Monday, March 27, 2017

Business is running faster than the rest of the enterprise in the Digitalization journey

We like what we have seen so far and the initial proof of concept reinforces that this solution will work well for us. The use cases are quite clear and we can work on prioritizing the four models that we have discussed and finalized. The pipeline of additional opportunities and use cases can be confirmed in the coming days; the teams should work to define these in the near term. You can work with IT and Procurement to complete the infrastructure requirements and the terms of reference. How quickly can it be deployed ?

The vendor loved the diktat like a dream come true; they had invested significant time and effort on their first big potential customer, the scale up opportunity validated their product vision. Business team pushing the deployment added to the excitement with the senior team members throwing their weight behind closure on both sides. The solution provided a significant boost to the digital thrust that the enterprise had embarked upon based on the vision of the Board; it also challenged existing legacy and conventional solutions.

Off went the mini delegation to the IT team designated by the CIO for the prestigious project; they completed their planning for the infrastructure, data integration, impact to other processes and systems, deployment and scale up. Dependence on other groups and vendors were acknowledged and their timelines incorporated into the project plan. The extended timeline did not please any of the stakeholders but was accepted as the most realistic plan which could be executed without any further delay or disruption.

Sequentially the process moved to Procurement, the last stage gate before the project starts rolling. True to reputation and their KPIs, they started with the contract, inclusions and exclusions, licensing models, and outcomes that the solution would deliver. Each tenet was discussed, debated, demands going from unreasonable to giving up some ground, as time rolled by, much to the chagrin of business who wanted the new technology to leapfrog competition with a differentiated offering that would take time to catch up.

The final step to get off the ground – financial negotiation – introduced a new element into the mix, the Finance team because the values were quite large and the vendor as yet small unknown entity. They started from the beginning to discuss what, why, when, who and asked for alternatives against which the solution was benchmarked. Other software that the company had bought were not as expensive, so why is this one ? How much is the discount over list price ? Are we really the first customer in this segment ?

It took some effort to get them moving towards closure; the business head and the CIO, both pushed hard to retain the early adopter advantage in their industry; there were others who were talking and that is where they risked leadership position. With the criticality that time represented, the Board nudged the team to expedite the decision; chastised suitably, the teams closed the deal grudgingly at a value that they believed was higher than what they would have agreed to if they had the time at their disposal to negotiate.

With time lost in the process, suddenly everyone wanted the solution implemented yesterday; the CIO hustled the team to take up the work on priority, the vendor allotted their best resources to the project, and business provided program management and domain expertise. Ancillary vendors were pressurized to deliver in unreasonable time, most obliged so as to not attract the ire of one of their premier customers; the solution was ready and began to churn out changed business outcomes that pushed competition to the edge.

Support from the Board and leadership team ensured that the rigor to monitor did not falter and the promise of deliverables was kept. The Board acknowledged the initiative and associated results, the support provided by the IT team as well as the leadership demonstrated by the Business Head. It was a case of good governance winning with results that mattered. Doubters if any did not raise their concerns or pollute the environment that was committed to putting their best effort to succeed, truly a team effort.

Today, business has taken over the reins of technology led transformation not wanting to leave their future in the hands of technologists. They are taking control and shaping their destiny in the ever changing and disruptive world of digital innovation. Every new technology threatens to challenge conventional business models and legacy systems which constrain agile movement to counter new startups who have nothing to lose. Acquisitions make up for the lost opportunities at a significantly higher cost.

Stay hungry !

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