words, it is business as usual.

Of course, anybody who has had reason to try to contact a utility supplier, say, or an insurance company knows this. Rather than speaking to somebody whose sole focus, it appears, is to solve your issue the chances are they find themselves dealing with a person who is little more than a cog in the wheel and claims — probably quite rightly — that they are powerless to do anything. But anecdotal evidence is one thing. What about hard facts? Well, there are a few in a study released last week by Celonis. Admittedly, as a company in the business of selling software designed to aid businesses embarking on transformations, Celonis has an axe to grind. But the findings are stark enough to dismiss any notions of special pleading.

For example, the survey of more than 1,000 C-suite executives and a similar number of business analysts found that nearly half of senior leaders believed their business transformations had been a waste of time. Given that the same research indicates that a quarter of businesses have spent more than $500,000 on transformation strategies in the past 12 months, that is a lot of cost with little or no return.

One of the chief culprits seems to be that old standby of strategies being driven from the top down with little input from those tasked with doing the implementing. In the survey of 1,009 business analysts and 1,002 C-level executives in companies with more than 500 employees in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands conducted by Opinion Matters in January 2019, 39% of business analysts said they were not regularly consulted to inform their organizations’ transformation strategies while 58% of business leaders admitted that frontline workers were only involved in transformation initiatives because middle management or consultants told them which changes to make.

But, according to Alexander Rinke, co-founder and co-CEO of Celonis, the real issue is that most organizations are rushing to adopt the manifestations of digitisation — for example, appointing chief digital officers and announcing programs to implement artificial intelligence — before getting to grips with what needs to change and therefore where their focus needs to lie. “They don’t understand what is causing friction in the organization,” he said in an interview.

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28 March 2018

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