Business Transformation - Transforming Beyond Technology

This blog accompanies our Charter Engage: Know IT podcast, "CHARTER’S BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION ROADSHOW: A Practical Approach to Business Transformation." 🎧 Listen Now It also complements the Blog "Business Transformation Made Easier" 📖 Read Now

Why Transform?

Recently, we have seen an enormous increase in discussion around Digital Transformation. It is prevalent in every industry, regardless of scale, existing digital maturity, or governance model. This is, of course, a good thing, and reflects a growing awareness that digitization can assist companies in achieving their business goals and meeting their stakeholder expectations.

But rather than being driven by buzzwords, hype, or the latest analyst company saying, “Every company is a tech company,” the desire to transform your business should come from an intention of meeting stakeholder expectations. So, we must always start the conversation with “Why?”

There are as many answers to the “Why?” question as there are people asking it. But, regardless of whether your business wants to drive growth, increase revenue, satisfy your shareholders, or engage your customers, digital transformation can help. Likewise, digital transformation can help you overcome the limitations holding your company back, such as unresponsiveness to market demands, high risk of operational failure, and low satisfaction of your various stakeholders.

The answer to “Why?” can, therefore, be simplified to four key goals:

• Agility

• Experience

• Resiliency

• Scalability

Is Digital Transformation Enough?

The problem we are seeing is that if we focus purely on technology, we often overlook the other two key pillars in the pyramid that hold your business together - the people and the processes. Without this, we are prone to over-reliance on technology and are surprised when the systems we have invested so heavily in fail us.

Charter has, therefore, found great value in helping our customers broaden the discussion beyond Digital Transformation to Business Transformation - to create a roadmap that leads to similar outcomes, but with much higher organizational resilience.

By expanding our scope to include the three pillars, or people, process, and policy, we create a stronger foundation to build our future business upon, which, in turn, leads to better outcomes for all stakeholders.

How Does Business Transformation Work?

Business Transformation differs from Digital Transformation by going back before a new desirable technology solution is discovered, and looks at the current state of the business, focuses on the outcomes the business wants to achieve, and then creates a roadmap for how to get there. This, in turn, may involve technological solutions to achieve, but may identify processes and structural changes that can drive those outcomes as well.

The tools to create these outcomes are well, many, and varied. Business Architecture, Design Thinking, TOGAF, ISO, IEC - the names and acronyms come hard and fast. But inside these tool sets are well-proven and understood methodologies, which can apply well to businesses of any scale.

I highlight the scale issue for a good reason, though. Business Transformation is often tarred with the image of large consulting organizations offering projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, taking enormous amounts of time, effort, and money to complete. Many of these projects are highly successful, but they appear out of reach to a small company in Canada wanting to grow from $50M to $100M of revenue over the next five years.

Charter believes that these evolutions of your business should be achievable and affordable, to allow for the growth, in both the Commercial and Enterprise marketplace, as well as for those in publicly funded Organizations, where budgets are strictly monitored.

To summarize the Business Transformation process:

• Assess

• Roadmap

• Design

• Implement

How Do People Impact Business Transformation?

People provide the engine of every company. Even as we move towards more automation, Artificial Intelligence, outsourcing, Cloud Services, and any number of other tools to assist companies in achieving their goals, we keep coming back to people.

It is important not to limit which people we are referring to in this context. Customers, staff, owners, and any stakeholder are a part of the people, process, and technology triangle.

The concept of Design Thinking is a common tool in the Business Transformation process, and its key differentiator, to other design and architecture approaches, is to show empathy towards all the stakeholders and work out what it is they need, experience, and desire.

Looking at the great brands across all markets, we see an unrelenting desire to please all stakeholders, resulting in enthusiastic customers, loyal staff, and committed investors. By walking in the shoes of our customers, we can see what their expectations and experiences are, and can fine-tune our offerings to their needs. By equipping our employees well, we can make them more efficient and empowered while offering a greater sense of reward. Investors and owners want to see growth in their portfolios, but this should come with a sense of pride in their investments and confidence in future success.

One other key component of the “people pillar” is that of resourcing. As you plan to transform, it is critical that resourcing is considered, where and how you find people, train them, and manage them is key to a good outcome.

What Part Does Process Play?

Process is the structure that your business is built upon. Knowing how things work, what requirements must be met, and how we measure success provides clarity and insight into the business.

Beginning with Business Architecture, moving forward goes from a reactive mode to a planned model. Business Architecture lays out all the objectives you want to meet and structures your path toward those outcomes.

Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) maps out all of the external and internal policies and required processes that the business needs to operate and minimizes the risk of oversight or error in day-to-day operations. Some processes will be forced upon you by external stakeholders, while some will be chosen internally to help meet business objectives.

Similarly, good corporate citizenship is increasingly expected by your stakeholders, Environmental, Social, and Governmental (ESG) policies overlap with GRC requirements in building the foundation on which your business operates.

Business Continuity and Business Recovery processes are other key components of process improvement. Whether it be physical security, cyber security, or disaster planning, knowing what you need to protect, how to protect it, and how to respond to a disaster can ensure a business survives the unthinkable.

Process can also be a springboard for Business Transformation, but by clearly documenting and structuring your operational processes, we often discover opportunities for automation and efficiency. Taking those insights and looking for repetitive tasks, identifying redundant steps, improving supply chain management, and many other improvements can result in a streamlined business.

When Do I Consider Technology?

Digital Transformation and technology solutions walk hand in hand with the other two pillars of Business Transformation. Technology offers unique ways to improve your business. While technology can do so many different things, I see it in oversimplified terms as offering visibility and control, which can help every step of your business.

Visibility” can be both physical and logical, providing real-world awareness of everything happening in your business, as well as insights into the overall process and business outcomes. By placing sensors on a truck, we can track its location, mechanical status, productivity, environment, and more. Likewise, cameras and sensors on a human can provide protection and awareness that may tune the business process or may even save a life.

By capturing data from every part of the business we can monitor in real time how our business is performing and how we might be able to improve it. In the past data has often been isolated from business, in spreadsheets, applications, and purpose-built databases. Recent advances in data aggregation, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence have provided new insights into any-sized businesses that were, in the past, exclusively limited to the largest and most technically capable organizations.

Control” is how technology delivers on the business need - be it running a manufacturing plant, securing a door, or delivering applications to users. When used within your business, it can provide insight to a field worker as they approach a broken machine, showing them how to fix it, or putting them in direct contact with an expert who can assist them.

The more we know about our organization from a visibility perspective, the more technology can be used to control and improve your operational environment and accelerate your business. But again, every investment made should be aligned with your business goals and deliver on one or more of the goals mentioned above - agility, experience, resiliency, and scalability.

Where Do I Begin?

Charter is very aware that this process can seem daunting - and we highly recommend a structured approach that can be absorbed by any business. Starting with a simple discovery phase, moving through a Design Thinking approach, and building an achievable and realistic roadmap is the first step in the process.

At that point making sure the people and policies are in place ensures the successful adoption of new solutions that will assist you in achieving your desired outcomes.

As you begin to implement new tools, technologies, or processes, start small, with carefully chosen projects that can be used as learning opportunities for future, larger engagements. These bell-weather projects provide experience and confidence when successful, but also provide lower-impact, “fail-fast” scenarios when the desired outcomes are not met.

Watch for a follow-up to this Blog from one of our Business Architects, Wade Crick, to see in more detail how to start your business transformation journey.

How Can Charter Help?

Charter offers a variety of services to assist customers in transforming their businesses, across all three pillars of people, process, and technology.

Charter Business Architecture can assist with the fundamental process of Business and Digital Transformation and building a roadmap for your organization.

Charter Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) offers full compliance capabilities, to assist you in assessing your alignment with regulatory requirements and overcoming gaps where discovered.

Charter Security Services works with customers to build a comprehensive security framework and toolkit to protect your business from inside and outside threats.

Charter Cloud Services can advise customers on how best to select and adopt the right Cloud for your business needs, from Infrastructure, to Platform, to Software as a Service solutions.

Charter Modern Workplace will assist in mapping the evolving landscape of desktop and mobile applications to provide world-class user experiences to all your stakeholders.

Charter Application Services can develop applications and AI solutions to drive insights and operational efficiencies into your business, using full, low, or no code solutions to meet your demands.

Charter Managed Services provides fully managed service capability to take the burden of day-to-day operations off your shoulders, so your team can focus on Business Transformation efforts.

Charter Staff Augmentation delivers skilled and capable hands and experts allowing your business to respond to demand and be agile when needed.

Please contact Charter at for more information.

About the Author
Ronnie Scott, Charter, Chief Technology Officer

Ronnie Scott has over 35 years of broad IT experience, including programming, network architecture, as well as senior consultative roles for Financial Services, Internet Service Providers, ILEC Carrier Networks, and large enterprise customers across New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

Ronnie is currently the CTO at Charter Telecom Inc, a Value-Added Reseller specializing in IT service delivery. As CTO, Ronnie brings his extensive technological background with a strong Business and Service Delivery lens to Enterprise IT Infrastructure solutions.

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About Charter

Charter, an award-winning IT solution and managed services provider, was founded in 1997 in Victoria, BC, Canada. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of innovative IT solutions, managed services, project delivery, and consulting services. Our mission is to align people, process, and technologies to build better organizations, enhance communication, boost operational performance, and modernize businesses. Our team of experts leverages a business architecture methodology and a human-centered design approach to drive successful digital transformations for our clients, unlocking new opportunities, generating value, and promoting growth. We provide knowledge and support that extends beyond our clients’ businesses, empowering them to focus on their core operations.

Business in Vancouver Magazine has recognized Charter as one of the "Top 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in B.C. in 2023" based on 5-year revenue growth from 2018 - 2022.

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