Embracing change is a pivotal step in unlocking the true potential of an organisation. However, the journey towards digital transformation is often hindered by challenges arising from ill-defined objectives and misaligned priorities. It is not uncommon for asset management firms, their change teams, and engineers to have divergent goals, leading to dissatisfaction and increased costs.
To navigate these obstacles effectively, it is crucial to anticipate compromises and identify the core functionalities that cannot be compromised. By aligning your digital transformation with the vision and operating model of your business, you not only secure support but also position your investment as a strategic endeavour. Assessing risks and costs while building in flexibility becomes paramount in achieving success.
One common pitfall in the path to transformation occurs when the business, change team and engineers fail to establish clear and aligned goals and priorities. For example, while all parties desire a faster and more cost-effective solution, the business may emphasise cost reduction to seize specific opportunities, while the engineers prioritise resilience, potentially compromising those same opportunities. Such misalignment can leave everyone dissatisfied or result in increased re-engineering costs.
To navigate these challenges successfully, it is wise to anticipate compromises during the change process and identify the non-negotiables within your existing functionality. This thoughtful approach will lead to a consideration of which elements require complete replacement and which parts of your workflow can be suitably modified, even if it means accepting some increase in future technical debt.
Every transformation must align with the overarching vision of the organisation, encompassing both the target operating model and the specific business units affected. Achieving such alignment is crucial to ensure support from the organisation when obstacles arise. Furthermore, it positions your investment as a strategic endeavour rather than an optional expense, generating a mindset shift that solidifies commitment.
Implicit within this alignment is a thorough assessment of the risks and costs associated with the proposed change project, coupled with credible risk mitigation strategies.
Understanding and aligning the business and functional goals of your transformation, including their prioritisation, will guide discussions on what needs to be replaced and which aspects of the workflow can be modified without incurring excessive technical debt.
The process of architecting the "what" and envisioning the future state heavily relies on accurate mapping of your current state. Striking the right balance is crucial, avoiding planning solely based on present requirements and assumptions while acknowledging that some assumptions may not unfold as anticipated. Building in flexibility becomes key. As you prepare for the future, it is important to acknowledge and address any associated risks explicitly, devising comprehensive risk mitigation strategies.
While we caution against mission creep and the perils of trying to cater to everyone, it is essential to be mindful of avoidable technical debt. Exploring logical and interrelated future changes that can be designed and planned alongside current actions, even if their execution lies further down the line, is recommended. Additionally, considering the costs and benefits of insourcing versus vendor management for both the execution and solution itself is crucial.
For a successful transformation, consistent and continuous governance is paramount. The outdated waterfall approach of tossing requirements over the wall and waiting for months on end for a solution to manifest is no longer effective. Similarly, delegating representatives from each unit (business, change, engineering, compliance) to attend meetings and engage only during their perceived stage is insufficient.
To achieve effective quality engineering, robust participation and a thorough review from senior management throughout all stakeholder units are needed. Meticulous planning for governance serves as a critical ingredient for success, enabling on-time delivery and minimising the need for remediation engineering. This entails obtaining well-informed buy-in from the outset and culminating in an enthusiastic sign-off upon delivery.
Effective governance must be complemented by transparent process management. This involves identifying the stakeholders accountable for each step of the change process, and delineating their responsibilities, deadlines, and required sign-offs. While these details may seem obvious, the micro-details are often overlooked, leading to gaps and avoidable delays.
Clearly envisioning what success looks like is of utmost importance. However, it is essential to acknowledge that each stakeholder may have a slightly different perspective of success, even with agreed-upon goals. Therefore, establishing agreed-upon measures of progress and success across operational, process, and financial realms is a vital component of securing buy-in from the outset and gaining accolades upon completion.