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Dig­i­tal

Trans­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Office: How it ben­e­fits dig­i­tal transformation

February 3, 2021

Our Expert

Max Fer­rin

Country Manager Regional Country Manager

Every­one under­stands that it’s good for busi­ness to know how to iden­ti­fy cor­rect ini­tia­tives and make them happen.

And to ensure that they hap­pen, many com­pa­nies have a Project Man­age­ment Office (PMO) respon­si­ble for over­see­ing ini­tia­tives, mak­ing sure that they are on track and deliv­er­ing results as expected.

Beyond a PMO, a Trans­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Office (TMO), is a PMO plus strat­e­gy management.

A TMO aris­es as some­times PMOs are not aligned to the strate­gic direc­tion and needs of the com­pa­ny. TMOs align ini­tia­tives and projects to a company’s vision, mis­sion, goals and objec­tives, and most impor­tant­ly, they ensure that gen­uine busi­ness needs are iden­ti­fied and addressed.

This is not to say that the TMO is always the bet­ter option.

“The two are valid,” says Max Fer­rin, Renoir Consulting’s Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme Direc­tor for Asia. Whether a PMO or a TMO is need­ed depends on the matu­ri­ty of the company.

For exam­ple, an organ­i­sa­tion may have a clear under­stand­ing of their mis­sion and vision for a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion (DX) ini­tia­tive. They know what they want. They just want some­one to deliv­er the trans­for­ma­tion for them.

“As a result, there’s less of a need to focus on the strat­e­gy. There’s suf­fi­cient approach to move ahead with dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. A PMO will be enough to focus on deliv­er­ing it.”

How­ev­er, there are some com­pa­nies who need clear­er insight on their real needs and how to align the company’s mis­sion and vision with the DX ini­tia­tive. That is when a TMO is very effective.

“The TMO is much more over­ar­ch­ing than the PMO. It con­veys and aligns the vision and mis­sion of com­pa­ny with the deliv­ery of the trans­for­ma­tion,” he says.

The role of the TMO in dig­i­tal transformation

Many DX pro­grammes com­plete­ly fail to live up to the hype that was sold to the organisation.

What often hap­pens is that an organ­i­sa­tion gets tied into a new dig­i­tal tool, spend­ing mil­lions on it. How­ev­er, after the imple­men­ta­tion, the organ­i­sa­tion ends up not get­ting the best return on invest­ment because of a fail­ure to align the DX ini­tia­tive to the strat­e­gy and busi­ness needs of the organisation.

Sit­u­a­tions like these can be avoid­ed with a TMO, which ensures that the DX is aligned to needs and has a gen­uine busi­ness case.

“One of the key things that we do when­ev­er we’re deliv­er­ing DX is first to under­stand what an organisation’s per­ceived needs are and then under­stand and define its real needs,” says Fer­rin who has set up TMOs for DX ini­tia­tives around the world.

To do that, we need to find a bal­ance between what the organ­i­sa­tion thinks it needs and what they tru­ly need, he adds.

“Once we under­stand what ini­tia­tives are required, we start to cre­ate the trans­for­ma­tion roadmap, where we pri­ori­tise the ini­tia­tives – we start with the ones that will deliv­er the biggest or most fun­da­men­tal change.”

Some of the key fea­tures of our TMOs include:

  • Tried and test­ed strat­e­gy deploy­ment tools.
  • Bru­tal hon­esty with regards to busi­ness needs.
  • Impar­tial­i­ty in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and sourc­ing of solutions.
  • An increased pace of implementation.
  • Even-handed han­dling of man­age­ment of issues.
  • Unique change man­age­ment meth­ods – not just tech­ni­cal, but tac­ti­cal too.
  • Trans­paren­cy on the deliv­ery of results.

“The goal of a TMO is a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what is required for the busi­ness and, if appro­pri­ate, what DX ini­tia­tives com­ple­ment the efforts,” says Ferrin.

Ben­e­fits of an exter­nal TMO or PMO

Regard­less of whether it is a TMO or PMO, the more pro­found obser­va­tion is whether either one exists at all. Despite the ben­e­fits they bring, most com­pa­nies lack TMOs or PMOs.

Part of the rea­son why inter­nal TMOs or PMOs are so rare has to do with the nature of the depart­ment itself.

For one, the department’s func­tion is a tac­ti­cal night­mare. Com­pro­mis­es are often made because of inter­nal pol­i­tick­ing. Despite the best inten­tions, pro­grammes are often watered down or weak­ly jus­ti­fied to keep all the stake­hold­ers hap­py – regard­less of whether the busi­ness needs are being addressed or not.

For anoth­er, knowl­edge with­in the organ­i­sa­tion may be lack­ing, such as aware­ness of the dig­i­tal solu­tions landscape.

And for yet anoth­er, past change ini­tia­tives may have flopped, and as a result, the most tal­ent­ed resources see sec­ond­ment to a PMO as a risky propo­si­tion that detracts from their career path.

And of course, while change ini­tia­tives are impor­tant, many com­pa­nies don’t find them urgent. Urgency always trumps impor­tance – peo­ple can’t see the for­est for all the trees in the way. The employ­ee that speed­i­ly address­es a cus­tomer com­plaint gets praised, but the employ­ee that requests bet­ter tools gets side-lined.

These are some of the rea­sons why an exter­nal TMO or PMO should mer­it consideration.

Exter­nal TMOs or PMOs do not have to con­tend with polit­i­cal mine­fields. They bring the knowl­edge, ener­gy and dri­ve that the organ­i­sa­tion may be missing.

A Renoir TMO or PMO engage­ment goes beyond just set­ting up for suc­cess. We part­ner with com­pa­nies for the long term to make their dreams reality.

For more on the TMO and how it can help com­pa­nies imple­ment suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives, read our white paper Pow­er­ing Suc­cess­ful Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion. Down­load it now.

Our Expert

Max Fer­rin

Country Manager Regional Country Manager

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