Statistics suggest a grim reality: 70% of transformations are unsuccessful, which probably holds true for planning transformations as well. Planning transformations are heavily digital-centric and are designed to boost performance by lowering costs, reducing inventory, and improving customer satisfaction and planner productivity—many of the things needed to stay competitive. But the scope of planning transformations is potentially mind-bending, given the degree of change involved as you move through the transformation waves, from using spreadsheets to advanced planning solutions to artificial intelligence and, at the peak, creating an integrated end-to-end planning platform.
So how do you chart your course towards that magical moment when the long-relied-upon spreadsheets are abandoned, and the new systems consistently support and guide planning activities? How do you capture the essence of what planning transformation means for your organisation, and how do you approach the challenge to ensure its success? Let’s explore the six critical factors that emerged from analysing companies that achieved successful transformations:
- Shared vision and well-communicated strategy: These successful companies embraced a shared vision and communicated it through a well-defined strategy. This strategy not only outlined the ‘why’ but also the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ all tied to specific, quantified business outcomes.
- Strong top management sponsorship and involvement: High-level sponsorship and involvement, spanning from top management to middle management, were evident in these organisations.
- Engagement of top-tier talent: These companies ensured the involvement of top-tier talent, dedicating the most capable resources to drive the transformation programme.
- Cultivation of an agile governance mindset and culture: A culture that actively promoted change, marked by an agile governance mindset, was nurtured. Leaders responded swiftly to roadblocks, adapted to changing circumstances, and instilled cross-functional behavioural change throughout the organisation.
- Regular tracking of results vs. desired outcomes: These organisations consistently tracked their progress against desired outcomes. They established clear KPIs and targets related to processes and outcomes, with regular reviews and actions. This included leading indicators for monitoring adoption and lagging indicators for performance tracking.
- Robust employee engagement and effective communication: Strong employee engagement and impactful communication strategies were central to success. Clear communication forums were established to align employees with common goals, address resistance and concerns, and ultimately foster understanding and trust. These communications empowered employees by motivating them, managing expectations, and creating a feedback loop for continuous improvement throughout the transformation process.
Whether you’re embarking on the initial stages of your planning transformation journey, actively overseeing a planning transformation programme, or seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of a recent transformation and boost adoption, explore our planning transformation assessment tool. It offers invaluable insights into assessing your readiness across these six critical dimensions of change, equipping you with the knowledge to avoid becoming one of the daunting statistics!
Authors: Dave Alberts and Caline El Mir