by HPA Partner Richard Berger
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable.”
From Darwin’s mouth to business leaders’ ears.
Global events over the past years brought significant disruption to almost every aspect of business. Companies of all sizes and across sectors continue to reflect, assess, and change, from their day-to-day operations, to how they connect with customers, to the tools they use. In fact, if we’ve learned anything collectively, it’s the importance of an adaptive organization.
Business Transformation isn’t a new concept, but there’s been a refocus toward transformation efforts. They’ve certainly gained momentum with HighPoint’s clients; some are embarking on multiple large-scale efforts at once, given macroeconomic and financial volatility. When done well, a transformation effort can bring step-change improvement in effectiveness, efficiency, growth, and profitability, enhancing competitiveness, driving innovation, building resilience, and improving customer experience.
But why are so many transformation efforts occurring now?
We’ve not seen this degree of transformation in some time …
Specifically, organizations are often going after cost transformations simultaneously with other transformation types – which puts a new and unusual change intensity on firms. A single change effort alone is demanding enough, but multiple change efforts simultaneously is uniquely challenging: Winning firms have been able to link these transformations and execute them concurrently.
Not everything needs to be a large transformation. Yet for many businesses who’ve come through rapidly changing conditions during Covid, inflation, and financial disruption, incremental, slow changes aren’t enough. There’s pressure on firms to have these transformations impact the top and bottom line faster. What once would have been a 3-year transformation may now be expected in 1-2 years, with a positive impact on earnings within six months. This is no small feat.
What’s trending in Business Transformation
Like organizations themselves, transformations come in a variety of forms.
The current economic situation has many businesses focusing on Cost Transformations, as ongoing financial instability prompts firms to improve the efficiency and increase the variable portion of their cost structures.
Beyond Cost Transformations, businesses are also pursuing:
- Digital Transformations involve the integration of digital technologies to help improve and automate business processes. Clients transforming their digital capabilities have been looking towards embedding technology and automation tools, while building greater AI and interface capabilities.
- Data Transformations help clients structure, cleanse, visualize, and democratize their data, leading to more pointed, widely understood, and predictive insights. By bolstering their data infrastructure, platforming, hygiene, and governance, firms are able to run their businesses with real-time decisioning.
- Marketing Transformations involve adapting marketing functions to meet changes in their customer base, marketing channels (both regulatory and technological), industry, and overall economic climate. With market or financial pressure, we’re seeing more firms enhance their test & learn capability, media mix, and data to optimize campaign performance and customer acquisition.
- Growth Transformations achieve sustainable growth in a business’s market share and customer base. They involve a change to more direct business models, product offerings, and go-to-market strategies, reflecting customer preference. They may also include new services for market share during volatility, with firms expanding on adjacent services and bundling products for their existing customers.
To execute any of the above – while driving a cost transformation – successful leaders must communicate how critical productivity and efficiency are as a winning outcome to their teams, and as a source of reinvestment for additional transformations.
With multiple transformations, there are also multiple, interconnected change programs, that must link the messaging. See also HPA Senior Advisor Alex Nesbitt’s overview on “Change that Sticks.”
Turn your organization’s goals into strategic success
Whether your Transformation needs are cost related or digital, data, marketing, or growth-related, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your objectives, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Our team can set you up on the path to strategic, sustainable change, and support your business in executing rapid, meaningful outcomes.
To hear more about how HPA helps clients enable successful transformation efforts, or to start a conversation about your organization’s needs, please reach out.
See a recent transformation engagement here, where HPA supported a global retailer in transforming through brand, rooted in customer segmentation, price positioning, real estate, and eCommerce initiatives and reshaping the strategy of the business.
Richard Berger is a Partner with HighPoint Associates and runs the firm’s East Coast office. He joined HighPoint in 2008 and since has worked with clients across industries to solve problems, elevate conversations, and deliver breakthrough results. Prior to joining HPA, Richard spent nearly 20 years in a variety of consulting, operating, and start-up leadership positions. Richard is particularly passionate about helping clients improve and differentiate the customer experience.