Luc Verbist: the business transformation of Greenyard

  • Digital Business
  • Online

External pressure and parameters are often the trigger for management to initiate a business transformation. But where do you start? What are the factors to take into consideration? Luc Verbist explains the road he and Greenyard walked and gives us some valuable insights. 

Greenyard Luc2 Michel

Left: Luc Verbist, CIO of Greenyard
Right: Michel Verwaerde, Country manager at GTT

Create buy-in and analyse the situation thoroughly

Business transformation does not happen overnight and you’ll certainly not succeed alone. You’ll need to create a buy-in. You start with an analysis of the problem or opportunity.

This may not be easy or obvious for the existing management. They have grown custom to the situation, may not have experience with this kind of exercise and may be biased. That’s the reason why external consultants (with an unbiased and experienced point of view) are called upon in this phase.

IT and processes are intertwined

When looking at business transformation, you look at IT and processes. You can’t separate processes from IT, and most of the times IT is part of the problem or part of the solution. And this is the part organizations need to understand.

Good functioning systems and well-designed processes lead to more efficiency, and that’s why you need to put the right investment in your IT.

Every euro well spent in IT has a return to the company of 5 euros! This means an investment in the short term, but with incredible results in the long term.

 Business operating model

Determine how you want to operate as a business: do you want to standardise and/or integrate business processes? These decisions are to be made at management level, but they have an impact on your IT infrastructure and situation. The model Greenyard has used is the Business Operating Model by Peter Weill, defining in business language how you want to operate as a business and the  impact these decisions have on IT.

Hurdles 

When performing these studies and exercises in order to create a business transformation, the road will be rough. You’ll need to be aware of the hurdles on your way and act accordingly. The most common are:

  • Perceived uniqueness: People believe their processes and problems are unique and important, and don’t see them as mere exceptions for example.
  • Complexity of processes: specialist believe their processes are far too complex and difficult to be automised. The opposite is often true (the more complex and the more parameters involved, the better a computer can perform this task)
  • (Lack of) leadership: leaders need to be leaders, not specialists.
  • Burying your heads in the sand: denying problems, giving excuses not to change 

The biggest hurdle: company culture

When taking your business decisions, it is ever so important to think about your company culture. Decisions succeed or fail based on the company culture that exists.

Changing your company culture is a possibility, but this requires several years. On top of that, your organization needs to be ready to allow this cultural change to happen.

Create a detailed and concrete transformation plan 

Be precise, be detailed and be realistic. Those are the key elements to build your transformation plan. Make sure you have a concrete idea on short term but also a clear perspective in the long run.

Business transformation starts and ends with people. You need to create buy-in and make sure your people are and stay on board, by giving detailed plans and a good perspective on short term and on long term. Look at both processes and IT together in order to increase the efficiency of your organization.

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