Rebuilding Enterprise Performance Infrastructure | CXO Podcast
CXO

Rebuilding Enterprise Performance Infrastructure

CXO - Rebuilding Enterprise Performance Infrastructure

Top reported reasons, why businesses fail to transform, are gaps in management sponsorship and support—internal cross-functional and external value chain collaboration—service delivery workflows and issues related to employee engagement and accountability. Such organizations need to do a master reset, rethink, and rebuild a technology-enabled enterprise performance infrastructure made up of people, processes, and tools for successful execution and sustained results. What does it take to crack this “how” problem of transformation?

 

Top 5 Learning Points

  1. Transformation is difficult and it takes a strong commitment to change and one has to be willing to truly commit to it and truly commit the resources.
  2. You can’t guide the change management of how the roles and the processes are going to change without understanding where you’re starting from.
  3. If you have a culture of teamwork, it makes cross-functional collaboration possible. You have to have that, and also strong leadership and communication.
  4. What’s really the most difficult part where most people fail is they don’t acknowledge the change management is the biggest challenge, rather than the technology.
  5. Some people fail because they’re trying to do everything and they keep interrupting the process with additional priorities and scope.

 

Show Notes

  • We have always focused on transforming our business processes, business models, and technology is an ongoing initiative as well. One of the keys to our ability to do these transformative initiatives is our very strong support from our senior leadership team.
  • The only time that an effort should be turned around and reduced is if the business itself suffers from unexpected market conditions.
  • I think that transformation is difficult and it takes a strong commitment to change and you have to be willing to truly commit to it and truly commit the resources.
  • You have to have a proper evaluation of your existing process, must understand the positives and know where you are and where you’re trying to go.
  • Some people just want to leap ahead with the new process and they want to skip the important understanding of the current processes and work. They don’t want to do the work and take the time because they’re anxious to get to the end goal.

 

Transcript Summary

If an organization is focusing on implementing enterprise performance infrastructure then it is not the mere technology that must be looked at. There are many other factors as well and the key factor is people management. A thorough discussion on the same is covered here.

 

Transcript:

Sanjog: The topic for conversation is, Rebuilding Enterprise Performance Infrastructure. I have with me, Grace Monahan, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Henry Schein. We wanted to talk about an interesting subject because we have heard so many stories about the business transformation efforts that many companies are going through. They’re not finding the best results or in some cases and even failing. Management, sponsorship, collaboration, workflow issues, and employee engagement are some of the top reasons that are reported. Since doing same old may not work, we wanted to explore the art and science of carrying out a complete reset and then rebuild. Often, organization’s performance infrastructure is the people processes and tools which can then perhaps lead us to the intended outcome. Let’s start with the challenges that are commonly reported and I’d like to start with the management sponsorship and support.

When we see these transformations when they begin, there’s a lot of excitement. There’s a lot of investment being put in and commitments are made every day, but then somewhere we find that thrill that excitement starts reducing or dwindling. In some cases, we start revoking that sponsorship, the support that we need right in the middle when things could be getting heated up or maybe up the ramp. Why does this happen?

Grace: At Henry Schein, we’ve been a rapidly growing company for many years and we continue to recognize that the economy, the marketplace, the customer needs are always evolving. Transformation is not a new idea for Henry Schein. We have always focused on transforming our business processes, business models, and technology is an ongoing initiative as well. One of the keys to our ability to do these transformative initiatives is our very strong support from our senior leadership team, including our Chief Executive, Stan Bergman.

When you look at the question as you asked, enterprise performance infrastructure is made up of people, processes, and tools. I think that’s a very key statement, it does involve those things. People, processes, and tools. Many businesses go into this initiative, focus too heavily on the idea of tools and technology. In my opinion, the people are really the key. I believe that as far as the ways that they go wrong is that the commitment is not really made. If the commitment is really made if the resources and investment are going to be committed is unavailable and the diligence is done, on what it takes to do, a short-term, medium, and long-term transformation. Then, you have a reduced risk of revoking the effort or being unsuccessful in the effort.

The only time that an effort should be turned around and reduced is if the business itself suffers from unexpected market conditions. Then you may decide that you need to prioritize something else, but otherwise, it’s really the strong commitment, communications, and leadership that drives these efforts. It’s a people issue, it’s the people that will make it successful. Means, you have to have the right people involved in the transformation and they have to be available.

Many businesses go into this initiative, focus too heavily on the idea of tools and technology. In my opinion, the people are really the key.

Sanjog: We have seen the reason why your transformation efforts may be successful, but when people are failing and then for some reason, management may have initially given, would you call it a lip service to this whole sponsorship and commitment and later on, they did not do it because they were never serious about it, is that what happened?

Grace: I think that transformation is difficult and it takes a strong commitment to change and you have to be willing to truly commit to it and truly commit the resources. There are several reasons. Some people go into it focus, they think they’re going to bring this technology and they’re going to transform. Some people go into it, saying that, standing up and saying how important it is and everybody should transform and it’s everybody’s job, but everybody already has a day job. Some people go into it seriously, thinking that they’re going to do it but then, they’re not willing to make the hard decisions to force the change when people don’t want to give up the old processes. Sometimes it even means that you have to change the organizational structure or you have to change people, it really a leadership issue. You must be dedicated, stick to the plan and have high-level sponsorship.

I think that transformation is difficult and it takes a strong commitment to change and you have to be willing to truly commit to it and truly commit the resources.

Sanjog: Let’s talk about the business processes and workflows. Anyone who has ever dabbled in the transformation effort, they know you cannot slap technology. You cannot have anything which can enable the business to be done before you’ve actually tackled the business processes and workflows. You have to do an upfront evaluation, you have to improve them first as the foundation before you start doing anything else. There seems to be a situation where people are putting the cart ahead of the horse, they’re trying to put things more like technology or another type of improvement initiatives but not doing it at fundamental business process and workflow level. How come somebody ignores that critical step?

Grace: Well, first, I’d like to say that that step is completely critical. You have to have a proper evaluation of your existing process, must understand the positives and know where you are and where you’re trying to go. I think people skip it because it’s hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort to do a proper evaluation of existing processes and to do a proper vision of where it is that you want to go. Some people just want to leap ahead with the new process and they want to skip the important understanding of the current processes and work. They don’t want to do the work and take the time because they’re anxious to get to the end goal. I don’t believe that you can get there without really understanding it because it comes down to change management, and understand your future process. But you don’t understand the current process, roles, people and how it fits together, then it’s very difficult to transform what you have. You can’t guide the change management of how the roles and the processes are going to change without understanding where you’re starting from.

You can’t guide the change management of how the roles and the processes are going to change without understanding where you’re starting from.

Sanjog: Let’s talk about collaboration. You could have collaboration within the organization, basically cross-functional or even with your value chain players. It becomes critical, how communication and collaboration happen within the organization for transformation even to be successful, but we find slippages in that. Are we going wrong? Why is that? Being a critical element but people still don’t communicate properly, if they still don’t collaborate when they know you can only win when you’re together.

Grace: In order to have that, you really need to have something that Henry Schein is extremely strong on and that is a culture of teamwork. If you have a culture of teamwork, it makes cross-functional collaboration possible. You have to have that, and also strong leadership and communication. It is critical to have a solid formal process for the initiative as well. If these are weak, then I think slippage can happen. I’m going to give you an example of recent effort and what it really took to make a transformation. We had a recent data initiative that was cross business units and IT, numerous other support departments involved in the initiative. In order to do that, we had a tremendous amount of work on the current processes on where we were going, what the changes needed to be. We had a very strong team culture in the project. Also, absolutely focused leadership on the initiative, proper project planning, communication and in the end, a dedication to excellence. Within team Schein, we have the advantage that we do have at all times, to focus on excellence and teamwork. Communication is something, you always need to work on.

At the end of the day, we had over a 120-people involved in this particular initiative which was a data initiative, new categorization, definitions, etc. We had strong commitments. The things that I’m saying we had, the reasons people have slippage, they don’t have a strong commitment, they don’t make the resources available, they don’t have a strong culture of leadership, they don’t have leadership that’s focuse... Read Full Transcript v  

Contributors

Grace Monahan, Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Henry Schein

Grace is responsible for the company’s global Information services which include: business systems application development, sales and marketing systems, digital technology, and I.S. infrastructure. She is responsible for the worldwide sys... More   View all posts
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