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How to Master The Complexity of Service Transformation

An interview with our CEO and some key ideas on how to approach transformation complexity
  • Matthias Voss
    Matthias Voss
    Sunday, March 22, 2020
An overview of some key ideas on how to approach transformation complexity
It has been almost a year now since I started working for transentis consulting, managing events and producing digital content.
One of our key topics here at transentis is to help enterprises transform. Recently I had the opportunity to ask our managing director Dr. Oliver Grasl three questions on Mastering The Complexity of Service Transformation.
Matthias: Oliver, why is service transformation relevant to enterprises?
Oliver:  First of all, there is a general trend towards service orientation and especially towards digital services. Though this has been going on for some time now, there are still surprisingly many enterprises that are only just starting on the path to digitization.
But there is another trend that is relevant here – markets are becoming more and more dynamic (and unreliable), with intense competition and a very high rate of innovation. Due to this trend, even highly digitized, high-tech companies are forced to make frequent and widespread changes to their service portfolio. And for them, it is more difficult in some ways because there are few low-hanging fruits.
I expect that in the future, enterprises will be in a state of permanent transformation … those enterprises who are highly adaptive and have a solid transformation methodology will definitely have a competitive advantage.
Matthias: What exactly makes transformation projects so difficult?
Oliver: Enterprises themselves are complex and making any change in a complex system is a challenge. Modern digitized services, in particular, rely on a complex web of people, processes and IT, often spanning multiple organizations. Designing new business services in such a complex environment is hard … but it is just as hard to implement them and bring them to market in a timely manner. But interestingly what causes transformation projects to stall or even fail are rarely the core objectives of the transformation, it often boils down to a mix of these three issues:
  • Not getting key players on board. The most important thing is to identify all key stakeholders and domain experts and involve them early and continuously.
  • Failing to manage the big picture. In order to manage large transformation programs, you have to master the art of seeing the big picture without losing sight of the details. This is especially relevant because you will be involving so many people with different roles and backgrounds and will be generating many creative ideas. It is then very difficult to keep an overview, there is a danger of getting caught up in details. Everyone is working hard on something but the results are not coming together to a coherent whole.
  • Not striking the right balance between being creative and being systematic. You need to find an approach that allows you to be both creative and innovative on the one hand but effective and efficacious on the other hand. The key point here is that there is no “one size fits all” approach –if you are too rigorous in a smaller transformation endeavor, you stifle creativity and turn your project into a bureaucracy. If you are not rigorous enough in a larger one, everything turns into chaos.
Matthias: How does transentis solve these problems in transformation projects?
Oliver: First of all, we work in sprints to get feedback early and regularly. We use sprint workshops to develop creative ideas in a short period of time with the help of experts from different domains – this works very well even in virtual, online workshops. We capture the information in workshops using virtual whiteboards such as Miro and later transfer the information into enterprise models using business design tools such as Enterprise Studio or Enterprise Architect. These tools are key to managing the big picture without losing sight of the details.
Matthias: Well, thank you Oliver for these and great insights. Where can I or our readers find out more?
Oliver: Well we have recently published a case study Mastering The Complexity of Service Transformation that exactly tackles this problem, that is a good starting point. You can also check in to our regular meetup onTransforming Enterprises Meetup.