Surviving the Analog-to-Digital Transition (Part 2): Identifying Metrics, Workflow Process & Leadership
While analog systems and processes are comfortable to long-term employees who seriously dislike change, those same systems will repel new, younger talent who are more tech savvy.
Last month we explored steps to help you understand the why and how to begin migration toward digital transformation. Those two steps have helped our clients reimagine their business processes.
Creating business processes should not occur in the vacuum of a boardroom. The air is rarified and often does not connect with the reality of leading teams forward. Why is this important?
Orders from above can be viewed with a lack of commitment by your troops, making execution of those plans fall short of expected business outcomes. Execution is delivered by the people who do the work. If their input is not “heard” by management, they will not own the outcomes, regardless of your KPI or MBO processes. Let’s move on to the next step.
Step 3: Pick the right metrics to measure your current analog processes to establish a baseline for evaluating future digital transformation improvements. Keep them simple. Limit them to one-two per department. Complexity is the fastest way to kill any change initiative. Here are some examples to kickstart your thinking:
- Sales: Closing ratio between proposals and contracts; number of days from survey to proposal delivery.
- Operations: Variance of expected and actual gross margins; labor hours estimated vs. hours used.
- Service: Average time a service ticket takes to close; customer satisfaction survey results.
- Support: Average response time to customer inquiries; accuracy in billing and collections.
Suggestion: Your metrics will expand when it becomes easier to capture and evaluate datapoints. If you are challenged gathering metrics today, it is probably because analog processes do not give up data without lots of time to manually dig them out. A key benefit of digital transformation initiatives.
Step 4: Choose a workflow process to address what will yield the greatest results for as many people as possible. Keeping your focus narrow will help the team gain early wins, develop their confidence and reduce resistance to change. Your results from Step 3 will help determine the direction and selection of a digital transformation solution.
Once you choose a workflow process to attack with digital weapons, take the time to bring your team back together to vet the solution. How will it help them? What challenges will it present? How will those challenges be proactively addressed?
Suggestion: Having a strong sales background I am a bit biased, but the old computer saying “garbage in = garbage out” is so true for a sales team. The first priority of any salesperson is to qualify opportunities and the correct customer contact(s). The second priority is to deliver clarity of differentiation and expectations.
Lastly, is to accurately gather customer expectations and facility details to quickly deliver a complete, accurate and competitive proposal. Choose a digital transformation solution that delivers on these metrics for greater success.
Step 5: Identify the transformation leadership team that will be accountable for progress, adoption and expected outcomes.
Start with the “executive sponsor” role. You will need a senior manager who has the authority and backbone to clear out obstacles to progress. This will take both finesse (persuasion) and force (authority) in equal parts. They will also need good communication skills to ensure their expectations are clearly understood.
Next you will need a “process project manager.” This role must have GREAT communication, time management and prioritization skills. A little charisma mixed with a fair but firm reputation can speed adoption along much faster. They will need to have backbone and authority for decisions, as well as a dotted line or direct reporting relationship to the executive sponsor.
Finally, you will need a good technical person with time and priority management skills to build and maintain the administrative databases that digital transformation solutions depend upon for accuracy and metric reports.
Suggestion: Establish a realistic timeline for implementation and the time it will take to accomplish the necessary tasks. Recognize that these roles may be in addition to current job duties that will be competing for their attention and time. Adjust their workloads for successful implementation. There will be a direct correlation between the time they can focus on the project, and the speed of implementation to deliver the business outcome.
Profitability, stress reduction and customer satisfaction are the three key goals that make this effort worthwhile.
A key security industry trend to consider is that we are rapidly losing our most seasoned associates to retirement, and at the same time there is a shallow end to the talent pool to dive into. While analog systems and processes are comfortable to long-term employees who seriously dislike change, those same systems will repel new, younger talent who are more tech savvy. This will seriously impair your ability to grow your business.
Get on the digital transformation rollercoaster and enjoy the ride!
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