Behind the Buzzword: Business Transformation

September 27, 2017 Leah Hoffmann

what is business transformation - butterfly

In an era rife with disruption, the definition of transformation is, well, changing.

Not sure your company can keep up? Read the latest piece in our Behind the Buzzword series to learn more about what’s in store for the future of change.

What is business transformation?

Transformation is about reinventing the way you do business: teams, workflows, processes, and even strategies, based on a new vision for the future. It’s larger than change management in both scale and scope. Rather than executing a defined revision, say, to your budgeting process, transformation demands that you coordinate an interdependent set of initiatives that cut across functions and business units and enable the entire enterprise to adapt to large-scale changes in the market.

So what’s changed?

As the pace of market change accelerates, so, too, has the need for transformation. Its scope has widened, too. The term once referred to the way you would reinvent an organization or change a culture. Now, it’s a framework for approaching initiatives as diverse as post-merger integration—where you might aim not to fold one culture into another but draw from both to build something new—to large scale cost-cutting efforts.

What are some common transformation initiatives?

Here are some of the transformation initiatives that Business Talent Group clients have prioritized recently:

  • Post-merger integration
  • HR, IT, and marketing transformations
  • Process changes
  • Performance improvement
  • Strategic cost-cutting
  • Organizational redesign
  • Operational effectiveness

What makes transformation challenging?

Change is always difficult, but large-scale transformations carry unique risks. Though individual initiatives might succeed, the overall transformation could still fail. Redeploying internal resources to transformation efforts can also be disruptive to daily work and revenue generation. Finally, the scale at which large corporations operate makes it difficult to quickly shift staff to the areas where they’re needed most.

On the other hand, the cost of doing nothing can be even greater (just ask Blockbuster).

How can companies set themselves up for success?

Transformation leaders traditionally had two options when faced with a large initiative:

  1. Manage the work internally by shifting top performers off their day-to-day jobs—retaining control over process and outcome, but compromising business performance.
  2. Outsource to a consulting firm to minimize the impact on the business, while surrendering much of the ownership.

Fortunately, the rise of on-demand business talent has given companies a powerful third way. By supplementing internal efforts with independent consultants—from project managers to change management experts—executives can retain control without compromising results, devoting a smaller core of internal resources to the initiative and extending skills and capacities as needed.

Need a transformation consultant, expert, team or group of project leaders? We can help!

Get the Skills You Need

Thousands of independent consultants, subject matter experts, project managers, and interim executives are ready to help address your biggest business opportunities.

Get Started

About the Author

Leah Hoffmann

Leah Hoffmann is a former journalist who has worked for and The Economist. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.

More Content by Leah Hoffmann
Previous Article
What is Blockchain? An Inside Look At The Transaction Revolution.
What is Blockchain? An Inside Look At The Transaction Revolution.

By this point, many people have heard about “the blockchain” or, at the very least, about Bitcoin, which wa...

Next Article
The End of Loyalty: A Q&A With Author Rick Wartzman
The End of Loyalty: A Q&A With Author Rick Wartzman

What's next for American workers now that companies no longer offer stable jobs? We spoke with author Rick ...

Get our free guide to working with on-demand talent.

Read Now