Business Transformation: The Key for Sustainable Growth


By

Ms Asha E Thomas
Assistant Professor
SCMS Cochin
Prathap Nagar, Muttom, Aluva-683106
 


Abstract

Business that wants to grow in today's fast-moving global environments has to change more quickly than ever before. Adapting to new and ever changing environments efficiently is the most significant factor contributing to sustainable growth. Business Transformation can be defined as change management strategy which has the aim to align People, Process and Technology initiatives of a company more closely with its business strategy and vision. Without careful planning and management, change can become a nightmare to any business. The present study is conducted to find answers to these questions like, How does business transformation happen? What brings about transformational results? What is the future trend of business transformations? The researcher also tries to formulate suitable business transformational strategies by reviewing the existing market conditions and the past experiences across the world.

Key Words: Business Transformation, Sustainable Growth, Business Model, Global market, Strategies for growth and survival
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BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION: THE KEY FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

"For every great problem, there is a simple solution - and it is wrong" Oscar Wilde

Introduction

Sustainability is the rapidly growing, critical, complex and contested topic. It responds to growing perceptions that the way we are producing and consuming is unsustainable i.e. things cannot go on as they are. The need for sustainable growth through customer satisfaction is the force behind various business performance improvement approaches.

Across the globe, businesses are transforming and changing the way they work with the need to exceed investor expectations. They are trying their level best to excel in their transformational journey, offering incremental as well as quantum improvements to clients. Business Transformation can be defined as change management strategy which has the aim to align People, Process and Technology initiatives of a company more closely with its business strategy and vision. It promotes new innovate business strategies.
Businesses that want to grow, diversify or even simply survive in today's fast- moving business environment have to change more quickly than ever before. 

The formula for success has always been simple, to provide a product or service that meets the customer needs and can be sold at a profit. But the difficulty in this process is that, products and services must constantly respond to changing needs of customers and the changing organizational and environmental conditions. Success in the long run is a challenging goal. Yet more challenging is to have a sustainable growth.

Businesses that have survived and succeeded over the long run appear to redefine themselves and their relationships to their suppliers and customers over and over again. Today's business leaders have a challenge of recognizing the need for change and successfully managing business transformations. In a recent survey of enterprise level companies, conducted  by Capgemini Consulting in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit, 86% of European Senior Executives consider  Business Transformation an Integral Part of Management. But the interesting fact is that very few major corporations successfully 'reinvent' themselves. Many do not understand the need for transformation. Others do not understand how to go for transformation and many others are confused in the process of adopting appropriate strategies for transformation.

The present study is conducted to find answers to these questions like, How does business transformation happen? What brings about transformational results? What is the future trend of business transformations? The researcher also tries to formulate suitable business transformational strategies by reviewing the existing market conditions and the past experiences across the world.

Forces behind business transformation

Transformation has become the mantra for a business to survive in current environment. Factors such as competition in the market, deregulation, technological advancement and, perhaps most importantly globalization are the strong forces behind transformation. Change, is no longer a rare occurrence it has become the normal state of affairs. The main developments in the market that encourages transformation are:

* Change in Market Profile like a recession or  boom in the market, emergence of different sectors, change in perception and attitudes of the population, level of flow of foreign funds e.t.c

* Changes in Customer profile mainly due to higher expectations and increase in  the number of choices available in  the market

* Poor Performance of the company like falling turnover, slimmer margins, losing customers and unsatisfied stake holders

* For entering in to new alliances which includes establishing partnerships with other business, to explore the opportunities offered by global markets and in many cases to meet competition effectively

* Revitalization for executing a turnaround of a declining business

Companies who have taken decision for a change should have definitely paused questions like:

1. Are we reinvesting in the various opportunities the market evolves?

2. Is our current performance superior to our major competitors and if so can we expect to maintain it in future also?

3. Is our competitive advantage strong enough to influence more customers and more business from existing customers?

Business Process Outsourcing for Business Transformation – A case study

Business process outsourcing is the process which involves evolution of creating value through outsourcing. The basic advantages which a company can attain by going for business process outsourcing involves:

* Mitigation of Risk:
Companies invests in infrastructure to meet peak capacity demand. The problem was that some of this capacity will be idle for majority of the time. With the right outsource partner, businesses can eliminate this unnecessary capital investment by still protecting against the risks of demand spikes. They can get the required capacity on demand from an outsourcer. Outsource partners can also help with providing security and access to information which can even help businesses successfully address regulatory mandates in any industry.

* Faster Implementation: Business process can be significantly enhanced by outsourcing .It enable in overall business acceleration by getting products and services to market much faster. Outsourcing offers an opportunity to speed every process in the system i.e from design to -market. For example it helps in releasing capital, people, and technology for core business functions by outsourcing non-core activities.

* Enhancing in uniform customer service: Many global businesses want their customers and partners to have the same quality of service no matter where they are. Outsource partners have the global footprint to allow their clients to provide consistent services around the world

Outsourcing has come a long way from the days of providing technical support within the preview of Information Technology. From improving business efficiency to process enhancements and then to business transformation, outsourcing today offers speed and quality advances world wide

How success can be ensured in transformation?

Reshaping the business to adapt to the changing environment is the most important part of management. But the big question here is - Why many change often fail? Management guru John Kotter suggests eight reasons for change failure:

* Allowing too much complacency
* Failing to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition
* Underestimating the power of vision
* Under communication
* Allowing obstacles to remain even after change
* Not going for quick wins
* Declaring victory too soon
* Failure to anchor change culturally
* Failure to anticipate or respond to new competition
* Failure to understand business environment
* Over-dependence on key resources

Convincing people the need for change is much harder and if change does fail it will generate the perception that the business is incapable of changing or that the negative situation that the business is facing cannot be solved. So what can be done to ensure success in business transformation?

Change has to be actively managed if it has to bring success. History proves that most companies who were successful looked for opportunities for transformation rather than waiting for change to be forced upon them. The following factors can be considered as essential for ensuring a success in business transformation:

1. Creating an environment within the organization that is ready for a change. In many cases companies landed up in a total loss due to strong resistance from with in the company itself. Motivating and preparing the workforce for  a change should be the first step towards a transformation

2.  Efficient Leadership : The core team in the company leading the whole process should be strong enough to tackle all obstacles and proceed with maximum support

3. Vision : A vision that is easy to communicate to the stake holders and that can bring value to the company as well as the stake holders

4. Flawless Communication: Transformation effort will fail if members do not understand, appreciate, commit and try to make the effort happen. The guiding principle is simple, to make  use of every existing communication channel and opportunity

5. Empowering other team members to act on the vision for bringing transformation. This will not only help in removing the obstacles but also in getting the support of the team members for achieving the desired result much faster.

6. Planning for short term wins primarily for motivating the team, that their efforts have started showing results.

7. Standardize the new method for doing business as they
are subject to degradations as soon as the pressure for change is removed

Business transformation is not a one-off exercise, it is essential to scrutinize continuously the external business environment and assess the need for business transformation on an ongoing basis .It has to be ensured that everyone in the organization understands the objectives of business transformation and what it means for them.

Business Transformation-Past and Present

The new ideas can never drive out the old. Attention to profit will always remain critical to every corporation. However it has been noticed that currently there has been a shift in the basic characteristics of business going for a transformation. The first and foremost among them is, now majority of the transformations are vision driven rather than goal driven which is more focused on long run objective. The speed has become the mantra for survival and growth. Value –focused approach only can help corporations to penetrate in to the minds of the customers and price focused move has lost its charm.

In the past every single move of the company had a shareholder focus which is now replaced with the concept of protecting the interest of stake holders. Today quality of product can never be product quality alone, what is needed is TQM (Total Quality Management).Instead of a rigid system, a flexible and an adaptive system is encouraged by the market to absorb the various changes happening from time to time.

Although most of the companies adopted a mixture of the old and the new styles, the companies who could make a faster positive result  were those who adapted themselves to the new realities ie to the changing needs of employees, customers and communities. They understood the importance of speed and innovation in the global market.

Making change a permanent reality

Making change a reality is only half way through, making it permanent is the most difficult task. Corporations always looks at the various ways with which the change achieved can be permanently observed in their future practices also. It has been observed that after getting out of the change pressure, the tendency to go back to old practices is very high. The previous studies have observed that the tendency for going back to old practices is more with those companies who are not able to create the sense of urgency among the employees for the proposed transformation. Following are some of the measures that can be adopted by companies for ensuring the continuity in transformation already achieved:

* Planning for Quick wins-It helps in demonstrating that change works and thereby motivating the team

* Rewarding the team-Recognizing and  rewarding the team who have helped in implementing the transformation plan

* Celebrating the success-It offers a good way of recognition without any material rewards, at the same time it also helps in communicating the achievements.

* Establishing the indicators of Success-Once the transformation is complete, key objectives are to be examined and the success has to be confirmed by comparing with the established indicators.

Conclusion

As s companies continue to wrestle with far-reaching changes in technology, competition from global markets, the need to undertake business transformation is likely to remain high on the corporate priority list. Business Models that can absorb the opportunities offered by volatile market very quickly is the key
for sustainable growth.

References

* Gurley, J. W.(2001), "Why Dell's War Isn't Dumb", Fortune: 134-136, 2001
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* Ketchen, D. J., J. B. Thomas and C. C. Snow.(1993) "Organizational Configurations and Performance: A Comparison of Theoretical Approaches," Academy of Management Journal Vol 36, 1278-1313.
* Linder, J. and S. Cantrell.(2000), "Changing Business Models: Surveying the Landscape" ,Accenture Institute for Strategic Change, 2000
* Magretta, J. (2002), "Why Business Models Matter", Harvard Business Review, Vol. 80: 86-92, 2002
* Mahadevan, B.(2000) "Business Models for Internet-Based E-Commerce: An Anatomy", California Management Review, Vol. 42: 55-69, 2000
* Osterwalder, A., Y. Pigneur and C. L. Tucci. (2005) "Clarifying Business Models: Origins, Present, and Future of the Concept", Communications of the Association for Information Systems 15, 2-40.
* Pfeffer,J.and G.R.Salancik(1978) "The External Control of Organization", New York:Harper & Row.
* Thompson, J, D.(1967) "Organization in Action", New York: McGraw-Hill.
 


Ms Asha E Thomas
Assistant Professor
SCMS Cochin
Prathap Nagar, Muttom, Aluva-683106
 

Source: E-mail July 27, 2010

          

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