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Change Management – The soft side of projects? Not so fast!

How often do you hear Change Management referred to as “the soft side of the project?” Maybe you’ve even done it yourself.  Just last week, I was at a client site, describing what I do to a client employee, and the response from the client was, “Oh, you deal with people – the soft stuff.” I’d like to take a moment and challenge that assumption.

All projects should have a target return on investment (ROI), which is the benefit we hope to achieve by performing the project.  As Tim Creasey (Prosci) points out, that benefit can be broken down into two categories – benefits from install benefit and usage benefit.  Install benefits are the benefits we achieve simply by having the new system or process put in place.  These benefits may be cost savings (e.g., less maintenance), cost avoidance (e.g., meeting a regulatory standard reduces the risk of fines or data loss prevention), or something else.

Usage benefits are the benefits we achieve by people actually using the system.  For example, throughput increases with having a new order processing system in place that requires fewer clicks, leading to increased revenues or decreased costs (fewer human errors).  Perhaps customer service agents are able to more quickly respond to customer inquiries, leading to increased customer satisfaction, which drives increased sales.  Whatever the case may be, these benefits are only realized by people actually interacting with the new system.

It’s not uncommon for the usage benefit to represent to 70-90% of a project’s overall benefit.  Said another way, if we don’t get the adoption we desire, it’s conceivable that more than three-quarters of our target ROI is at risk!  For a project with an ROI of $1MM, that could equate to more than $750,000!  That’s the ROI of Change Management, and that’s not so soft.

Investment-Return

 

How Not to Lose a Job Before Starting

shutterstock_272657948At Perficient, generally and specifically here on the digital transformation blog, we spend a lot of time discussing change: how companies want to change, how they need to change. How eCommerce and marketing are changing the relationship between consumers and company. We provide examples on what executives need to do to change their relationships with customers. The changing relationship of customers with other customers are themes.

Today, I thought we would discuss another aspect of the change: the change between employee and employers. In interest of full disclosure, David Strom once came to my company to work with my team on testing HSM (hierarchical storage management) products. I like to think of these type of product reviews the Yelp of pre-Internet days. David’s recent post on LinkedIn discusses how social can impact one’s employment and not in good ways.

Considering how so many of us use crowd sourcing, whether it for a new purchase, movie selection or vacation destination, it isn’t surprising that people have done so with job offers. The part of the article that resonated most with me was this quote:

First, if you get job offers from more than one company, keep them offline, and if you have to seek advice, definitely keep it to a phone call or two to a trusted mentor or adviser. No need to get the entire webverse engaged. This doesn’t have to be a public spectacle. Or really anyone else’s business but your own.

(Emphasis in the original post) As I have said to people, never write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see on the side of a bus or on a 4’ X 4’ card in a courtroom. I’ve had to modify that advice to include more channels over the years but the premise still holds true.

In the past several years, I have noticed LinkedIn profiles being used with or instead of resumes. Whether this is interviewing consultants, researching people while in meetings or as an industry speaker, I am finding that our electronic work lives are finding their way into our physical life.

I recall presenting at a Society of Information Management (SIM) event on social. One of my co-presenters said they use LinkedIn during the interview process. They weren’t checking the resume, instead they want to see the candidate’s connections. Does this person have the type and level of connections and recommendations that one would expect at this level?

There has been a lot of discussion over the changing nature of the resume (video resume!  Twitter resume!) and I won’t repeat those comments but I do firmly believe that our social personas are becoming more critical in the employment process.  While the examples have focused on LinkedIn, my comments are generic. What are your experiences? How often do you use LinkedIn when hiring, either employees or consultants? Do you use it to decide which speakers to see at a conference?

Posted in News

What is Service Virtualization and Why Do We Need It?

Service Virtualization emulates the behavior and data of dependent systems such a way that represents the dependent system without any constraints, thus allowing software to be developed and delivered faster, with lower costs and higher reliability.

Before Virtualization:

 

After Virtualization:

AfterVirtualization

Constraints which affect development and testing at various SDLC phases:

  • Dependent component/services still not completed
  • Dependent component/services not available due to maintenance or system issue
  • Data set-up not completed
  • Limited access
  • Data refresh caused cleared out existing data

Benefits:

  • Reduce dependency for various system/services.
  • Increased Productivity
  • Faster development
  • Reduce system constraints
  • Agile Development made easy

Private APIs Vs Public APIs

Private APIs :

  • APIs which are used within organization to build apps.
  • Apps built on private APIs can be used inside organization or released to public using various channels like company site, app store.
  • Partners can use private APIs to build apps.
  • Private APIs enable faster business integration with partners.
  • Avoid dependency on external APIs and apps, For e.g. public API is discontinued.

Public APIs:

  • Expanding reach across various platform and devices.
  • Increased brand value.
  • Creativity has no limits.
  • Your competitor can use content for various purpose if your API overexposed your business content.
  • Patent/Rights infringement.

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Posted in api, Mobile, News

Cramming vs. Learning – It Still Matters

shutterstock_213333985Did you ever cram when you were in college?  If you’re like me, you did, and probably on more than one occasion.  There was that big test looming, and well frankly, you just waited a little too late to get started preparing for it.  The night before the exam, you’d spend most of the light stuffing concept after concept, and fact after fact, into your brain, grab a few hours of sleep, maybe a cup of coffee, and then head to your class where you’d regurgitate all that you could remember for the exam.  And, you might have even aced it, at least that day anyway. Take that test again in a week and what would happen?  You’d likely fail it. Why? Because you memorized and didn’t learn.

When we memorize, we keep whatever content we’re dealing with in our short term memory.  While I’m not a psychology or biology expert, I do know that information in our short term memory only stays there for so long.  We have a capacity issue.  Soon, something else will need to be stuffed in there, and when that happens, something else will be pushed out.  We can only hold so many things in short-term memory for so long.  For us to retain knowledge, we must truly learn it.  Then, we can recall it a day, a week, a month, or a year – whenever we need it. Read the rest of this post »

Enterprise Architecture Models for Digital Transformation

shutterstock_75988480Enterprise Architects learned long ago the benefits of describing architecture in different perspectives or views. John Zachman, gave us a structured way of viewing and defining an enterprise architecture in the 80s. But in many companies enterprise architecture (EA) has evolved to technologists that set architecture standards often without much insight into corporate objectives.

The goals of EA are to define the architecture of the enterprise and guide the organization to create the business structure, processes, information models and technology to execute the corporate strategy. And like EA model views, a digital transformation has multiple dimensions and constituents. Yet we often hear conflicting views and a lack of a cohesive vision of the digital transformation (DT) – a lack of EA for the DT effort.

We hear the argument for the CMO to drive DT and the counter argument that the CMO has neither the expertise nor the inclination to modernize legacy systems in support of DT. We have also heard that we need more C level executives (Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer …) to lead DT, which seems to be the antithesis of agility potentially creating more bureaucracy. So we have an ongoing debate on the organization structure to achieve DT. We often don’t have an organizational or business model for DT so there is no means to change much less transform.

In dysfunctional DT efforts, the C level view of DT is misaligned, not truly transformational and have barriers to change. The CIO thinks DT is a web site refresh and a bunch of mobile apps. The CTO thinks it’s securing the cloud, big data and deploying a mobile platform. The CMO thinks it’s shifting money to digital media ads. The CFO knows it will cost more money but has little confidence that DT investments will generate returns. The CEO worries about organizational and technical barriers and feels the threat of competitive disruption. Technology is often a barrier to transformation consisting of siloed legacy systems that are poorly integrated that perpetuate data quality issues, process inefficiencies, high maintenance costs and an overall poor user experience.

If we think again about what EA supposed to be, a means to execute the corporate strategy in terms of people, process and technology, EA certainly has the potential to guide the DT. There are EA models that will work for DT but we must add new approaches that are highly leveraged towards customer experience. EA in most companies has more of a technology focus than a customer focus. But we do need model views of DT that can be understood by the entire organization. Transformation obviously involves change and we need corporate buy in and cross-functional executive sponsorship for a common vision.

At a high-level we need models representing the following objectives:

  • Digital Strategy in terms of vision, business model and business case
  • Customer Journey maps that model the customer’s experience from initial contact through long-term relationships
  • Technology asset models that show snapshots in time of architecture, data and application changes – both customer facing and operational systems impact the customer journey
  • A prioritized Transformational Roadmap that includes people, process and platform changes

DT is not a website refresh nor is it a shift to digital ad spends. DT is innovative and disruptive and will require a roadmap, many iterations and organizational change. Think about how the transformation will be communicated and changed over time. Models are great; use models that best fit your organizations history of strategic and architecture planning then add user experience objectives and customer journey maps.

 

Posted in News

Top 10 Reasons Why You Need API

1. First things first: Not having an API today is like not having a website in the 90s.

2. Spread your wings – reach more channels and devices that you can imagine.

WhyAPI

3. You need it because your competitor has it.

4. Collaborate with you partners more closely than ever.

5. New revenue opportunity as you build product (API) out of existing business functionality.

6. Grow customer loyalty and meet customer expectations.

7. Enhance company value and brand name.

8. Access any time and anywhere.

9. Innovation. As more people and partners use API, you get new ideas from their feedback and experience.

10. Increased Application Value as more platform or channels are available for integration.

3 Key Points in the Customer Experience Battle

Daniel Rabbitt over on our Oracle Blog had a great post on winning the customer experience battle. It was good enough that I wanted to summarize it and point you over to the larger post.

His basic point is that, “A great customer experience can be an asset more valuable than physical resource or intellectual property.” There are a few key points you need to consider:

  1. Consumption of innovation drives success in the cloud,  e.g. makes innovation important. Buy an asset or make an investment with the goal of innovation.
  2. 96% of consumers receive irrelevant ads and promotions ….  a huge pain point for me.
  3. Engage candidates for future needs. In other words, hire for what you want to become not what you face now.

See the entire article for more insight.

No Real Transformation Without Data & Security

Of the 10 top concerns of CIOs and CTOs, as reported in Janco Associates Annual Review, Consolidation of Legacy Data and Big Data both show up in the Top 5, and have moved up substantially from prior years’ surveys. Furthermore, In Forbes’ Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2015, “Drive Customer-Centric Innovation Throughout Your Organization”, comes in at #1.

This shows that CIOs and CTOs are becoming increasingly aware that they are in the hot seat for fixing their data mess. This is also a growing justification for introducing the Chief Data Officer role, most of the times, reporting directly to the CEO. The steady increase in concern also points to the urgency around becoming data-driven organizations in order to effectively support Business innovation and corporate objectives that are tied directly to the bottom-line.

If you look at the recent Security breaches at Sony, and elsewhere, it is clear that data and security are intertwined issues, and big impediments to digital business. Consequently, we also see the injection of predictive analytics in this discussion. For any real transformation to take place, especially around customer-centricity, organizations first need to become data-driven and must focus on addressing data, holistically, from a Process, People and Platform standpoint.

Posted in News

The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?

Customer centricity is no longer just a loaded buzzword used by marketers preaching tactics such as personalization and customer experience. Customer centricity is now a mind-set that companies need to adopt throughout the entire organization—not just marketing—to thrive in the digital world.

This quote from CMO.com’s article The ‘Age of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It? sums up nicely how we have evolved (or maybe suddenly transformed) into the customer-centric epoch.  The term “Age of the Customer” was coined by Forrester and aptly describes how access to information and the customer experience has shifted from companies to customers. This is why we keep seeing trends toward enhancing customer experience (see: Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?).

Michael Hinshaw, CEO of McorpCX describes this the “Era of Smart Customers”.  He says, “Smart customers are customers that leverage digital devices to access information, anywhere and anytime. What that means is the power in the relationship between companies and customers is in the process of shifting.”Customer Centricity

Customer-centricity is one of the driving factors for Digital Transformation.  To be customer-centric, companies need to bring together people, processes and systems from across the company, especially sales, marketing, customer service. If your company is acting in silos across these areas, customers will see it and move on if they can.

The article, linked below, provides a good overall description of the challenges in becoming customer-centric. Some key steps to take to overcome these challenges include the following:

  • Define ownership for becoming customer-centric.  This could mean appointing a Chief Customer Officer, setting up a steering committee, or some other organizational technique.
  • Define metrics and continually measure how you are doing.  Start with a baseline, set targets and hold people accountable to meet the targets.
  • Refine and coordinate across the business where it affects the customer.  We might call this Digital Transformation, but it goes beyond the ‘digital’ part.  It is really about transforming culture and operations as well as the systems.
  • Connect with your customer.  Get feedback, encourage honest dialog about what you do and don’t do right.

Source: The ‘Age Of The Customer’ Is Here. What Are You Doing About It?