Your business is unique. To be competitive in our modern world, you have to set yourself apart from your competition. An IDC study found that “85% of enterprise decision-makers say they have a time frame of two years to make significant inroads into digital transformation or they will fall behind their competitors and suffer financially.” In this competitive climate, one of the most challenging things to approach when handling a digital transformation project is delineating competitive advantages from best practices.
What sets your company apart may be a proprietary manufacturing process, industry-leading product quality, best-of-class software tool, or many other items. You want to retain that advantage. However, there are likely processes, terminology, or systems that are not contributing to your company’s best interests. This is where the right implementation partner can help.
A good partner will be able to help you combine the unique nature of your company with industry-standard best practices. This process can be painful, depending on how entrenched your business is, but it is rewarding in the end.
As a consultant, I have been in many meetings where we dive into company processes and procedures. To get an accurate view of how a system like Salesforce will interact with users, it is imperative that a consultant gets granular details on existing processes. In all of these interactions, I always press hard on the ‘why?’.
The reasoning behind an existing process is essential to understand. There may be dependent systems, internal or external requirements (legal compliance, government oversight, etc.), that require a process to be in place. Those dependencies may drive the logic behind a process. But in a large percentage of these interviews, when I dig at the ‘why?’, the answer becomes ‘because that’s how we’ve always done it.’
That answer is very telling. Just because a process exists in a certain fashion does not mean it has to continue that way.
The value of a partner
A good consulting partner brings two things to the table.
- Consulting practices – knowing the questions to ask, when to say yes (and more importantly, when to say no), and how to get the necessary information are all important.
- Industry experience – A good partner will have consultants with industry experience who can make informed recommendations based on past experience.
When selecting a partner, get the most from your investment. Use their industry experience to your advantage. Learn how other businesses approach similar problems to see if you can also benefit. Ask your consultants how they have designed solutions for past clients. And most importantly, listen to your consulting team when they make recommendations.
This can often mean looking at existing processes with fresh eyes. You may have to change some core items to your business. But the value you see from these changes can be transformational. This can impact your ROI in two ways. First, it makes implementation faster. Bending and modifying a system to an existing process takes time and introduces technical debt. But modifying a process to be more efficient in a system takes less time in implementation, and for future work performed. Second, it can increase velocity and efficiency. Revising existing processes can be a great way to decrease overhead. If you can reduce manual steps, your teams can focus on higher-value tasks.
You are hiring a partner because of the value they can bring to your digital transformation efforts. Make sure to get the most from this investment by listening to their recommendations. Prepare yourself and your teams for a deeper look into existing processes, and keep an open mind towards making changes.
Combining industry best practices with your company’s key differentiator will set you up for immediate success at a project level, and long-term success in your industry.