Category Archives: Project Management

CEOs Need to Consider These Factors When Starting a Digital Transformation

CEOs Need to Consider These Factors When Starting a Digital Transformation

By Marc Edwards, B.Sc. , PMP, Content Analyticss, bpms, MBA

Imagine you are a CEO/CAO/CIO in charge of your organization’s digital transformation. Here are some of the things you might see:

  • The organization is way behind the digital transformation maturity scale
  • The C-Suite may be older and are not familiar or comfortable with emerging technology.
  • The C-suite can’t envision the company converting into a digital one.
  • IT is in disarray and ill-equipped to deal with the onslaught of changes coming.
  • There is no proper data management, business process management, or measurement of any kind other than the basic financial stuff.
  • You’re unsure of the current internal support you have.
  • The company as a whole has no real digital strategic vision with any focus on consumers.
  • No one knows how to assign value to their data.

So how do you start? If you’re in charge of starting a digital business transformation, you will want to make sure you have a clear vision of the organization’s future, start a robust change management program from the beginning, hire and retain the right people, and identify the appropriate projects and outcomes that will allow you to reach your digital transformation targets.

 

You need a clear vision

Having a strong, clear vision is essential for any successful digital transformation. But what does that truly mean for you? Here, a bit of self-reflection is in order. As the CEO, you have to determine where your company is in the grand scheme of things and whether or not the company is ready for a digital transformation. But what does this mean? The questions you must answer are:

  • Where are we on a digital transformation maturity scale?
  • How do we use our data?
  • Most, if not all, organizations will become data-driven, digital companies. Can you c-suite stakeholders envision and understand this?
  • Can you, as the CEO, envision this as well?

If no is the answer to the last two questions, perhaps the entire c-suite, including you, is not the right group for the job and you need to get up-to-date immediately.

If yes is the answer to the last two questions, then great. But that’s not all. As the CEO, you must now plant the seeds to develop a new business model for your organization; one that revolves around the client experience.

 

You need to implement change management NOW

As a digital transformation leader and implementer, your biggest hurdle will be the organization’s corporate culture. One of the most effective methods of leaping over that hurdle is to establish a robust change management program from the beginning. Timing is important because such a massive change will require a continual, consistent message of the changes that will come and their impact upon the organization, making sure to emphasize any benefits.

What many will tell you is that getting buy-in from the major stakeholders is very important. While this is true, it is only part of the story. What is even more important than the buy-in from stakeholders is their commitment, which can materialize as:

  • Assigning dedicated resources to the digital transformation initiative;
  • Acting as digital transformation champions throughout the departments;
  • Taking responsibility for certain initiatives or projects derived from the corporate digital transformation strategy.

 

You need help; IT can’t do it alone

While change management is important to get both buy-in and commitment from staff, it might become apparent to you that additional skill sets and expertise from outside the organization may be required to successfully implement the business’ digital transformation. Your IT department only has enough resources to maintain the operational work, not to do that and a digital transformation on top of that, as I mentioned in a previous blog post. They. Will. Need. Help. This help could take the form of:

  • The creation of an internal innovation or digital transformation group, to help foster innovation within the company;
  • The use of a 3rd party vendor or consultant, like Rextead Consulting, who can provide knowledge and expertise to the changes going on within your industry and outside it, and guide how to shape your digital transformation strategy to meet and deal with those industry changes.

 

You need to determine the desired outcomes

There are some outcomes that you will need to determine to get the ball rolling on a digital transformation. A strong project management office (PMO), through prioritization, benefits realization, and portfolio management, can be used to develop an implementation roadmap to determine:

  1. The desired business outcomes;
  2. The digital transformation initiatives and projects that align with those business outcomes;
  3. The desired impact of project implementation on the business outcomes;
  4. A prioritized list of projects with realistic timelines.

A strong PMO can also be used for bringing a renewed focus on measurement throughout the organization via benefits realization.

Hopefully, this blog post doesn’t present itself as a simple rant, but if it does, please understand that I’m merely emphasizing that you, as a CEO, must appreciate the importance of a strong, clear digital transformation vision, a robust change management program, knowing when you need help and getting it, and the focus on business outcomes.

If you have any questions about this, please email me at marc@rexteadconsultingcom or contact me at http://rexteadconsulting.com/contact/.

THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PATHWAY

THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PATHWAYTM

By Marc Edwards, B.Sc. , PMP, Content Analyticss, bpms, MBA

Tired of dealing with content chaos? I write this post to share some exciting news about my company, Rextead Consulting, which I hope will be of interest to those who wish to move their organizations forward as they wrestle with their information and  file management processes.

As I alluded to in a previous post, digital transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of your business and it means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in your organization, rather than simply enhance and support the traditional methods.

That’s a mouthful isn’t it?

In fact, I can imagine that digital transformation may seem a bit intimidating to some. Who has time to worry about that when you have clients to service, bills to pay, and staff to manage? Believe me, I understand.

It has become clear to me that something, perhaps a product or service, is required; a product that can quickly get to the heart of your business’ pain points and effectively resolve them so that you can move forward with growing your business.

I would like to introduce to you Rextead Consulting’s new product, the Digital Transformation Pathway:

 

The Digital Transformation Pathway advances the view that the future of your business cannot be assured solely on proceed with “business-as-usual” practices; rather, adapting your enterprise to the changing world around you must ideally become your organization’s default mode of operation. It includes:

  • Strategic Planning & Risk Management
  • Business Analysis
  • Business Process Mapping
  • Project Management
  • Information Management
  • Benefits Realization
  • Change Management

What could a solution using the Digital Transformation Pathway look like? It could be a reduction of all of the paper that you use. Imagine saying goodbye to those expensive cabinets in the hallway taking up valuable real estate. Or perhaps you want to beef up your privacy measures to make certain that breaches won’t happen in your business. Or maybe you simply can’t find your documents when you most need them and as a result, you have both you and your staff wasting time and money looking for business-critical information that should be at your fingertips.

That being said, typically, any organization that participates in digital transformation is more focused on increasing revenue than on cutting costs. That means they care more about growth than margin. Or they are more customer-focused and emphasize making every interaction with their customers as enjoyable, or as painless, as possible. Executives are looking to information professionals to deliver tangible value to their businesses through improved processes and enablement of information assets.

That may be you, but it might not be. The important thing is that your pain points are being addressed.

If you’re interested in having a discussion, please feel free to contact me at marc@rexteadconsulting.com or at www.rexteadconsulting.com.

Paper Sucks: Why Document Management is Vital for Digital Information

 

Paper Sucks: Why Document Management is Vital for Digital Information

By Marc Edwards, B.Sc., PMP, Content Analyticss, bpms, MBA

Sometimes, it feels like paper is the cockroach of business; it refuses to die.

Chances are you’re dealing with a lot of paper within your organization. Printing, scanning, archiving…all of this leads to the generation of paper, paper, and more paper.

Let me tell you about my experiences. I admittedly used to print out reams of paper to help me work. Any interesting articles I found that was relevant to my job would end up as piles of paper on my desk.

Any project management documents that I was working on? Same thing.

Have you ever tried to clear your desk? How do you feel? Clear-headed? Calmer? More focused? Your organization will be the same way once you do this on an enterprise-scale. Stop dealing with paper stacks and deal with transforming your business into the powerhouse it could be.

Some of the problems you face when trying to manage paper:

  • Cost per invoice is high
  • You may feel that you have too many staff or that you are not using staff efficiently
  • The time to correct an invoice error is long
  • Processes are complex and out-dated
  • Reporting on your information is painful and expensive as e-Discovery is a real problem for you

You can try to outsource much of this but the anchor of old manual process will still weigh you down.

We at Rextead Consulting feel that taking action on digital transformation initiatives and projects is important for you to really get a handle on these challenges. Here are some things you can do to better manage your documents:

  1. Capture your documents as close to the source as possible. This means try to catalogue and process them as soon as they enter your organization. This helps ensure high data quality throughout your business processes.
  2. Convert your current analog sources of documents to digital. Faxes, mail, etc. should all be received electronically. This doesn’t mean that you should go to your giant cabinets that are blocking the hallways and start scanning reams of documents. DON’T DO THIS! It’s a waste of time. Cut your losses and move forward. Instead, try to ensure that the paper documents that you do have are records that are of vital importance to the business and that all duplicates and the redundant, obsolete, and trivial stuff (ROT) is destroyed.
  3. The metadata and taxonomy structure for your digital documents is important so that you can find whatever you’re looking for. The amount of information we generate increases exponentially, so the ability to find your documents when you need them will provide dramatic savings in costs and time spent.
  4. Automate the document management processes as much as you can. Free up your intelligent and capable staff from doing monotonous work and get them working on things that will help your business meet its goals.

How are you dealing with your paper issues? Have you made any progress that you would like to share? Let me know!

What is Digital Transformation and what does it mean for you?

 

What is Digital Transformation and What does it mean for you?

By Marc Edwards, B.Sc. , PMP, Content Analyticss, bpms, MBA

When I first started Rextead Consulting, a friend of mine asked me what it was that this new company will do. I instinctively said something like, “Well, I specialize in information management and project management to help businesses, especially those focused on health care.” “Cool” my friend said and that was basically the end of the conversation. Or was it? Deep down, I felt that my explanation wasn’t as thorough as it could be. Yes, I do specialize in information management and I am a certified project management professional, but those things are merely a means to an end. What was the end game? What is the goal that I am trying to achieve for my clients? I knew that I wanted to resolve my clients’ pain points but I struggled to encapsulate that into as few words as possible. One day, it came to me out of the blue and I immediately began kicking myself for not realizing it earlier during my conversation with my friend. Looking at all of the skills and tools at my disposal and the outcomes that I desired for my clients, it was clear that this was the term that I was looking for:

Digital Transformation

According to Wikipedia, digital transformation, or digital business transformation, is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society and it means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhance and support the traditional methods. For some, it may mean going paperless, but in my opinion, this is only part of it. There is also the matter of increasing collaboration within an organization, improving processes, raising the level of innovation within your company, and ensuring that all projects and initiatives are in sync with the overall strategic plan.

So what does digital transformation consist of for us at Rextead Consulting? I think there are pillars that are essential to digital transformation, regardless of the size of the organization and they are:

  • Strategic planning – You can’t reach your destination if you have no direction. All projects and initiatives must be aligned with the overall strategy to achieve the goals of the digital transformation
  • Project management – from your planning process will result in projects and the level of project management expertise used will determine the end results of the digital transformation
  • Business analysis – determining the requirements of both the company and its customers, as well as getting an understanding of the various environments surrounding the company will help ensure that all relevant pain points are addressed
  • Business process management – adding new technology to garbage processes leaves you with garbage results. Processes have to be changed to effective use new technology, even if these process span the entire organization
  • Benefits realization – this will close the gap between strategic planning and execution by ensuring the implementation of the most valuable initiatives
  • Information management – in my experience, almost of the pain points that keep executives up at night are related to information and how it’s managed
  • And last, but not least, Change management – the biggest barrier to implementing digital transformation is a company culture and the best way to break through that barrier is with change management

Notice that I did not include IT in this list. Technology is another one of those things that are a means to an end and should not be the focal point. That being said, IT will still play a major role in any digital transformation initiative and can be accounted for through your business analysis work.

I will speak to each point in the above list in greater detail in future posts but in the meantime, let me know what you think.

How to Create a Great Health Analytics Team

by Marc Edwards B.Sc., PMP, Content Analytics, MBA

So, if you read the last post, you now know that proper executive buy-in is essential to creating a Health Analytics program within any organization. And notice the use of the word, “proper”. Here, I’m talking about executive support backed by a well-defined business problem and business case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across instances where the analytics function is viewed as a “nice-to-have” by executives, resulting in a listless, marooned analytics team as a result. That being said, if you DO get proper executive buy-in, it is not enough. In fact, you’re only just scratching the surface.

Leadership

So…who’s going to manage this program? If your organization is large enough, the role of CIO (chief information officer), CAO (chief analytics officer), or CDO (chief data officer) may be developed to maintain that executive level of support and to help develop the new program’s mandate and strategy. Doing this will help establish the narrative for understanding and validating the required investments and process changes to realize the business strategy.

If your organization is not large enough or if the infrastructure of the business is not ready to accept another c-level executive, then having a director or manager of Health Analytics should do. It will be important to ensure that “analytics” is present in the team’s name as you want it to be clear to everyone on what the function of the new team will be.

When picking a Health Analytics leader, be aware that this person should have a strong inkling of a vision for the program, should be able to create an environment of exploration and learning, and should have a strong nose for detecting and nurturing talent.

The Team

Once the leadership situation has been finalized, you will now need a strong multi-discipline group:

Data Analyst

This is the person who can take raw data and convert it into plain English and help companies make better decisions. The data analysts’ job should include the following:

  • Determine the data requirements
  • Identify the sources of data throughout the enterprise and develop methods of collecting that data
  • Data processing to provide greater structure
  • Data cleansing
  • Some data modelling
  • Data visualization

Data Scientist

Depending upon whom you ask or what blog you read, the data scientist role is the sexist position in the workforce today. The job requirements can often be so specific and uniqe that a good data scientist can be hard to find and very expensive to hire. If the costs end up being too much, consider developing the appropriate skills sets in-house to compensate, or hire co-op students from your local high school, college, or university, who are specializing in fields, such as, computer science and statistics. Either way, the data scientist’s job should include the following:

  • Analysis of large data sets
  • Statistical analysis
  • Use of analytic tools, such as, R, Python, SAS, SPPS, SQL, and Hadoop
  • Natural language processing to structure unstructured data
  • Data modelling
  • Database creation
  • Data architecture creation
  • Data visualization

Project Management & Business Analysis

When implementing a Health Analytics team, the analytics projects that will come your way will ultimately require project managers to execute them. It is especially important, during the early stages of the creation of the team, to be able to demonstrate value, ROI, and align projects to the overall corporate strategy. Rigorous project management can do this. Given the scarcity of qualified individuals with the appropriate data scientist skills set, it would be even more unlikely to find someone with those skills as well as project management ones. Therefore, the more likely rout would be to hire someone specifically for the project manager role.

A skill that is often underrated but would arguably be the most important for your Health Analytics team would be business analysis. The business analyst will be the person who identifies and shapes the major business problem at hand. Think about it, how can you use analytics to solve your client’s problems when you don’t fully understand the problem yourself?

Once you’ve develop a fully function and capable Health Analytics team, you now need to take stock of the data currently being collected within your organization and who are the users of this data, something we’ll dig deep into in my next post.