Indeed, the majority of digital transformations fall short of their goals. In the retail business, that can be an expensive proposition. So, what does it take to create a valuable agile process?
Consulting group BCG identified six essential strategies in any change management process in some of the world’s top-performing companies as they went through digital transformations.
1. A clear and integrated strategy
2. Total management commitment
3. High-caliber talent
4. Agile governance
5. Monitoring progress and outcomes
6. Business-led tech and data platforms
A clear and integrated strategy
While every company does some version of goal-setting as part of their strategy, few set a truly clear vision. For an agile retailer, this requires determining strategic imperatives and quantifiable business outcomes, then providing a strong sense of purpose through the organization.
In other words, be clear about what you want and work to inspire buy-in.
Total management commitment
A commitment to becoming an agile retailer is a good start, but it’s not good enough. From your agile marketing team to sales team to operation team, and everywhere in your organization, the agile process only works if everyone is on the same page. This requires strong and consistent leadership from the top of the organization.
You need the CEO and top executives to support, advocate and drive the digital transformation process to create buy-in. While other team members need to take an active role, the responsibility and leadership of agile project management cannot be delegated.
Companies often underestimate what it takes to get the job done, from timelines to expense to talent—especially when it comes to talent. The agile process demands a high level of expertise during implementation.
It should include your best people within the organization and will likely require additional support to fill in skills gaps.
Business leaders must adopt an agile mindset to drive adoption to be successful. This requires an open mind about problems and roadblocks. When setbacks happen or expected outcomes don’t occur, leaders have to be willing to admit there’s a problem, regroup and re-evaluate.
This applies to the process itself and the system by which the company is controlled, operates and holds itself accountable.
Monitoring progress and outcomes
You started by setting goals for your business agility. The only way to know if you are meeting these goals is by monitoring the progress and outcome.
During the COVID pandemic, this became increasingly difficult to do as customer needs and trends seemed to change so rapidly. Fashion retail companies saw consumer trends shift from workplace to casual. Brick and mortar stores saw an accelerated shift from in-store to online and needed to pivot to online orders with curbside pickup.
The agile retailer needs to also apply an agile approach to measurement. When retailers couldn’t get inventory, sales projections were no longer relevant or realistic. Failing to apply an agile approach to every aspect of your business is a recipe for failure.
Companies also need to create a culture of accountability, track outcomes at regular intervals and be ready to change and adapt as needed.
At NCR our next generation analytics platforms can bring all your relevant information into one place. This gives managers a single version of the truth from which they can draw up reports and track any aspect of their business they wish. This provides transparency and visibility into operations and also encourages a level of accountability and responsibility in the organization. Knowing that work will be tracked and assessed will galvanize your team to work towards the goal you set. Equally, by having people compile these metrics it helps to improve mission focus by keeping your sales team looking at the big picture and working towards those initial goals you set down.
Business-led tech and data platforms
Although it takes technology to drive your digital transformation, your tech stack is just the means to an end. As such, you need to ensure business goals and not technology goals to determine your technology.
Your IT infrastructure, data platform and cloud solutions all need to support an agile process to handle future use cases and high levels of scalability.