The key to successful transformation is the people The world is changing – and nowhere more so than in the economy. Be it in manufacturing or the service sector, the new possibilities created by digital technology mean companies have to continuously adapt if they are to remain competitive. Processes must be reorganized, organizational structures have to be changed. Consumed by their everyday business, many companies find it difficult to keep up. What they need is a trusted partner who is familiar with transformation processes and can implement them practically and efficiently.
Mr. Tenbieg, what sort of clients do you serve in Organization & Transformation?
Primarily leading companies in the financial sector, such as big international banks, private banks and asset managers.
Why the financial sector?
We specialized in this area from the word go because we realized that this was a sector in transition – and not just following the 2007 financial crisis. The need for change was looming beforehand – and has since become increasingly acute. This is partly due to regulatory change – I have in mind the clean money strategy and the exchange of information, with the resulting pressure on margins. But on the other hand, this can also be attributed to the growing influence of technological progress in the form of multichannel management and digitization.
Where are there still problems?
The lack of transparency in the sector has been rightly condemned for several years, especially since the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008. The financial crisis revealed that the existing regulations weren’t enough to keep the sector under control. For this reason, a string of new laws and regulations has been enacted in recent years which place high demands on banks and other institutions. Since 2013, Swiss banks’ resources have been largely tied up with the implementation of Basel III, the rules of the Bank for International Settlements regulating banking. To make sure their business doesn’t fall by the wayside, many banks have brought us in to examine the efficiency of organizational structures dating back decades and to optimize their business processes.
Is this upheaval in the industry now complete?
Much of the regulatory upheaval is now over, but things will only remain calm until the next crisis, when new gaps will emerge in the regulations. However, most banks have realized that they still need to reorganize themselves if they don’t want to lose the confidence of their investors. Ultimately, the transformation process is never complete. Moreover, the financial industry is only just beginning to appreciate the full potential and importance of digitalization for the various business models.
What’s your role when a company hires you as a consultant regarding the adaptation of existing organizational structures?
For us, transformation above all means smoothly changing an existing system into a new target state agreed with the client – if possible, such that day-to-day operations aren’t disrupted and all those concerned are involved from the initial phase.
What does that mean exactly? How do you proceed in, say, the case of a reorganization assignment?
First of all, we identify the scope of the reorganization assignment and its impact on the building blocks of the existing operating model. The building blocks (such as governance, processes and organization) must be considered both individually and in relation to each other. Only in this way we can ensure that attention really is paid to every relevant aspect and all the interdependencies are identified. For this purpose, we have specifically designed a methodology that serves as orientation. We then use our phased approach to carry out analysis and transformation, and to design and above all firmly integrate the new operating model into the company structure. This enables us to ensure that it will remain successful in the long term.
What is the most important thing for successful implementation?
The key to successful and sustainable transformation is the people, regardless of whether the management and work organization are changed or new processes and systems are devised. Employees must have an opportunity to bring their experience and knowledge to the table, regardless of their position within the hierarchy. We have to keep them abreast of the changes and train them in time.
Even if it sounds like a truism, we know from experience that changes will only be sup-ported by employees if they’re involved early on and if they also shoulder responsibility for implementation – something which is especially important to us.
Are you implying that a transformation process or reorganization chiefly depends on soft factors?
No, that’s not what I meant. Successful transformation requires very precise planning. It’s imperative to have an extremely structured approach with clearly defined milestones and responsibilities. We have therefore developed standardized tools which are customized to the client’s requirements. And because we work in such a standardized way, we can define a reliable budget and time frame.
To discover our full range of services in the area of Organization and Transformation management or to discuss your specific business challenges, please get in touch with Philipp Tenbieg via email@example.com
Private banking sector
IT support for private banking was to be restructured. The objective was to deliver professional, customer-friendly service all over the world. Expenditure was to be reduced and cost transparency increased – not by laying off staff, but by becoming more effective and price-transparent. Until this time, support staff were integrated into local teams, which meant there were several contact partners and no central contact address. The challenge was to consolidate the different areas in order to make the value chain more effective and significantly boost operational efficiency.
After analyzing the organizational units and processes, TALOS put together a team who defined the new structures and made processes more efficient. Employees relevant to transformation were identified using a specially designed tool for budget and time recording analysis.
To ensure the acceptance of the new model, employees from all hierarchical levels were involved in designing the new organization, and project ambassadors were appointed to answer employees’ questions. Once the staff had undergone intensive training in the new processes and structures, internal organization switched to the new operating model. In order to avoid disruption to day-to-day operations during the first few weeks following in-troduction, a coexistence approach was applied: although staff were supposed to apply the new procedures, in difficult cases they were still allowed to revert to former patterns. Once the coexistence phase was over, support was still available under the project in or-der to solve basic questions and eliminate operational uncertainties.
The reorganization of IT support has been successfully completed. What’s more, savings have been generated. The project was implemented within the defined timeframe and budget. The transformation process was supported by the management throughout the period. Employees’ initial scepticism quickly faded and they became actively involved in shaping the new organization. Customer satisfaction regarding the speed, quality and pricing of IT support has measurably increased. And this in turn has had a positive spillover effect on measured satisfaction among the support staff.