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Initiating a New Business Transformation (Part 2)

This is the second in a two-part series focusing on building your business case and core team, and starting to deliver your desired outcomes!

Once you’ve set the foundations for launching a business transformation, the next step is following through and putting these plans into action.

To achieve your transformational goals, you first need to be clear on your end objectives, plan the structure of the work that will be involved, and put in place a stellar team to ensure that tasks get completed to a high standard, on time, and to budget!

Building a Business Case

Getting your business case right is – and I cannot emphasise this enough – critical to the overall success of your business transformation.

The best method to begin is by creating a high-level business case with the key details from your High Spot Review, followed by a Detailed Business Case (DBC) including a fully documented Financial Business Case. You’ll then move through the stages of managing your business case, before eventually closing it down, and reviewing the outcomes and what lessons can be learned.

My main advice on how to write a business case for transformation is as follows:

  • Start as soon as possible – it’s never too early! This is particularly important when it comes to looking at financial and qualitative improvements, and how these will help you achieve a good ROI.
  • Have a member of your financial team on board from the outset.
  • Establish who is responsible for realising the financial benefits of the transformation programme.
  • Be prepared to strictly monitor and manage the business case throughout the transformation.

Whether you’re planning digital transformation, operational transformation, or even an overhaul of a single department within your organisation, the business case needs to be right.

Building your Team

You’ll usually need to create two main teams – the people who will actually undertake the transformational work and those on a senior level who will sponsor the work, and who will make the challenging decisions when they arise!.

While you might start with an initial core team comprising of a few key people, this will inevitably grow in size as your transformation programme gains traction. It’s sensible to start thinking about who will make up your core team as early as possible.

However, if you’re planning radical transformation and a bigger project, then it may be useful to think about building three teams from the outset. These would include:

  • The Core Delivery Team of experienced people including a suitably motivational leader and people who will assess your business position as it stands and identify key issues.
  • The Executive Team to ‘steer’ the project, including the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) to approve the change and provide the necessary resources, and operational directors.
  • The Team of Teams comprising the leaders of the various work streams or projects within your transformational programme.

There’s a lot more to this, as my article on building the right team explains in greater detail.

How to start delivering

Once you’ve taken your DBC to senior management and it has been approved, the one thing that will help you ‘deliver’ is effective management.

You will need to hold regular reviews of the business case. The frequency of these may vary according to your programme, but even if your project is a short one, they are an important step to make sure things are on track.

It’s also important to prepare regular reports on the ongoing costs and benefits, according to the financial cycle of your business. Even if it seems in the early stages that there aren’t really many benefits to report, it’s vital to have this reporting arrangement in place.

You’ll also need to exercise control over both your contingency pot and the scope of the programme. Following a review it may become apparent that a particular work stream needs to make use of some of this contingency, which you will need to justify appropriately.

A similar approach of justification needs to be taken to changes to the scope of the project, which can all too easily spiral out of control – this is both at the level of the overall programme and individual projects within it.

I hope this advice has been helpful in giving an overview of how to launch a business transformation programme. If you’d like to have an informal, no-obligation discussion about your own transformation, please do get in touch.

In case you missed it, please see part one of this series, covering the vital first steps in beginning a transformational programme for your business, here.