Building resilience: Mitigating risks in transformation

- Mark Thomas

Transformations aren’t easy, they don’t happen overnight and without governance and reporting measures, there is a strong possibility of failure to change and a loss of credibility for the teams involved. Shared below are key considerations to mitigate the risks associated with transformation and change.

1. Resistance to change: Your teams and people can fear change; they may be comfortable and confident in how things are currently.
Evangelizing, support, and communication are key to mitigating this risk.
2. Lack of resources: Very few companies have spare resources to run the BAU and manage a transformation. 
Bring in external expertise to support you at times of need. Train teams on the future state. Build a transformational mindset.
3. Unclear goals and objectives: Bold statements on a web page or a company’s mission statement conveying “We’re going to change the world” and “We’re going to be the best in customer service” should translate into real-world change for your staff and shareholders.
Be specific about what you want the change to deliver in terms of business outcomes. Set core KPI’s that will focus the mind on key items that define success.
4. Poor communication: A message at the start of a transformation program followed by no further communication creates mistrust.
Set up overarching communication channels and internal PR mechanisms that harvest and convey insights, successes (and challenges) associated with the transformation. Ensure that the leadership is informed and communicates progress internally.
5. Lack of leadership: Lack of leadership and direction and constant moving of goal posts can affect change delivery.
Ensure selection of strong leaders who evoke trust across all levels of the company, not just the CxOs, but among the people involved in day-to-day work.
6. Unrealistic expectations: We can all dream of being the next Amazon, Google, Apple but if the people who are working for you don’t believe in the end goal - this can be detrimental.
Set goals that are achievable, show tangible deliveries, acknowledge efforts, and celebrate milestones.
7. External factors: Outside of the organization’s control, change can also be affected by factors such as economic conditions, aggressive competition, changing regulations and cybersecurity threats.
While some external risks cannot be fully controlled, organizations can adopt strategies to mitigate their impact and increase their ability to adapt.

Transformation mistakes to avoid:

One size fits all approach

Choose an approach that addresses the target scope, risk, cost and other factors that you want to achieve as part of your business objectives.

Lack of awareness of common pitfalls

Study common obstacles and pitfalls with legacy assets before embarking on the modernization journey

Modernization for the sake of modernization

Do not modernize just for the sake of bringing in new technology. Legacy has its benefits, and a hybrid approach might be more beneficial at times.

Failure to secure proper buy-in

Executive buy-in is key to implementing any digital transformation project. Along with technical feasibility, ensure there is a clear business case with an acceptable ROI.


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Recommended transformation approaches

Lift and Shift/Redeploy : Redeploy the application to other infrastructure without recompiling, modifying the application
Lift and reshape/Revise: Migrate application to a new runtime with minimal changes to code/configurations.
Re-engineer/Refactor: Restructure and optimize code, remove technical debt, improve non- functional attributes, shift to new application platform/architecture.
Redesign/Rewrite: Rewrite application, like to like preserving existing scope and functionality
Repurchase/Drop and shop: Replace with COTS/SaaS, scope new requirements
Capture the applications data and functions: Make them accessible as services via an API

Sustaining transformation

Being an agent of change and sustaining transformation is challenging. When faced with complexity, transformation is both a bold and strategic endeavour; successful transformation requires clear vision, adaptable strategies, an engaged leadership, and a resilient workforce.

You need to build and sustain foundations well - keep reviewing the good and the bad, engage in informed decision-making and ensure that you have the right support. The workforce involved in well-run transformation programs love getting out of bed and love the challenge of being change agents. They are committed to agility, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of improvement.

At Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS), we echo a similar sentiment. As a trusted technology partner, we are committed to driving transformative change and delivering impactful business outcomes for our clients. For over 25 years, we have helped organizations globally to overcome transformation complexities through cost effective and future-ready solutions. 

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About the author

Mark Thomas

Head of Architecture, Strategy and Transformation

Torry Harris Integration Solutions