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Lessons in Digital Transformation - from the Payday Podcast

Dec 5, 2019  | Topic: Change Management

Digital transformation projects are among the most challenging initiatives an organization can ever face — especially when that project is being rolled out on a global scale.

Many such projects fail to launch, and many more fail to deliver on their promises. But when executed successfully, they can change the game for a company’s competitive position and strategy.

Needless to say, valuable lessons can be learned from those who have been there and done it.

That’s why we invited Brian Sommer, founder of TechVentive and author of Digital With Impact: Realizing Transformation Payoffs, to share his expertise on our latest Payday podcast.

An expert in the technology services arena, Brian has advised on countless transformation initiatives across his 25 years in the field.

In our two-part podcast on “Lessons In Digital Transformation,” he shares these experiences with CloudPay’s David Barak, shedding light on transformation projects from an HR and Payroll perspective…

Is your organization ready for change?

Among the key questions raised in this insightful podcast, is the preparedness of your organization for change.

In Brian’s experience, most organizations are riddled with inefficiencies, which means they don’t have a viable base from which to launch an effective transformation.

“A lot of companies frankly just aren’t in any position to do it. If you peeked under the covers, you’d be amazed to find out that, while the company still gets its payroll done, it’s like sausage-making and legislation, you really don’t want to know how they’re getting it done!

This lack of readiness, says Brian, leads many companies to make a huge mistake in the way they tackle transformation.

“What happens? The company tries to do incremental change rather than transformational change — and that is a death sentence.”

Find out why the incremental approach doesn’t work, by listening to part one of the podcast here >>

Four key steps to successful digital transformation

As well as looking at the reasons behind “transformational misfires,” the podcast also highlights how organizations get it right, with Brian introducing a pragmatic four-step framework that operations, HR, and payroll leaders can use to engineer digital success.

It starts with The Scan, a discovery phase where companies identify the “art of the possible”. This stage, says Brian, isn’t just about assessing what technology is available to meet your needs today, but building towards the “point of convergence” when two or three new capabilities will reach maturity at the same time.

The Ideation stage asks how your business would use the technology. How would you redesign your processes with the software’s support? This stage helps put “meat on the bones” of your project plan and sets out your vision for transformation.

Often overlooked, according to Brian, is the Reconcile stage, an opportunity for organizations to recognise overreach and align ideals with reality. Do you have the people, the skills, the capital, and the leaders to drive the initiative?

Only when all these stages have been completed can you carry out the final stage: the transformation work itself. And Brian warns it won’t be easy…

Listen to the Payday podcast now >>

The role of the vendor

Crucial for companies beginning The Scan is understanding the role of the vendor in enabling digital transformation projects. Brian explores this in detail in part two of the podcast.

Asserting that “the software vendors you’ve been dealing with for 20 or 30 years may not be the ones to take you into the digital age,” he identifies how organizations can avoid the common pitfalls of vendor evaluation and side-step suppliers who over-promise and under-deliver.

He recommends taking tightly scripted scenarios to potential vendors, challenging them not just to showcase functionality, but to solve specific business problems.

“If they can’t show you it during the demo,” says Brian, “they certainly won’t be able to deliver it in real life.”

More key questions answered

In the two-part podcast, you’ll also learn:

  • Why transformation projects may become the norm every three years
  • Who should be leading transformation projects — and why many companies don’t have a suitable leader in-house
  • How Global Payroll Leaders or HR DIrectors can take the reins of a transformation project, even without political capital in the company
  • Where to find allies in the organization to help you drive change projects (and why it pays to partner with Marketing)
  • Which companies are getting digital transformation right and why a culture of continuous improvement is key

To discover all this and more, check out the podcast now at

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