Successful Digital Transformation entails Aligning Technology, Data, People and Processes to Yield Business Value - In Conversation with Yvonne Hyland

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5 min readFeb 2, 2023
Image from Unsplash by Javier Miranda

“Technology and tools are useful and powerful when they are your servant and not your master.” ~ Stephen Covey

Part of the making of a great leader is understanding the available resources and knowing how to utilize them properly to best serve the business. It is essential to be able to see the potential of what the tools can do and strategically deploy them to meet and advance the needs of the business.

Today we are in conversation with Yvonne Hyland. With over 30 years of successfully being an entrepreneur an intrapreneur and consultant, Yvonne has cultivated a unique perspective in helping drive and transform businesses using technology as the enabler. She predominantly has enjoyed doing this leading extensive global client engagements at the intersection of technology and manufacturing and supply chain. Yvonne speaks about the methodology she co-developed, and experience from global engagements which focus on tapping into the potential of technology and employing it accordingly to optimize business operations and achieve business growth.

Throughout your career, you have worked with multiple businesses — start-ups and large organizations alike. You have brought them your unique perspective backed by experience and innovation and driven them toward transformation. You even co-developed a methodology that was integrated into IBM’s world-wide ERP transformation methodology- please share that story with us.

“It was the early days of digital transformation via global ERP system implementations when my co-founders and I developed the methodology. During this time, companies would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on large system implementations hoping that these would deliver business transformation. Our methodology and framework was based on significant first-mover experience and centered on understanding the organization, its processes and how to enable technology to obtain business value. We knew that most operational inefficiencies were at the intersection between departments and their functional handoffs and without resolving these inefficiencies, or disconnects between departments, the technology implementation would, at best, be an expensive distraction and, at worst, could disrupt business operations and revenue growth . Our methodology focused on workshopping the integration and hand-offs between the different business functions, for example between Marketing and Sales, Sales and Production, Procurement and Accounts Payable, Manufacturing and Cost Accounting and so on. By doing this and harnessing the potential of technology across the enterprise, we enabled the execution of the business strategy to achieve real business value from technology investments. . This was pretty groundbreaking at the time and we used this framework to assist many large corporations in achieving business benefits from their digital initiatives, including the two examples below.

“It’s important to understand that technology alone will not help a business, but when used in context as a tool, it will enable companies to achieve their goals. For example, while leading the MAS company my team and I worked with a high-tech organization to help them optimize their indirect procurement. In many organizations, buying office supplies and indirect items is usually done in a decentralized way. This leads to a lot of redundancies and very few opportunities to take advantage of volume discounts and more. With technology as the enabler, we worked with the organization to examine their indirect spend, rationalize it, and cut redundant costs, saving $hundreds of millions annually on a $multi-billion budget.

“ If we think about digital transformation in large enterprises and the opportunities it provides for business optimization and growth it still remains essential for the organization and its processes to be aligned in order to drive business value. There was another great example when I was engaged as an executive consultant by a global pharmaceutical company to oversee their financial harmonization project, designed to accelerate consolidated regulatory and management reporting. Taking a holistic approach to this initiative resulted in significantly reduced time and resources to consolidate and close their books and produce the required periodic reporting. We then successfully took that same approach to leverage technology, coupled with optimizing their process and organizational competencies, to drive the business transformation needed to optimize their operational systems; including, sales, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain.

“Today there are so many available and emerging technologies it is essential to understand the potential opportunities and challenges that they can bring to your business and have the oversight and expertise to pose the right questions. It is also imperative to understand that technology and digital enablement is still not the panacea; and that a holistic business-wide and governed approach remain key criteria for success. Even today Gartner predicts* that 3 out of 5 smart factory initiatives will fail between now and 2025, and this is in large part is still due to companies taking a silo’d rather than an end-to-end holistic and integrated approach.

…And whilst it can seem like there are many technology solutions looking for a problem, this must not be the reason for procrastination. We saw at the beginning of this year the impact of not keeping the digital backbone of the organization current with its operations, resulting in South West Airlines canceling thousands of flights and causing chaos for US travelers and damage to their reputation and revenues. So, whilst we typically look to gain business advantage and growth from digital transformation initiatives, it can also sometimes come down to being an initiative that is essential for the organization to be resilient and survive!”

Source: * The Gartner Predictions for 2023: Top Trends Impacting Manufacturing

Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing your creative vision

Connect with Yvonne on LinkedIn.

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