How can you ensure successful business transformation? The importance of bridging the ‘strategy to delivery’ gap.

This is a guest blog from Suzanne Costella, an independent business strategy, architecture and transformation consultant, and Associate of Laudale.

Suzanne has20 years experience leading strategy, architecture and business transformation, working with executive teams at a wide variety of organisations.


Many businesses invest huge resources in defining a ‘brilliant’ strategy or kicking-off major delivery programmes, but then find they don’t achieve the results they anticipated or hit the timescales they had targeted.

Effective Business Transformation is hard…no question, but I will suggest Business Architecture as a really neat way for your business to get maximum value from your transformation, increasing and expediting your revenue and cost goals.

I understand that jargon like ‘architecture’, ‘roadmaps’ or ‘change journeys’ may instantly turn-off some people – you need to find the right language which works for your business.  What I think is really important is that you have an effective method to translate strategy into clear, implementable designs and plans, which all aspects of the organisation are aligned to. Many businesses struggle to bridge this gap, leading to common challenges:

Many businesses struggle to bridge this gap, leading to common challenges:

  • The strategy seems clear to the Board, but isn’t understood throughout the business
  • The organisation culture and people are not aligned
  • The change and IT community don’t have capability or resources to translate the strategy into plans or align existing programmes
  • Change programmes are off-track and not delivering the benefits promised or succeeding in changing activity on the ground

If any of this sounds familiar, it would be worth checking what shape your Business Architecture is in, or even worse whether you have one at all.  If you jump from a strategy paper into kicking-off a programme and writing requirements, you are likely to face some of these challenges, which have serious commercial impacts for organisations every day.

I generally find most businesses have an understanding of Enterprise Architecture, which is often focussed on the IT estate.  If an organisation doesn’t have a clear blueprint for how to transform its people, processes, capabilities and operation, it is unlikely it will achieve success with its IT.

So why don’t businesses invest enough in Business Architecture, or see it as something academic or with limited value?  I’ve outlined some of the main challenges I have encountered in figure 1, below:

Figure 1: Challenges overcome by effective Business Architecture

I’m not suggesting there is a single guarantee of success for transformation, but I am passionate about the tangible value that sound Business Architecture can deliver for your business, whatever its objectives:

  • Growth (new products, channels or markets)
  • Cost / efficiency
  • M&A / integration / divestment
  • IT transformation

It provides a key link in the chain, connecting strategy to delivery and implementation.

So, what are the key components that I think you need to develop? It is a combination of skilled people, processes and tools. The points I raise below are intentionally pragmatic and simplistic – not intended as a textbook definition of Business Architecture.

The key questions I suggest you ask yourself are:

  1. Can you define your Business Model clearly? This will outline what your business does to make money (a ‘demand’ view) – Who are your customers (existing and new)? How do you reach them? What are the propositions (products and services) you offer?
  2. What is your Operating Model? This has many dimensions and includes the capabilities you need to deliver to the market (a ‘supply’ view) – people, processes, premises, supply chains etc. It links very closely with the IT architecture
  3. What is the gap between your current and target models? This informs the change you need to deliver to achieve your strategy and will require analysis of both the business and operating models e.g. are you targeting new products or channels, are you trying to reduce cost, integrate or divest areas of the business?
  4. Have you defined an overall transformation plan or roadmap? This defines a clear sequence for the change and enables a business to understand the interim operating model at key milestones on the journey. This will be key to engaging your staff and stakeholders
  5. Have you designed the change portfolio with steps 1-4 in mind? This is the optimum configuration or programmes and projects. It requires clear governance of all requirements and designs back to the target models, to ensure all change is coordinated and delivering against the strategy, with optimum allocation of resources

Many businesses will miss out the first 3 or 4 steps of this approach, moving from a strategy or business case straight into defining or mobilising a programme or change portfolio.

I would very strongly advocate that you invest talent and activity to define your target state and how you will achieve this, in detail, before you kick-off change. You need to ensure you are building the capabilities to effectively deliver your strategy, as your current business may not be able to deliver the results you want.

Understanding the value Business Architecture can deliver, comes from being confident that you understand how each area of your organisation needs to change and that you can optimise all of the resources to deliver this. If you don’t have an approach to do this already, or are facing some of the challenges outlined earlier – it would be worth looking at Business Architecture in more detail & how it can help your business.

So if you do invest in capable people and deliver a strong set of architecture outputs, what value can you expect to achieve? Your efforts should not be seen as an academic exercise, but an efficient approach to deliver tangible improvements and accelerate business performance.

I have highlighted some of the key benefits, which are all within your reach:

  • Provides a more strategic (less tactical) approach to planning investment or targeting cost savings which will unlock value in a sustainable way; improve efficiency and revenue goals in addition to culture and engagement benefits.  Business Architecture takes a holistic approach to design the change required, rather than repeatedly targeting the same areas
  • A clear summary of how all change fits together and what it will deliver. This helps buy-in from numerous stakeholder groups – busy executives who get overloaded with information from multiple programmes, colleagues who want to understand what it means for them and the change / IT community to help manage and govern dependencies
  • Assurance that scarce resources (people, operational, financial & change) are prioritised in the areas to achieve greatest results. Planning and delivering business transformation with greatest efficiency. This can reduce operating and investment costs and ensure more ‘bang for your buck’ – expediting and increasing benefits

Whatever your business goals – growth, M&A, efficiency, cost, divestment – there is an opportunity to improve the success and efficiency of how you deliver business transformation and expedite your business goals.

If you can successfully bridge the gap between your strategic goals and the business transformation you implement, then you can unlock all of these benefits.



Event Highlights: The Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

On Tuesday 17th January we hosted a breakfast event on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation. The event brought together a collective of thought leaders in our network to discuss a strategic approach to data. We were joined by Interim Chief Data Officer and Data Strategist Julie Screech, and Data Strategy & Governance Lead Andrew Sharp, who provided us with detailed presentations on data-enabled transformation that stimulated our discussion.

Julie Screech

Our first speaker Julie has over 20 years’ experience in Data Strategy, the last 7 of which have been advising organisations that require Executive-level Data / CDO expertise. Julie has worked with clients including Google, P&G, Shell & BSkyB, and has vast experience in transforming the use and management of data as a strategic asset. During the event Julie shared her knowledge of the role of the CDO, as well as the commercial opportunities associated with an effective data strategy, and we have compiled a snapshot of her insights below. If you would like further information on these presentations, or future Laudale events, please contact us.

The importance of the Chief Data Officer

The latest predictions published by Gartner reveal the growing importance of the CDO role to organisations. By 2017, it is reported that 50% of regulated companies will require CDO, by 2019 this will result in 90% of large organisations hiring a CDO, and by 2021, 90% of CDOs will be responsible the ethical use of enterprise data.

The responsibilities of the CDO

The CDO is responsible for driving value from an organisation’s data assets. These include data strategy, the democratisation of data, the effective use of data as a business tool, stakeholder management, data management and governance, and the implementation of data initiatives. The ‘CDO function’ is becoming a key horizontal domain, comparable to IT, HR, and Finance. The CDO is involved in the planning and execution of most strategic digital business initiatives, and will spend more than 70% of their time enabling commercial solutions.

The difference between C Suite Roles

Part of Julie’s presentation aimed to demarcate the roles of Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information/Technology Officer, drawing distinct roles with an interconnectivity that requires conscious management and collaboration across the business.  Interestingly, Julie quoted a recent stat that roughly 68% of CIOs saw the CDO (Data) role as an important ally.

  • Chief Data Officer – Responsible for determining what kinds of information the enterprise will choose to capture, retain and exploit and for what purposes.
  • Chief Digital Officer – Generally responsible not just for digital consumer experience across all business touch points but also the process of digital transformation.
  • Chief Information/Technology Officer – The most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and systems that support enterprise goals.
Andrew Sharp

Our second speaker, Andrew, has extensive experience in Data Strategy and Governance, and his 25-year data career includes key roles at Royal Liver, National Australia Bank, Scottish Water and most recently as a consultant to Shop Direct Group.  Andrew has a wide-range of experience from leading large programmes, like Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), to heading ‘Data Culture’, and provided us with a presentation that focused on the role and importance of data governance in business transformation. Below are some key takeaways.

What is Data Governance?

Data Governance simply put, is the practice of organising and implementing policies, procedures and standards for the effective use of businesses structured and unstructured information assets. Businesses considered to have a mature data governance would have a clear strategy for data including elements such as data dictionary, data standards, data owners, data stewards, data enterprise boards and a data issues register.

Why do we need Data Governance?

There are a whole host of benefits that come from implementing data governance in your organisation, some of these benefits included:

  • Increase income opportunities  
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Increase operational effectiveness
  • Improve customer service
  • Create standard repeatable processes
  • Provide process and reporting transparency
  • Enable better decision making

Getting Data Governance right

There are key skills needed to effectively embed data governance. Firstly, you need an individual who has a wealth of prior knowledge and experience of the design and implementation of data governance frameworks. Secondly, that individual requires a balanced blend of business, technical and analytical skills. Thirdly, it is imperative that the individual has the ability to sell importance of data to senior management and stakeholders at all levels.

Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

If you’re interested in our upcoming events or more information on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation, follow us on LinkedIn.

Breakfast Event: The Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

Let’s talk growth and transformation.

We are running a breakfast event where you will be able to do exactly that. Run by leading data strategists, the session will focus on the emerging role of Chief Data Officer and the strategic use of data for business transformation and growth. Come and join us for the chance to share your experiences with like-minded people and hear the data myths revealed and dispelled by our experts.

Tuesday 17th January at 08:00 – 09:30 at Chancery Place, Manchester.

Please see the following link for the full invitation:

The CDO Role in Business Transformation

If you would like to secure a place, please email Claire Robertson:

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Laudale raise over £2500 for RMCH at the Great Manchester Run!

The Laudale team, clients, candidates and supporters ran the Morrisons Great Manchester 10km Run on Sunday. It was wonderful to experience the fantastic atmosphere in Manchester. We also enjoyed some pre-event Breakfast and lunchtime canapés, provided by the fantastic staff at Grindsmiths on Deansgate.

Many personal bests were achieved and for several of us it was our first 10km run – a fantastic day all round!

Most importantly, we successfully raised over £2500 for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. If you’d like to donate & show your support, you can do this via one of our JustGiving pages.

A massive thank you and well done to all those that took part; Andy, Joanne, Ann, Kim, Alan, John  & Alec!

Drive transformational change in the city of Manchester

Laudale are the appointed recruitment consultants acting on behalf of Manchester City Council to recruit a new Senior ICT Leadership Team.
Roles include; Chief Information Officer, Head of Service Operations, Head of Delivery & Test, Head of PMO & Governance, Head of Enterprise Architecture and Strategic Business Partners (x3).
Click on the images below to learn more about the roles and to apply.
If you would like more information/background about the role please contact Alec Laurie for an informal confidential discussion on 0161 850 0830.
Head of SO Head of EA
Head of Delivery & Test Head of PMO & Governance

Laudale run the Great Manchester Run


Laudale run the Great Manchester Run!

The Laudale team, clients, candidates and associates are taking part in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10th May 2015 and we’re all raising money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The Great Manchester Run is Europe’s largest 10K running event, with over 40,000 people taking part. Starting in the centre of Manchester it takes in many of the sights and sounds of Manchester city centre including; the city centre, Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum.

Training is already underway, with many novices picking up their running shoes for the first time, and more experienced runners targeting their personal best!

We’ll be keeping you updated of our progress on the blog over the next few weeks, so be sure to keep checking back.

In the meantime, if you’d like to donate you can see our JustGiving pages here.

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