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VMblog Expert Interviews: Templafy Talks Digital Transformation Strategy and Automation

 

Getting CEOs on board with implementing automated technology isn't always easy - but in the long run, it's worth it.  Consider, 56% of CEOs said that digital improvements have led to revenue growth for their organization.  To learn more, VMblog spoke with Jean-Marc Chanoine, strategic account manager at Templafy

VMblog:  In today's digital-first environment, what do businesses put at risk by delaying the digital transformation process?

Jean-Marc Chanoine:  They risk everything. Companies risk being at a competitive disadvantage and losing ground to the competition. In today's business world we are currently in an arms race of who will have the best available digital resources. The future will be won by companies that embrace new technology and are able to smoothly transition from legacy tools to automation, artificial intelligence, and other advanced tools. It's not enough to just buy new enterprise technology and call it a digital transformation - companies must be ready to change their culture and ways of working to keep up in the digital age.

VMblog:  What are the immediate benefits businesses can see from implementing a digital transformation strategy? 

Chanoine:  The immediate impact of implementing a digital transformation strategy is that companies will have to start thinking about how they want to operate in the future. Implementing a digital transformation strategy forces the company to look internally to see whether the current ways of working make sense moving forward. A good digital transformation strategy looks at how different technology fits together end-to-end and ultimately ties the organization together. Oddly enough the immediate benefit will not be from the technology itself but from a shift in the way that management is thinking about approaching the future.

VMblog:  What advice would you give to companies that are struggling to get their leadership on board with implementing new workplace tools or technology as a whole? 

Chanoine:  There are two primary possibilities in this scenario either the value proposition has not been adequately established or the risk have not been adequately explored. New technology introduces risk in how a company may operate and from my experience leadership in well established companies tend to fear that risk - especially IT. Always show leadership that you have thought about the possible pitfalls of introducing new tech. 

To mitigate risk its key to have concrete evidence that the technology will work and how, understand the competitive landscape, and have examples of it working for other similar situated companies. A good leader should always ask "what happens if this does not work?" and you as the person trying to get leadership on-board should be prepared to answer why that fear is outweighed by all the potential benefits.

When it comes to the properly discussing the value proposition its key to understand the company's business objectives, create a solid financial case, have concrete evidence that the technology will work, and to have a discussion around why it's important moving forward to have this technology. The key to success is to make sure your organizations believes in your analysis.

VMblog:  How can employees position automation to support leadership's business objectives? 

Chanoine:  Employees must be able to point to concrete situation where automation could be helpful. Frontline employees are generally the first to feel the pain of inefficient processes and often leadership is disconnected from the realities of completing key task in an organization. Employees must be able to describe exactly how automation would allow the employee to deliver better results. It's not enough for employees to say that Automating a process would make their lives better but that they will ultimately be able to deliver better results to the company.

VMblog:  What tips can you share for leadership to create a solid business case for digitization?

Chanoine:  Assumptions! We all know that a business case needs to focus on ROI whether that be in increased productivity or reduced cost. I have seen the most beautiful business cases fail because the assumptions of the models have not been properly fleshed out or are ambiguous. The value of automation is often obvious on the surface - but the natural question is "does the benefit outweigh the cost of the financial investment and the often-underappreciated cost of change management across an entity.

Upfront well-thought-out restatement of the assumptions of the financial case will give leadership the confidence that the project was well thought out. The key to making sure the assumptions are properly fleshed out are to get agreement from the various stakeholders before completing the financial case. It's not so much that the assumptions are wrong but it's that one challenge on a key assumption can lead to delays and potentially kill a project.

VMblog:  How can you find concrete evidence or examples to strengthen your case within your organization?

Chanoine:  The most concrete evidence to present to your organization is that competitors are using a tool. There is nothing like direct competition to drive an organization to look at tech. It's human nature to wonder why a competitor has decided to use a specific technology provider. Similarly-sized companies using a tool can also be extremely compelling to a management team. The goal is to provide management with comparable companies using technology as evidence that the technology has been vetted in the past.

In additions, independent studies can be extremely valuable to show the ROI of acquiring certain tech. Forrester's does a great job of analyzing the economic impact of new technology and is a great source for understanding the technology landscape. Lastly, if it's possible to pilot and get direct feedback from employees that may be the gold standard.

VMblog:  When explaining the importance of automated processes to a CEO, why is it important to discuss rather than present? 

Chanoine:  Imagine walking into a doctor's office and without asking any questions that doctor begins putting a cast on your leg when you walked in for a sore throat. Similarly, you can't just start presenting automation to a CEO without truly understanding their business and processes. Consultants, doctors, lawyers in almost all cases start with diagnosing the problem that is going to be solved. Automation is no different. The best way to show a CEO you understand is by listening and providing direct answers to how you can help them. Talking at a CEO is the fastest way to get them to not listen to you. Automation sits at the intersection of Technology and process, thus its key to fully comprehend process in order to recommend the right solution. Listening is key to get a CEO to adopt your solution. 

VMblog:  A key to pitching automated processes is to expect that they will say yes, why is this important?

Chanoine:  This is important because from the very beginning the discussion should focus on "how" automation would solve a real business problem. In order to get to how its key to expect that the company will say yes. The "why" part of the pitch is usually extremely well developed but the how is unique to each customer and use case. Each company has a unique history with technology implementations and unique needs even when pitching the same product. Whoever you are pitching to must be able to envision automation working within the context of their business activities.

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Published Tuesday, July 30, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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