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Last week, we hosted our most recent Digital Enterprise Boot Camp in Chicago. This three-day training event was a good way for us to collaborate with some of the world’s leading CIOs and digital transformation project teams, and the event provided some good takeaways for those about to embark on a related initiative in the coming months.

The event was attended by thought leaders from as close as Chicago to as far as Singapore. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Pivoting from a traditional ERP software mentality to a digital transformation is easier said than done. CIOs and others in the IT profession have developed a lot of bad habits over the last 30 years of enterprise software initiatives, so embracing different approaches can be a difficult proposition. Traditional waterfall development approaches, big ERP software, myopic focus on technology and limiting your options to the same Tier I ERP vendors are examples of things that may have worked in the past, but aren’t always the best answer in today’s age. These tectonic shifts in thinking can be easier said than done.

The sooner you incorporate best practices into your digital transformation initiative, the better. The earlier you embed proven tools and methods into your digital transformation, the faster, cheaper and more effectively you will implement your process and system changes. If you wait too long, it is going to cost you a lot more time, money, risk and diluted business benefits, so it is important to take your time to ensure you have things well-defined up front. Even if it means slowing down the initial stages of your project to ensure you have a solid strategy in place, this will be time and money well-spent that will deliver exponential savings later.

Organizational change management doesn’t have to be vague and undefined. It is very common for CIOs, other IT professionals and executives to have a shaky understanding of organizational change management. Some go so far as to despise the word because it doesn’t mean anything to them. This is all understandable since so many consultants and other industry leaders don’t understand the concept. However, it isn’t rocket science and doesn’t need to be a purely “touchy feely” term – it’s simply a matter of applying some basic methodologies and frameworks to ensure that you are adequately addressing the people side of your initiative.

Business process management is a key to digital transformation. Your desired business processes should drive a majority of your technology decisions – not the other way around. Time and resources spent clearly mapping out your reengineered business processes will provide a strong foundation for your evaluation, selection and implementation of new enterprise technologies. And don’t fall for the misguided, vendor-driven adage that technology will drive your new business processes because it won’t. Today’s technology is too flexible to assume that any one technology contains silver bullets that will define your processes for you.

Ensure you approach your digital transformation with independence and objectivity. Ask an ERP software vendor which system or systems should enable a digital transformation, and they will generally say that their suite of products should drive those changes. However, gone are the days of single, big ERP systems. Best-of-breed and “best of” technologies are much more viable now than they were in the past, so it is important not to limit your options. This is why it is so important to hire independent digital transformation consultants to help guide you through the journey (feel free to contact us for help!).

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