New ways of uncovering data, improving data quality and establishing a single source of truth in your spreadsheets…
Transformation implies you are changing the status quo and most humans are notoriously prone to inertia. Most people love comfort zones and will try to resist change. If any stakeholders feel they are left in the dark, they will have one more reason to sabotage change.
Upgrading means changing consolidated systems used company wide and disruption is probably inevitable, but this has to be looked at as an investment to save, day after day, time and money, hence recovering the financial and time outlay. But problems with inaccurate data and a lack of transparency can make the whole process a lot more difficult.
Data Quality Issues
‘Unclean’ data is a tremendous problem that causes real financial losses. Many factors contribute to the use of many different processes and software, so many file versions, a lot of different ways to approve decisions: the size of organizations, the type of communication between departments, the workflow that takes so many shapes and forms. This way, the risk of having corrupted or inaccurate data is extremely high. That is why the holy grail that all professionals ask for is the ‘single source of truth’. They crave for systems where they can create information, track edits, share results, stress-test them, and approve decisions in one place, avoiding multiple copies of same files, back and forth emails and consequent data chaos.
Mistakes are noticed when it’s too late, and they can cause wrong decisions, financial losses, and people getting fired. The probability of this occurring is proportional with the size of the company that determines the number, the complexity of data-driven processes and the probability that a simple mistake can propagate and create dramatic consequences: a chain is as strong as its weakest link.
Without visibility, there can be no solid decision making. Organisations should recognise the importance of not excluding talent from the decision-making process and make efforts to enable fluid collaboration and communication among colleagues. This transparency allows all to see what others do and step in if necessary; there are clear lines of accountability.
A Smooth Transformation
It’s crucial to appoint competent people to lead digital transformation initiatives and design effective processes to implement. Once the process has been designed, they can identify the best software platforms that fit the company’s needs. Across sectors and functions, the typical platforms deployed have common characteristics: they contain all data, conversations and supporting documents in one place: the ‘single source of truth’. They track changes and approvals, democratise access to information by removing ‘system gurus’ and bottlenecks. The best platforms that are permanently adopted are the ones that are intuitive and easy to use, transparent and elegant, and that do not require extensive training.
To prevent the logistics of the switchover breaking down, choose companies that offer data import/export facilities – this acts as a safeguard and allows for a quicker adoption as data are transferred easily and disruption is minimised. Establish the depth and breadth of the systems for your problem. Choose products that require a minimal learning curve and can be adopted immediately and incrementally, meaning that every single new adopter in the company does not need to wait for everybody to be on the platform to start getting some benefits from it. Modern SaaS solutions do not require complex installations and configurations and allow for incremental adoption.
So, how do you ensure the success of a digital transformation initiative? There must be a clear definition of what ‘success’ means? What is not working or is perceived as suboptimal? Once this is clear, it is easy to evaluate new products on harmless restricted pilots, hence maximising the chances of success on a larger scale adoption.
Gianluca Bisceglie is the founder and CEO of Visyond, a cloud-based spreadsheet software platform that disrupts the way people work with spreadsheets – allowing secure, selective and interactive data sharing, minimising errors, and performing analyses in seconds with a few simple clicks. www.visyond.com