What Does ‘Transformation’ Really Mean, and Is It Overhyped?

Mark E. Engelberg, TimeLinx Software –  


If this isn’t the first TimeLinx blog article you’ve read by me, you’ll have spotted other content discussing and advocating for “digital transformation.” It’s a theme that crops up in many business blogs, resources and conversations these days. 
In 2022, transformation promotion will be hotter than ever, with every vendor promising you the world. You might say the word ‘transformation’—digital or otherwise—has been trending in general since, well… since businesses could ‘transform.’ Throw the word ‘transformation’ into any new project request, and you’ll likely increase your odds of securing funding. 
But is ‘digital transformation’ at risk of being overhyped? 

What Does ‘Transformation’ (Actually) Mean… Really? 
So ingrained is the notion of transformation in business culture that ‘transformation offices’ crop up in corporate headquarters. Is this necessary? Is business transformation that hard? Let’s find out. 
A loose definition of business transformation might be: 
Business transformation affects significant changes in how business is conducted to adapt to or counter shifts in the market and competitor environment. 
Sounds kind of vague. To understand why businesses set up entire transformation wings to enact business transformation, let’s clarify that definition: 
Business transformation is first understanding the underlying problems or causes of organizational pain and then addressing those causes in ways that fundamentally alter the paradigm of the organization. 
Suppose entire business wings and responsibilities are being erected in the name of transformation. In that case, it’s because business transformation involves more than just rolling out change management projects — just understanding what changes are required is only half of the challenge. 
The Problem of Transformation and Change Management 
If you’re a professional services organization attempting to understand known and unknown challenges holding you back, figuring out how to respond is challenging. 
Should you create a new PMO (Project Management Office) and call it the “transformation team”? Or perhaps invest in new buzz-wordy technology, or acquire a start-up? No sarcasm here – all of those are viable options. 
Poorly planned change and transformation often result in vacuous hype 
The point is, approaching change and transformation in PSOs (Professional Service Organizations) — where change advocacy and adoption mean getting buy-in from different levels and business functions — isn’t about making sudden moves. 
If, for example, your leadership team unveils a new CRM without having fully understood the root challenges and business obstacles, then advocacy and bluster around ‘CRM transformation’ may well end up being little more than ill-conceived hype. 
Transformation and change management aren’t about knee-jerk responses 
The challenge of transformation isn’t about satisfying shareholders with acquisitions or transforming your entire technology environment to show leadership teams that ‘something is being done.’  
That, readers, is the dead-end street to the kind of transformation hype that backfires and fizzles out. 
True transformation and change management free of hype and grandstanding include three elements: 
Vision: Having the collective awareness of the local challenges, rather than being distracted by the sight of common industry trends. Vision is about knowing where you want to go, why you want to go there, and what the outcomes will be. 
Culture: True business transformation must trickle down from leadership AND filter up from HR practices. Change advocacy and implementation must shape the day-to-day operations mindset and push the mission effort across departments in the direction of the finish line. 
Leadership: For digital and business transformation to take root, leaders must avoid the easy route of delegating change-management projects to middle managers with an ultimatum to achieve specific outcomes. Leaders must be involved in the early fact-finding of mapping challenges with solutions from the highest levels. Then, they must ensure that top-down communication educates the entire workforce for the reasons behind, and progress of, change and transformation incentives. 
Did Your CRM Turn Out to Be Hype? Perhaps You Just Need to Add PSM (Project and Service Management). 
For many professional service SMBs, digital CRM transformation can result in hype and hot air when the ‘as-sold’ outcomes fail to show up. However, CRM implementation projects are often just one PSM short of an ROI and profit picnic. 
An integrated PSM application can turn CRM hype into end-to-end project value 
From your sales team to your senior management, a truly integrated PSM platform changes the way PSOs can profitably monitor, manage, analyze and optimize projects throughout the project lifecycle. As a footnote to this, an accounting system is just that: an accounting system, not a PSM.  Don’t confuse them. 
Don’t be the one that lets your CRM transformation projects misfire. Add an integrated PSM as your CRM’s sidekick that extends project value end-to-end from ‘quote-to-invoice’. 
TimeLinx PSM for Sage and Infor CRM 
Discover how TimeLinx PSM extends Sage and Infor CRMs throughout the entire customer and project life cycle, from marketing campaigns to opportunities and quoting, service delivery, customer service, and technical support, and with optional integration connectors, your ERP system for billing, and more.  

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About TimeLinx
TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.