Organizations are looking at creating flexible IT backbones to respond faster to constantly shifting market requirements in the face of global competition. Large, transformational programs that empower enterprise productivity and help them manage customer and enterprise needs at speed are now becoming critical in the IT arsenal. However, when effecting change and implementing these large programs, establishing a competent core team has become a critical contributor to program success.
The importance of core teams and multi-level governance
Large program implementations like those of SAP, mandate a core team and multi-level governance. This is primarily because of the multiple touchpoints that these programs impact. These programs are widely adopted due to the business impact they deliver. Multi-level governance thus becomes an essential component in project success.
There are enough examples that showcase how the lack of multi-level governance and the absence of a robust core team can impact large programs.
It pays to remember that digital transformation programs are not about technology alone. They are not about automating everything that can be automated. They are about leveraging technology to improve processes and redefine the business.
Who forms the core team?
The core team in such large programs consists of members who act as the voice, eyes, and ears for the project. They add the heft and credibility the program requires to promote successful adoption by ensuring the right representation.
The core team varies according to the needs of the project and the stakeholders involved. However, the core team has to comprise members who represent all the key stakeholder groups. They must have complete and in-depth knowledge of the areas they represent, have strong interpersonal, soft, and technical skills, and have an understanding of the business area processes and roles in their areas.
The core team members must understand the impact of the transformation, the benefits, and losses, and appreciate how the business processes and roles fit into the end-to-end processes and how they need to interact with other areas. The core team members are quick to recognize where support is required and deliver assistance for the same. These people are visibly willing to support change and help others accommodate the change. They are the natural mentors who with patience provide support and guidance during executing and go-live. They also help build leadership commitment towards the project by helping them see the connection between leadership contribution and value realization.
A highly-developed core team that attracts and nurtures leadership support can help others navigate change by building the connection between the business benefits (Value Realization work) and the program.
Establishing a core team naturally leads towards the development of a multi-level governance model that aids and eases project implementation. This becomes especially important for larger organizations that have regional as well as global teams and processes. Having regional and local process owners as a part of the core team eases implementation hiccups and ensures that there are no internal roadblocks that impede program progress.
Establishing a core team and multi-level governance helps organizations with the following:
Understanding how the technology implementation will impact the process and identifying the dependencies and the expected outcomes is essential for driving project success.
The members of the core team are often subject matter experts who identify requirement gaps and ensure that either the business process matches what the software does or the software is customized to meet the expected outcomes or both.
The core team essentially maps the requirements with detail and clarity to ensure that no requirement chasm impacts the program outcomes negatively.
The core team and multi-level governance protocols ensure that all changes are executed as designed. They further help the users adopt and adapt to the new technology and processes and help them navigate any learning challenges.
These people drive the behavior shift needed to enhance process adoption by helping all understand the benefits of the program. By helping plan, design, develop and implement all these change management initiatives, including training, the core team members set up the organization for transformational success.
Developing the right processes
Large technical installations like that of SAP impact existing business processes, workflows, and operations. These implementations need a core team and a multi-level governance framework to create new policies to support the implementation. These implementations also necessitate the introduction of new positions. They also often demand changes in the organizational structure.
Executing these aspects with precision impacts the project outcomes. It ensures that processes are adequately re-engineered by questioning, disrupting, adapting, changing, and injecting digital tech into every business process in scope.
The core team and multi-level governance further become responsible for the act of questioning and disrupting attachments to previous business processes with clarity and experience. They ensure that the teams arrive at the transformed processes with the right mindsets and attitudes and within the set timelines. They are the ones who resolve conflicts and roadblocks, take the tough decisions that augment the outcomes, and make sure to drive process adoption and advocacy.
While digital transformation is about technology, organizations must not forget the ‘human; angle to it. The core team and multi-level governance make sure that while organizations gear up to leverage the benefits of the tech innovation, the human angle, their challenges, and pain points are addressed and that all efforts are cohesively directed towards transformational success.