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REINVENTING THE WAY WE WORK

The New Look of Retail Part 3: Walking the Digital Transformation Talk

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This post is part 3 of the series "The New Look of Retail". Read Part 1: "A Fresh Vision" and Part 2: "Inside-Out Digital Transformation".

Given the first two articles of this series, I hope that you are convinced, if you weren’t already, that not only do we need technology to transform the retail industry, as well as many other industries, but also that 1) the time to implement it is now and 2) implementing changes in how a company operates internally can be an effective a starting point when it comes to marrying technology and retail.

Now, to show that the “talk” can be “walked”, I offer you first-hand examples of how I built One2Team using One2Team and then helped transform companies from the inside out.

How it all began

Fifteen years ago, I was a consultant working for a boutique, high-powered management consulting firm. Working on long-term strategic transformation projects, I routinely advised CEOs and senior executives at very large corporations on designing and implementing strategic initiatives. At the end of an 18-month project helping the CEO of a large telecom company to manage a transformation program, I had my “eureka” moment. Companies were losing millions of dollars because they didn’t have a way to abate the pain that so many of my consulting clients experienced in implementing change throughout their organizations: business as usual.

When clients asked me to select project management software, I cringed."

At that time in the early 2000s, organizations were becoming more project-oriented. They were creating specialized teams charted with project and portfolio management. In overseeing the execution of large implementation projects, I witnessed how frustrating and inadequate project management tools were and how they propagated business as usual. When clients asked me to select project management software, I cringed.

It baffled my mind that companies were wasting millions of dollars due to inefficiencies. Not only that, they also lacked agility. Today, a lack of agility would be fatal, even for the largest of businesses. I call this phenomenon the “obsolescence of everything”, brought about by global competition and technological development. A couple of years ago, a paper by Arthur D. Little, the world’s oldest management consultancy, reported that the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has decreased from 67 years to just 15 years. You can slide in ranking from #1 to 10 in your industry in a very short span of time. That means companies need to innovate more to keep their competitive edge and spend on innovation, while enjoying shorter-lived investment returns.

Walking the talk

I started One2Team with a clear vision of creating a tool that was focused on the business outcomes of a project rather than what, at the time, were the traditional levers of a project manager: quality, time, and cost. In fact, our first product was quite radical. We shipped software that did not do two of the most basic things that project management software was expected to do at the time: scheduling and resource planning. Prospective customers thought we were crazy, but soon found out the One2Team was making their teams more agile and collaborative. 

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What made our take “fresh” was not only the real-time factor, but also the interface of our system. It offered a familiar feel and ease of adoption, which is another barrier that my clients did not need. No solution is useful if it isn’t going to be used.  

Instead of trying to force users to use the tool to report on their progress, we created genuinely useful task-tracking and data visualization interfaces that different stakeholders could use to manage their daily work in real-time, effectively dispensing with extraneous reporting, out of sync data, and missing information. 

At any given time I have between 120 and 150 different 'projects' in my internal One2Team cockpit.”

That is also how I manage One2Team itself. Even if ours is not a large corporation, I still find myself managing and overseeing a lot of activity streams. Some of those are actual projects, others are ongoing operational programs, some are fluidly-defined initiatives that require more collaborative input from various functions. All are in One2Team. At any given time, I have between 120 and 150 different “projects” in my internal One2Team cockpit, covering everything including a new sales enablement program, financial performance metrics, new product releases, key marketing campaigns, and customer implementations. I drive all of my company’s key outcomes from a single instrument with the peace of mind that the data that I am working on is the same that each One2Team employee and vendor is working on and is shared in real-time.

What are companies doing with One2Team?

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Today, 20,000 executives, project managers, and stakeholders in more than 50 countries work with One2Team to implement strategic initiatives, to rollout transformation plans and to execute a multitude of projects that, in aggregate, account for $20 billion in budget.

Renault, for example, controls 650 Renault PRO+ dealerships around the world offering a range of services to commercial vehicle owners and fleet operators. It was a massive implementation and deployment challenge to roll out the brand and create awareness across such a vast dealer network, but it was easily met with One2Team tools. The greatest factor, however, was Renault’s dedication to creating an efficient working environment that would allow for its own success.

Huawei and Carrefour experienced the same success because they embraced the changing business environment, did not hesitate to change themselves, and shared Renault’s commitment to efficiency. For Huawei, being part of the telecommunications market means that it experiences the rapid pace of change in business more acutely that some other types of companies. They must also always be ready to react to consumer trends. Not only did the pace of their complex deployment projects increase, so did the number of projects. Technology was changing so rapidly that they were still managing their world of 3G when 4G LTE needed to be deployed. With the number of stakeholders involved, they couldn’t afford not to work in real-time. For Carrefour, saving €4.5 billion while creating a harmonious real-time collaborative experience for 500 employees working on seven different business transformation projects across 300 sites would not have been possible before One2Team.

These companies are not alone, either. Large global retailers from various sectors have embraced the new look of business and include auto brands such as BMW and Volkswagen, telecommunications companies such as Huawei and Lucent, and companies in a wide variety of other industries including hospitality, energy, utilities, and government.

Our world now happens in real-time and so must it also for retail. Our company was born 15 years ago but we still find that companies are hesitant to change. Why? True change is never successful when it happens on the surface level (such as retailers are expecting via consumer facing technology in-store). Change should be deep and companies should implement it from the inside. When there is true understanding of how technology works with people in a company, perhaps it won’t be so difficult to implement it when it comes to consumer-facing technology. If a company is already agile, it will not struggle when it must pivot to react to consumer trends.

This post is part 3 of the series "The New Look of Retail". Read Part 1: "A Fresh Vision" and Part 2: "Inside-Out Digital Transformation".

 

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