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Why a picture of your transformation vision is worth 1,000 words

Most people are familiar with the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words. The reasoning is that it’s possible to convey so much more information visually compared with textually.

Digital Transformation: a picture is worth 1,000 words

However, many businesses persist with mammoth strategy documents and lengthy business cases to justify expenditure on everything from new printers to a digital transformation project. And, while a well-considered and thoroughly explained strategy is essential to help set the stage for transformation, it may not be the best way to keep projects on track and achieve buy-in from key stakeholders.

Support leads to success

Most IT projects, transformative or otherwise, live or die based on the amount of support they receive from inside the organisation. And, anyone familiar with change management will attest that the first step in any change project is to secure buy-in from the relevant stakeholders.

In the case of a transformative project, this becomes even more important. Not only are you trying to bring stakeholders along on the journey but, by its very definition, the transformation journey you’re proposing is likely to be scary and disruptive for most stakeholders. This makes people inherently distrustful of whatever is being proposed, regardless of what’s being proposed, so the task of getting them on board is more difficult.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the impact of the change, the more important it is to have a strong communications strategy and plan in place. It’s important to communicate early and often with the people who hold the success of your project in their hands.

Unfortunately, many organisations fail to create a compelling picture of their transformation project. Consequently, the team is left in the dark regarding the benefits, goals, and milestones they can expect as part of the project.

Even when they do circulate the business plan, these documents are often so dense and detailed that few people in the wider team can use them to gain a true appreciation of the project. Not to mention, very few people are likely to find the time to read such a document.

Creating a compelling picture

The Empired architecture team has developed an approach that can help organisations get earlier, stronger buy-in for transformation journeys, leading to better chances of success.

We recommend developing an infographic-style illustration of your transformation journey that encapsulates the key features and benefits in a way that all staff members can understand.

A visual representation of the journey tends to be simpler and easier to understand than the full strategy document. It lets people get a sense of the vision so they can start to accept and embrace it based on the benefits it will deliver to them.

By mapping out the journey this way, you can also reduce the number of surprises for those involved. With all milestones and expectations clearly shown, it will be easy for team members to follow along and stay abreast of what’s happening. This can help them feel more involved.

The infographic should be developed as early as possible in the project and it should take into consideration the perspectives and concerns of each person, where possible. By involving people early, they feel a sense of ownership over the project, leading to deeper levels of engagement and accountability.

How to get started

The process starts with vision development. Empired does this through dynamic workshops where key stakeholders share their ideas around the project’s guiding principles. At this point, it doesn’t matter if the business doesn’t know how it’s going to get there, as long as there is a goal in mind that everyone agrees on.

It’s essential to get the right people in the room for these workshops. That doesn’t mean just senior business leaders; it should also include those who will work with the transformative technologies daily so they can have a voice.

Transparency is crucial. Managers can’t execute a transformation behind closed doors then present it to the team as a fait accompli. People simply won’t accept it. Therefore, this stage of ideation and collaboration is crucial.

Once the vision and general direction are set, it’s important to consider timeframes. Without putting horizons or milestones in place, it becomes easy for the team to become stuck as problems seem too big to solve. With a clear timeframe in place, people are motivated to get moving and find innovative solutions.

It’s important to remember that the transformation infographic should be updated when circumstances change, milestones are reached, or results are achieved. This helps keep it alive in people’s minds, leading to more active engagement.

What if our transformation is too complicated for one picture?

If you can’t succinctly explain what you’re doing and why, then it could be a sign that your organisation doesn’t truly understand the project. If this is the case, then it’s important to go back to the beginning and make sure there is a crystal-clear understanding in place. Without it, your project could be destined to fail.

Empired often works with customers to help develop a transformation roadmap infographic that helps bring all team members on the journey. We create infographics that include key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as the overall vision for the project, combining strategy with tactics and outcomes. This high-level planning provides organisations with peace of mind and a tangible touchstone for the project.

To find out how Empired can help you tell your transformation story in one picture, setting you up for success, contact us today.

Posted by: Chris Dury, Practice Manager, Digital Advisory | 11 June 2019

Tags: Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, Strategy

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