Business Transformation

A guide to structuring a business transformation programme

In today’s office environment, the complexities of simplifying business models and driving efficiencies is becoming increasingly difficult especially with the hype of digital including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. But without solid foundations, any type of transformation, be it digital or business, becomes a challenge. It’s important to look at the business and seamlessly intertwine the technologies and people within the business to deliver successful teams and providing excellence in customer service. Having worked across industries, in various locations, delivering complex change has evidently been, in some cases, a challenge, due to complexities in organisations in terms of the structure and culture. We discovered, sometimes it’s necessary to look at change as a transformative continuous process by simplifying it.

Our simple guide to structure a business transformation uses five pillars and these can be used in every transformation programme to ensure successful change.

Business change programmes are multi-faceted and require complex interaction with stakeholders as well as senior buy-in commensurate to the change required. That said, we have found organising around five structured pillars namely people, strategy, communications/change, technology and business operations each of which can either be a programme or project depending on the scope/scale of the change required.

Through our experience of delivering numerous business and digital transformational programmes, we will draw upon best practice highlights on how to structure them.  The guide helps to reduce the complexities in delivering a business transformation programme. These are briefly described, in no set order, and are all equally important.

The five pillars of Business Transformation

The five pillars of Business Transformation will help organisations structure a transformation programme and are defined as follows:

  1. Strategic Objectives and Corporate Alignment.

The change needs to align to the corporate objectives of the organisation. These could be revenue, operational, customers or compliance. Key performance indicators, planning and the strategy are important factors and measures that either need to be present or defined. Data plays a crucial part to provide both targets as well as inform decision making. The scope of can include quality control and provide assurance throughout so that overall corporate objectives are being met. What we found in some cases, the corporate objectives were not clear, or key stakeholders have different interpretations of what success looks like. Often, through data analysis, this can be more clearly articulated and defined providing a clear outcome based programme with an agreed benefits realisation process.

2. People

Employees or others impacted by the changes require clear and strong change management. This pillar focuses on the more formal methods such as performance management, objective setting, job descriptions and their terms and conditions of employment. Human resources and organisational development support will be required to improve these areas. Supportive line managers will need to be involved and to be seen to be driving change.

  1. Customers and Business Operations.

Customer focus and associated processes that help drive customer satisfaction and growth are areas that should be of intense scrutiny. Making innovative changes in processes and practices, reinventing for the digital age, moving operational aspects to deliver customer experience and insights are fundamental to drive improvements. Applying techniques such as LEAN, business architecture modelling are invaluable methods that support this pillar and should be leveraged. By having customer centric change into one group, change can be managed more effectively.  Including ‘service level agreements’ for customers or suppliers into this area can support business improvements.

  1. Communications and Change.

Together with the ‘people’ pillar, this portion manages the ‘softer’ side, such as change management and communicating to those affected and the wider stakeholder community. The organisational propensity to change to a new target operating model must not be underestimated. We have found this area to be the most challenging to deliver as it involves unpredictable human behaviours and is not a precise science. Entrenched thinking and pre-existing cultural norms provide resistance to moving to new operating models. Engagement with employees, customers and wider stakeholders, is essential to fully embed change and to make it permanent but equally taking the opportunity to adopt continuous change practices.


  1. Technology.

The delivery of technology capability including digital, social and data will provide a basis to cover the technical aspects of the programme. Covering systems, infrastructure, social media, digital, data insights across through to implementation and delivery. A single pillar focused on the delivery of technical capability maximise change for successful delivery.

The pillars have been well documented and are the basis of most change programmes. The crucial difference is how to manage them through well-defined and scoped programmes as well as the inter-dependencies between them. We have deliberately highlighted inter-dependencies this as this is where the most synergies come from and that the change is seen holistically. This management and oversight through tools and techniques make delivery easier and for senior decision makers to see a clear line of sight to outcomes. Our experience in applying this approach and developing capability around this framework for several clients has proved successful and invaluable. The five-pillar model can be scaled to a programme or even organisational-wide, with appropriate governance put in place. The framework is flexible to accommodate various project/programme methodologies and caters for specialist practices in each area.
We have developed toolkits and techniques that quickly accelerate delivery of these types of programmes. These are not specific to any industry or problem, but with any frameworks there will be a level of customisation, providing key principles are applied and considered. Our experience in delivering a departmental transformational programme, delivering organisational wide change savings millions to the bottom line as well as establishing a business transformational function within a large organisation has simplified the process by using these pillars and delivering successfully.

By using these five pillars you can begin to understand how these can help set an organisational change. You may have used these pillars to deliver digital transformation as well as business transformation.

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in delivering business transformation, and if you have used the pillars mentioned how did you find it. Please leave your comments. If you liked this article you may also like to subscribe to more articles like this.

By Paresh

Expertise in Digital and Business Transformation with over 15 years experience in Technology and Business