Rob Eguchi is a Solution Architect with technology modernization consultancy, Prime TSR. He develops business solutions
and executes technical strategies for large enterprises spanning
our clients their reports for years and now the new
system will do this automatically!”
Regardless of an individual’s specific circumstance,
people tend to be less than enthusiastic if they feel au-
tomation is putting their job at risk, their skillset is out-
dated or they simply believe they will no longer have a
place in the post-transformational environment.
Employees and other stakeholders must understand
that the company must continue to evolve to stay great.
Building a culture of adaptability and keeping people
motivated along the way is an important part of that
evolution. Show them what life looks like beyond
transformation. How will they be better off? Will there
be opportunities to take on new roles or responsibilities? Even if a modernization effort will result in a
reorganization, changes in hierarchy or changes in
responsibilities, when people feel they are part of the
process, they are more inclined to embrace the changes. The key is in the “we.”
ADAPT, UPDATE AND EVOLVE
In the ‘90s, Blockbuster revolutionized and essentially “owned” the video rental market. When competition from Netflix, Redbox and digital video on demand threatened their business model, they needed to
evolve their technology platform in order to stay alive.
Of course, we all know how that turned out.
Ironically, in its early years, Blockbuster Entertainment’s success was largely a result of its foresight and assertiveness in adapting and innovating
the business based on the changing landscape. The
company was an early adopter of using data analytics
to determine when and where to open new stores and
custom-tailor inventory based on local demographics. They also paved the way for expansion into new
areas such as video game rental.
Regardless of where an organization is in its business evolution, it will always be necessary to continue to modernize its systems, processes and infrastructure in order to stay competitive. This may entail
large-scale technology overhauls such as adopting
and executing a cloud strategy or undertaking a large
data warehouse initiative. But continuous modernization can also be as simple as establishing processes,
practices and governance to manage technical assets
before they become liabilities. By evaluating technical inventory on an ongoing basis, a business enterprise can evolve rapidly, minimize technical debt and
continue to innovate.
I know I said that in the world of tech transformation “done” is a relative term. And while a company
that plans to stay in the game is never truly done, that
does not mean that milestones will not be reached and
positive outcomes will not be achieved.
It’s important to recognize that setting arbitrary
timelines for project completion is almost always a
recipe for disaster. I witnessed this first hand during
a multi-year project that entailed retiring a company’s
mainframe, building modern, web-based applications
and automating internal processes. While the scope
and available resources changed significantly during
the course of the project, the end date remained immutable. The quality and features, not to mention the
project team, suffered greatly as a result. And while
I don’t condone “open-ended” timeframes, it is important to set realistic timelines and build in room for
adjustments or extensions based on the multitude of
challenges that can (and will) arise.
The path to “done” in a tech modernization can also
be reached more quickly and efficiently with ongoing
analysis of the challenge. When expectations change;
when unknowns become knowns; when you’ve overreached on the initial evaluation, make the necessary
adjustments and push forward with the mission.
In the end, the best way to ensure a path to done
is to recognize that tech modernization is a continuous process. In a large transformation, an organization must keep its eye on the mission, celebrate
the milestones, get people on board, and be ready to
continue to evolve from there. In other words, don’t
let the dust pile up.