Are you ready for a transformation?

Posted On by Michelle Stölting

“If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours sharpening my axe,” Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as saying. Good preparation is key when embarking on any project, but even more so for a digital transformation that impacts the entire organisation, for instance when a quote-to-cash (QTC) project is implemented. An organisational readiness assessment will reveal what gaps need to be addressed before the programme gets under way.

4C has developed a QTC organisational readiness assessment: over a period of a couple of weeks, we organise a survey among a fixed number of employees at the customer’s location, run workshops involving all stakeholders and present a matrix that highlights the different gaps with a heatmap.

Are you curious to know how ready your organisation is for a digital transformation? Find the answers to five questions for a first readiness assessment below. Answering these five questions does, of course, not replace the entire assessment, but they already give you a good idea of what gaps you may need to fill.

Do you have a roadmap?

Knowing where the organisation is heading, is a key success factor for any project, and even more so for a project that spans different divisions. A roadmap not only looks at the goals the company wants to achieve, but also at what kinds of systems they want to use to achieve operational excellence. Here again, a holistic view on the processes is fundamental: Sales may be content with a simple CRM tool but, as other divisions are involved, the roadmap will consider all tooling such as a customer service tool, CPQ & Billing, etc. A good roadmap will also include the plan of how to get there in different phases, for instance starting with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and gradually expanding functionality and breadth of the programme.

What workstreams are critical for your QTC project?

A QTC programme runs through an entire organisation and will affect all workstreams in the departments involved. Sales will have to change their way of working and so does the finance team, the legal team, Operations, etc… They will therefore be heavily involved in defining the new workstreams and change their way of working post-transformation. Prioritising the different workstreams is important and can be dealt with using the MoSCoW principle of Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have. This is actually part of the roadmap and will also define the timeline of the programme. For instance, in some QTC programmes, marketing workstreams may not get involved in the initial phase but will be added later.

Are your business units aligned?

Although a QTC programme usually starts within one department, mainly Sales or Finance, for a project to really work well, all business units will have to be aligned in working towards the same goals. QTC typically involves Sales, Finance, Operations and Legal. Each business unit will have a different result they want to achieve. Sales will want to increase its effectiveness and spend less time on creating proposals. Finance will want to make sure that no invoices or payments fall between the cracks. Yet despite these different expectations, it is necessary that each department knows what the impact of its actions are on other business units. The systems and processes need to be aligned to make this work, and each department needs to know where their responsibilities start and end, and where the handover to other departments lies.

Are you aligned on change management?

A transformational project has a huge impact on the whole company, so it is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Transforming without effective change management and change communication is prone to failure. Before starting on a project, it is important to know if an organisation has experience with change management through similar projects and what lessons learned can be applied to the new project. This part of the readiness assessment also thinks about what training may be needed, what the impact of the project is on staffing (does the company need more people, or do positions become redundant?), what communication channels are available and who will drive communication.

What gaps exist and how can we address them?

The readiness assessment will usually find several gaps that need to be filled before the project can start. Experience shows us these gaps are different in size and origin from one organisation to the next, but most of the time we find gaps in the same areas:

  • Business commitment
  • Corporate culture and change
  • Levels of process maturity and documentation
  • Alignment with business goals and objectives
  • Data management and accuracy
  • Customer-centricity
  • System training and support

Sometimes skill sets are missing, there is a lack of customer focus, there is no clear vision on the processes that will be automated, there is no proper documentation, or data sets are not clean enough before they are migrated. Many of these gaps can be addressed in the advisory-led design phase so that the project can go ahead as planned and need not be delayed. An organisational readiness assessment gives a company new insights on their strengths and weaknesses. But, above all, it’s a key factor in delivering a QTC project successfully. Interested in finding out more? Let me know.