Hardware and Software of Business Transformation

I am an Apple fan.

I like the simplicity and sleek appearance of the Apple devices. Beyond the hardware, I appreciate the intuitive user interface and the ease with which I can learn to use an app quickly, with or without a manual or hitting the Help key.

I remember setting up my wireless home network when I moved to the US. It took 12 minutes flat for the Apple AirPort Extreme wireless router to recognise all my devices across the tri-level home. I recently read that this now takes 5 minutes! Add the services from the Genius bar and the fun workshops. I am delighted.

Apple’s elegant ecosystem of devices, applications and services means I remain a faithful customer, even if its nearest rival may challenge one device.

What has this got to do about people side of change and business transformation?

The structural aspect of change is like ‘hardware’. These are the things that you can see and touch, such as:

  • systems and tools
  • plans
  • project and program structure
  • decision-making process
  • value streams and process design
  • business readiness and testing
  • business benefits and
  • end-user adoption metrics

But ‘hardware’ alone does not equate to successful transformations – when you see change is being embedded and sustained; when it is thriving in spite of challenges.

The ‘software’ is the aspect of change that influences behaviours and attitudes. It is not easy to touch; rather it is experienced and observed. They include:

  • facilitation of conversations to gain buy-in of changes to be made
  • the environment that rewards and encourages cross-functional collaboration
  • leadership behaviour that motivates, encourages and inspires
  • the network of advocates for the change that is the ‘invisible cord’ supplementing the formal structure
  • a guiding coalition that leads across organisational barriers
  • addressing resistance to change through influencing, mentoring, coaching

Leading change is not all about feelings, attitudes and behaviours.

Neither is it only about systems and tools, structures, communications, training, reviews and plans.

It’s all of the above. (Read a related post I wrote on LinkedIn: Distilling the “Business Transformation” 58 million search results!?)

Since business transformation is the hardest change to implement, isn’t it wise to address the challenge of change in a holistic way? Just like how Apple designs its ecosystem of devices, applications and services!

Have you been impacted by business transformation programs?

What delighted you? What caused concern?

How did your organization handle the change? How did you cope with the change?

On a related and broader topic, check out the BCG 2012 Study  ‘Organizational Capabilities Matter’, conducted among 1,600 respondents across 35 countries. If you are not a registered user of BCG Perspectives, you can register for a free account to access the document. Click here to be re-directed to their page. 

The study concluded that “behavioural aspects, often seen as tangential, are vital differentiators [to success] – but only when they accompany structural capabilities such as superior organization design and rigorous business processes and controls”.

4 thoughts on “Hardware and Software of Business Transformation

  1. Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this subject
    for a while and yours is the best I have come upon so far.
    But what about the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the source?

    Liked by 1 person

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