When we think about SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, or digital transformation success, we often focus on the system integrator. But the potential unsung heroes of your successful digital transformation are sitting right within your four walls.
Don’t get me wrong: choosing the right SAP, Oracle, or Microsoft Dynamics system integrator is an important decision. But your system integrator is not the silver bullet to success. Your own people are.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the last 20 years is that the most successful digital transformations are those where the implementing organization takes ownership and control of their initiatives. They don’t simply outsource to a system integrator. They know how to take control of their system integrator as part of a broader digital transformation strategy.
Here are some of the people within your organization that will make your digital transformation successful:
Your HR department. I recently wrote about why your HR department is a key to your digital transformation success. This may feel like a technology initiative, but more than anything, it will impact your people. Organizational design, cultural transformation, people alignment, and other key people initiatives should be an integral part of your transformation, which your HR department is best equipped to provide. They should also be core team members on your organizational change management team, which is the #1 key to digital transformation success.
Your internal audit department. Your digital transformation needs guardrails to stay on track. Your internal audit group is often the best to lead the charge to ensure that the proper controls, governance, and risk mitigation measure are in place to ensure success and mitigate failure. For example, a company implementing S/4HANA should ensure that they have a proper SAP S/4HANA quality assurance program in place. Credible third-party experts like those at Third Stage Consulting can help your internal audit group establish this QA framework.
Your project management organization. Whether you have an internal PMO or outside independent digital transformation experts, you need to ensure that you own the project management function. You do not want the system integrator guarding the henhouse, so to speak. You need someone that is 100% focused on your needs and priorities – not the vendor’s – and that can manage organizational change, user acceptance testing, and other areas outside the sweet spot of most system integrators.
Your middle-level management team. Your executives may be on board with the project, but that won’t matter if your mid-level management isn’t 100% behind the project. Part of your organizational change management strategy should focus on how to engage and align this critical stakeholder group.
Most importantly, your front-line employees. Nothing else matters if this group isn’t able to keep up with the pace of change. They need to be on board. They need to understand the vision for the transformation, how it affects them, what is expected of them, and what is in it for them. Your organizational change management plan needs to carefully target change among your entire front-line employee base.
Your CIO, CEO, and system integrator are all important stakeholders in your digital transformation. Not to offend any of these groups, the above internal heroes are the ones that will actually determine your success or failure.
Perhaps it’s time to plan and manage your digital transformation accordingly.