Boardman International Blog: What Strategic Ingredients to Consider in Your Technology Transformation Recipe?

Boardman International Blog: What Strategic Ingredients to Consider in Your Technology Transformation Recipe?

I have spent 22 years leading, delivering, and selling technology transformations. Back in the days the tech transformations were very inwards-oriented emerging from the CEO’s one-company global operating model mandate. This was the booming world of large-scale ERP implementations where focus was on internal efficiency, productivity, and cost optimization.

Rashmi Kasat leads Equipment Performance for Metso’s Mining customer segment, and she is a Member of the Boardman International Working Group.

Since then, the world has changed dramatically and today with the invent of modern technologies like GenAI it seems to change daily. Today the focus has shifted outwards towards customers and using technology to make them successful and in return capturing a larger share of wallet. Another strategic aspect is turning the operating model on its head through massive efficiency, productivity gains and restructuring for leaner organisations with use of AI.

During this time, my career also has progressed from having worked in product development, sales, merchandising to technology consulting for clients in a Market segment, to leading digital business development and transformations in traditional product sales environment, to R&D and now to digital product management.

During my two decades of cross-functional career transitions, I have seen immense successes and unfortunately also failures in technology transformations. These experiences have shaped by perspectives on what sets apart successful technology transformations from the ones that fail. We will investigate the ingredients for a successful technology transformation through the following strategic lenses in a multi-part blog series.

Lens 1 Role of Technology in your strategy –The WHY

Lens 2 What could derail your technology transformation – The HOW

Lens 3 Putting right people in the right place and transforming the culture through technology – the WHO

Let us deep dive into Lens 1 then.

The Role of Technology in Your Strategy

Strategic frameworks like PESTEL allow to recognize how up and coming technologies could be a total game changer for your customer industry and yours.

Technology: Game Changer or Not?

What is a total game changing technology? In my experience this is the first point of failure even before the idea of transformation is born, i.e. the failure to not have distilled clarity what this game changer really is (qualification) and how game changing is it really (quantification).

  • Does it bring a step-change to the company’s or its customers production method e.g., in process industries?
  • Does it transform the supply chain massively and add dollars to the bottom line and drastically reduce CO2 emissions?
  • Does it drastically change the way a company delivers services to customers?
  • Does it revolutionize sales and double the win rate?

It is not game changing, if there is no huge competitive advantage and even if the technology is interesting in general, it is not a match to your business or at least not in the near-term.

I have seen companies not choose one, nor two, but up to higher tens of such “game changing” initiatives. If there are hundreds of possibilities to change the game, at least good part of those is surely known to the competition, which means in effect, there is no competitive advantage to be had.

So, decision is tough – what to choose from the laundry list and what to let go, I feel you. There is no Oracle available to see what will be a huge hit and what will fail. So companies take the easy path and start several of these “game changing” initiatives at once and see what sticks. In my experience this is the moment to stop and think.

Back to Basics or Back to the Future?

Good and experienced leaders know to expect these dilemmas. Here is where they ask the classic question: “What’s my core business?” And, if the core is dying: “What’s the next, new and lucrative?”

If your core is healthy and has potential to grow and if technology can accelerate that growth, the answer is right there. What game changing thing I need to do to grow this core fast? And how can the latest technologies help to achieve that in a simple and fast cycle? If it cannot be done fast, however game changing it is, just forget it. Your core business is a red ocean, which means it will boil over and evaporate faster than you can even think without fast actions.

If the core is dying, then you are looking for new revenue streams, either new businesses or new business models. Again, the question remains the same – How can this latest technology help to find and/or expand the new business or business model in a simple and fast cycle? Again, with a dying core, you must act fast, should you not? And ask yourself, if you are going to choose an overly complex path to this technology transformation with several initiatives at once, will it in your wildest dream be also super-fast in your complex organization?

In the complexity and busyness of daily operations, these simple, yet powerful questions take a back seat. Funny enough, then we hire one of the Big Fours and they come and start exploring answers to exactly these remarkably simple, core, back to basic questions.

Tip: Keep things simple and basic because the execution is, as we know, complex even for the simplest of strategies. Remember that transformations means people and people means naturally resistance. Expect this complexity right at the start and don’t overcomplicate and overengineer your transformation strategy and its place in your business.

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Rashmi Kasat has a long background leading IT and Digital transformations in B2B global Industrial companies. She currently leads Equipment Performance for Metso’s Mining customer segment. Her daily work is about making minerals processing equipment more intelligent & sustainable with use of sensors, data, AI, cloud and other digital technologies. Kasat is a Boardman Member and a Member of the Boardman International Working Group.