Rory leads the solution engagement transformation at JOS. With his 27 years of IT experiences, primarily serving the Financial Services Sector and working at reputable large global companies, Rory had developed solid proven IT foundation to support end-to-end full IT functions for large enterprises. On top of his IT exposure, Rory had also gained in-depth Banking business knowledge with wide spectrum of domain familiarity from the products, services to solutions.
Everyone understands the benefits of digital transformation. Cost efficiency, optimized operations, business agility, ability to adapt to new technological advances and improved competitiveness are some of the reasons firms want to embrace it.
But many are sitting on the fences. Why? The reasons are often less technological and more about processes and mindsets. Because, in the end, digital transformation is really about change management and business process optimization for the digital era. You need to be prepared to change the way you do things.
Below are two things you must do before you start your digital transformation journey:
Prepare the corporate mindset
Automation and performance are often touted as the first benefits of digital transformation. But while the benefits can be immediate, firms need to also cater to the humans that are part of the transformation. Aligning mindsets to expected changes can help offset any misconceptions or resistance.
Just ask Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (HKJMA). Founded in 1988, Hong Kong’s largest organization representing manufacturers and exporters in the jewelry trading or related industries wanted to make their flagship event, the JMA Hong Kong, more efficient.
Previously, the firm juggled several spreadsheets to determine where each exhibitor was to be situated. Overseas participants had to email or mail their details and credentials to participate. When you are dealing with over 900 exhibitors and 38,000 visitors from 70 countries, spreadsheets and collating disparate pieces of information can kill productivity.
So, JOS helped them to deploy a CRM system that centralized all data flow, ensuring all information is up to date. It automated scoring and exhibitor placements, allowing the event to scale and the staff to concentrate on more value-added tasks. A standardized e-form for overseas participants conveniently allowed them to send and update their details. With all event and application information consolidated, they could also monitor their application status online.
While the technology streamlined the workflow for efficiency, eliminated human errors and automated laborious tasks, the biggest shift was in the style of working. HKJMA essentially prepared themselves to change the way they collect data, share information and make almost instantaneous decisions. This laid the groundwork for further automation and process optimization for the future.
Stop the inter-departmental mistrust
Digital transformation streamlines information flow and automates decision making. While these improve efficiency, it also means that firms need to ready their departments for seamless communication.
This is a tall order for many traditional firms where departments are used to working in silos. Even IT projects were often focused on different business units or business functions. Digital transformation is designed to bring down these silos. But firms need to ready their departments to communicate and share among themselves for this to happen.
Here, the right solution architecture can help. When Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited wanted to improve their financial reporting, we helped them to deploy Oracle Financials. It improved efficiency, centralized all data, eliminated the need to handle different spreadsheets and vendors, and allowed decision makers to view the health of the business quickly. But to ensure all users are able to easily share information without a steep learning curve, we used Excel4Apps. The move offered the familiar Excel user interface and eased any anxiety over the new system. With the philosophy of single source of truth, our solution is connecting both Oracle Financials and Excel4apps for facilitating easy to use, accuracy and consistency of all level of reports to management and operations.
However, this was far than just deploying just another software product. JOS worked with various departments to ensure seamless information flow and were comfortable in sharing their vital information. Digital transformation thrives on unhindered data flow, and you need to ensure there are no hurdles-human or IT.
Essentially, digital transformation is a journey-not a single project. It aims to change the way your firm works, competes and maximizes new business opportunities. But it will face resistance to change and inter-departmental conflict. Addressing these early or even before you begin your digital transformation will ensure that you will able to reap its rewards quickly.