3. IT isn’t just about IT
Digital transformation is bigger than IT, and as per the above, it’s going to become a big driver of culture across an organization, especially for businesses that are serious -- and even better, truly passionate -- about being customer-centric. That’s certainly the bar businesses are trying to set for themselves today, and getting there is a strategy that very much reflects the kaizen principles touched on above. Technology is important, but it’s not what makes a business customer-centric; rather, it’s about empowering employees and enabling agents to do their best work.
There’s also an element of change management to consider, especially with a multi-generational workforce. Collaboration technology has a major role to play in terms of providing a consistent user experience that all employees can manage, but that’s not the endgame. Again, it’s about a holistic view, where IT is riding digital transformation to make the entire organization more productive and agile.
Jamshid talked about his challenges trying to manage four distinct streams with technology change -- ERP, workplace productivity, customer-facing tools, and CRM. They all have distinct needs, and while it’s one thing to manage them inside their streams, the orchestration needs to be seamless to customers, which as he correctly noted should only need to see one Mitel.
IT cannot deliver that outcome with a legacy mindset of needing to manage technology centrally -- digital transformation is holistic, and IT needs a different approach. Along those lines, as Jamshid expanded his IT team to support digital transformation, he added many people who did not have technical backgrounds. Instead, they had expertise in change management, and understanding how culture change is a big part for having success here.
4. Digital transformation needs a starting point
This lesson learned is easy to overlook since digital transformation is a fluid concept. Being a never-ending journey, knowing your point of entry is hard, and since businesses don’t like uncertainty, resistance to going down this path is easy to understand. As with adopting any new technology, the starting point needs to be a clearly defined use case that addresses a particular business challenge or problem.
As mentioned, by virtue of having made many acquisitions, Mitel has faced an ongoing challenge for integrating various operational systems into its DNA. Jamshid cited examples such as having more than 30 email gateways, five email systems, multiple PBXs, multiple IM platforms, and 18 ERP systems to manage. That’s simply untenable if the objective is for customers to only see one Mitel. Streamlining all this became a key driver for the company’s transformation imperative.
When challenges have a measurable starting point, the rationale becomes clear to all -- not just for IT, but the entire organization. Mitel eventually consolidated those 18 ERP systems into just one, and the associated metrics from that transformation are success markers that everyone can understand. The resulting operational efficiencies are also important outcomes, but the process probably doesn’t begin until there’s a measurable starting point.
While the other aspects of digital transformation covered in this post are rather qualitative, equally important is having a clearly defined starting point. Without that compass, you won’t know where you’re going with digital transformation, and when the going gets tough, management could easily lose interest and move on to priorities that are more readily understood.
BCStrategies is an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.