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The heart of a transformation project is change but transformation itself should start with value. Why? Well, a business may be looking to transform because you want to stay relevant and resilient against disruption.

But when you come down to the crux of it, you stay relevant and resilient when you provide more, better or new value to your customers.

Value is important because it can help you please your stakeholders which is what helps you stay competitive. From your employees (from C-suite and board level to end users of a system) to customers, focusing on what means most to them helps ensure your transformation is a success.

Value creation tips

Putting it into perspective

What I often see are transformation projects with goals such as:

  • Enhancing productivity
  • Improving the top line
  • Reducing costs
  • Improving product quality
  • Reducing manual processes

Have you also considered how those goals will benefit your stakeholders? For example, a senior manager might care about the impact of the transformation on their business initiatives. A board director might look at it from a business objectives perspective. While your system end user might see it as improving their day-to-day responsibilities.

Know how to answer the fundamental “what’s in it for me?” question. This will help you position your goals to the individual stakeholder, making it easier for you to gain their buy-in.

Not addressing this question is precisely why 70% of transformations fail. Remember that a transformation project is not just about the technology implementation. If it was, it wouldn’t be called a transformation; it would just be a system upgrade.

Instead, transformations are about extracting the value in what you’re trying to deliver (a system upgrade, process change, structural reorganisation etc), tying that in with your stakeholders’ motivations and aligning them to one cause.

Why can’t it just be a system upgrade?

Let’s use ERP systems as an example. I always think if you’re going to put in a new ERP system, you’re going to change most areas of your organisation. So, you might as well take the transformational approach - you’re going to need to do that work anyway.

When businesses want to upgrade their systems because there’s a new feature they want to take advantage of, they end up being driven by features and functions. Not what the business actually needs. So, they then end up in a situation where they don’t choose a system for what they actually need.

That’s why ERP upgrades (or system upgrades) should be transformational. They need to revolve around the value.

So, what is classed as value?

What is value creation

Value can come in various forms. Though financial gain is one of them, it’s not the only example. Value is any improvement perceived as beneficial for your internal and external stakeholders. For example, one group of stakeholders within an organisation might see value as increasing revenue while another might focus on process improvements within functions. A CFO, a production director and a CEO will likely all have different ideas of what classifies as ‘value’ to them.

So, ask yourself:

  • What are you transforming?
  • What do you want to do/achieve?

Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas, which is a technique we use at Columbus, might help. Initially developed by Dr Alexander Osterwalder, it helps businesses ensure a fit between products and the market.

The canvas consists of your customer profile and the value map.

Customer profile - aimed to help you visualise your understanding of your audience, it’s made up of:

  • Jobs the customer wants to get done - these could be functional, social or emotional
  • Customer pains - what frustrates them when they’re trying to get the above jobs done
  • Customer gains - how customers measure the success of a job well done

Value map - aimed to clarify how your products and services relieve pain and create gain, it’s made up of:

  • Products and services your value proposition builds on
  • Pain relievers - these describe how your products/services relieve pain for customers
  • Gain creators - how your products/services produce or increase the benefits/outcomes your customers want

Together, the canvas will help you achieve a fit between what matters to customers and how your products/services ease pain and create gains. You may find that your customers have many jobs to complete and many pains to relieve but your value map will help highlight the ones you want to focus on.


Discover how you can truly put value first

It’s all and well being recommended to put value first but you may now be wondering… how do you do that? At Columbus, we’re offering a free session that covers a key part of our Value First approach.

In this taster session which will last 2-4 hours, you’ll learn how to envision and identify your opportunities for new value. Learn how to:

  • Build a clear, bold, compelling vision for new value
  • Gain strategic alignment and business-wide buy-in on the priorities

Click the button below to sign up for your session.

Register for the taster session


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