According to a February 2019 study by EY, 67% of public and private organizations say they have launched a transformation plan. Reasons for companies to transform include the need to improve customer satisfaction, but also the need to optimize processes and productivity.
A real strategic project, business transformation usually comes from the Branch before spreading throughout the organization. This verticality of the strategic vision generally engages the entire perimeter of the organization and penalizes the strategies of change. The sanctification of the concept of strategy culminated in the 1970s. However, it is not necessarily useful to help organizations break out of the unambiguous image of business transformation, linked to cost reduction, associated with social crises.
Business transformation: an ambivalent change
Cost reduction is often the main outcome of organizations and, above all, achieved as a result of the impetus of a transformation program. However, this does not mean that the organization concerned has succeeded in transforming its value creation process. On the contrary, it shows an insufficient ripple effect within organizations.
Beyond the desired results, it is the relevance of a business transformation that arises. This problem, Michel Rességuier, Head of Phospheres, a community of operational managers, addresses it in a collective book “Strategy is over?” which follows a working group initiated by Enterprise and Progress and the Cigref. Indeed, the uniqueness of the strategy is to be part of the long time. From now on, entrepreneurs must act in a context of immediacy. The gap is growing between yesterday’s strategic vision and today’s modern needs. This discrepancy is probably due to the galvanization of the word “strategy” during the Glorious Thirty, a period that established it as a true dogma, as if this simple word were sufficient for itself. Michel Rességuier thus distinguishes the strategy and the raison d’être of a company. If a company were to disappear tomorrow, who would miss the organization? This question, every entrepreneur or business leader who wants to start a transformation, must be able to answer: what is my business for?
Several paths are thus possible to implement the raison d’être of a company. This is underlined by the cigref’s publication on strategy. While companies such as Renault and Huawei, favour the implementation of the strategy as its definition itself through three joint actions: development, validation and deployment, they also stress the need to involve the company’s stakeholders collectively. They are faced with the double injunction of digital transformation and the customer experience.
Human limits to business transformation through the prism of strategy
The difficulties faced by a transformation programme are numerous. However, they differ according to the private and public sectors. Private sector companies are putting more pressure on a lack of team engagement and engagement, while the public sector is further highlighting a lack of resources and skills to foster this transformation. Private sector organizations are also less involved in human resources as the driving force behind the transformation process. However, human limitations, in terms of talent and skills, are a common feature of both sectors. Processing sites are often too complex to be internalized and, above all, struggle to be properly apprehended. For example, if companies integrate the use of digital tools such as Big Data and Analytics into their transformation, digital accounts for less than half of transformation plans for 70% of them, according to EY.
The main pitfall related to the human factor, however, remains, according to Michel Rességuier, that of clinging to the identity beliefs of a company, immutable thoughts, to the point that they jeopardize the viability and raison d’être of this enterprise. Among these obstacles to the change of the company’s DNA are first and foremost the company’s leader, since it is at the origin of its legitimacy and power. Yet the leader must fight against these human limits by impelling a management from the bottom. Its role is to restore meaning individually to each person in the organization. It is this concern for the experience of reality that has led Hermès to ask its employees to carry out photo reports of the buying behavior of customers in physical stores. The aim was then to develop in these employees a critical and pragmatic sense of the strategy then developed in the company.
It is this same reflection that has encouraged the advent of shared initiatives. For example, the New Aquitaine Region has partnered with the ICC and ADI New Aquitaine to develop the “Premium Growth” programme. This programme took shape in the context of the adoption in 2016 of the Regional Scheme for Economic Development, Innovation and Internationalization (SRDEII). Its ambition is to support targeted companies in the implementation of their strategic projects in order to engage them in one or more thematic accompaniment courses.
Business transformation is not a sudden phenomenon due to the emergence of the digital revolution, but is a faster step in the process of continuous renewal of companies and institutions. In the midst of a crisis, the concept of strategy must be transformed into an agile management tool for the entrepreneur. It must be born of a process of co-construction with the various stakeholders of the organization without ever being locked up by supposedly ideological.
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