Business Transformation encompass People, Process and Technology but Gartner`s presented this framework for ERPs deployment and today most global companies are facing centralizations in Share Services and RPA solutions developments as part of their next step in Digital Transformation. These initiatives are driven from the Technology domain and in most of the cases are looking for headcount redistribution and/or reduction which will have an impact not only in Processes but fundamentally on People. In contrast Lean drives transformation from the People and Process`s domains to create capacity through bottlenecks, waste and variability elimination increasing effectiveness and making the best used of Technology and resources. Even though both are not only compatible but necessary, in practice is not always the case that Digital and Lean Transformations are integrated since there are some key aspects to take into consideration:

People Engagement to improve Effectiveness and Stability

Neither an ERP nor any IT solution can guarantee by themselves right first time or efficiency because results heavily depend on deployment. Also, if we consider customer experience and satisfaction, it is quite clear that the Technology is necessary but not enough to achieve organizational effectiveness and increase stability without including People and Processes. Of course, that there are different types of industries and within organizations core and non-core processes are not the same, but considering the entire organization, Technology by itself won`t be able to produce business results. Even more, sometimes errors in the deployment and/or in TOM`s design, create more work or re-work that people will manage based on experience and teamworking, two elements that can be severely affected with headcount relocation and/or reduction. People should be included from the beginning of the transformation journey, because their knowledge and feedback will improve the Digital transformation`s outcomes to increase effectiveness and stability ensuring business results, customer experience and ROI.

Organizational Learning to create Capacity and Flexibility

When an organization deployed an ERP, it was very important not only to upgrade processes bellow market standard performance but also to sustain competitive advantages that distinguished the organization from its competitors. Share services and RPAs’ bring also an improvement from the benchmark but organization`s processes and people are not only differentiators but the output from the organizational learning. Disruptive change needs to be assimilated by the organization through its people and the outcome will be new capabilities and processes with a more flexible organization which will be also more resilient. If Technology is imposed instead of being adopted, there will be no organizational learning because to reach out the future state from the current one, the people needs to be walk through the transition state. The Target Operation Model (TOM) can help to guide people and organizations through their transformation journey, but to do so it needs to be flexible and co-created with the new way of working that is being developed.

The People in the Organizational Business Transformation Journey

One of the pillars of Lean is Respect to People, the phrase of the former Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho “First we build people, then we build cars” shows why Lean still gets results for them. In many cases, during Digital Transformation the people is left aside and even though with huge investment and endless meetings neither the operational nor the business results are achieved. Sometime behind the title “Disruptive Change” lies lack of change management because the emphasis is on results, organizations fail to pay attention to the process and even more important, to the people. Buying in the promise that operational and business results can be copied and pasted from one organization to the other, leaders put at risk not only the ability of the organization to produce results in the short but also in the long term. To achieve a real Business Transformation with an Agile, Resilient and Sustainable organization as an outcome, the people within the organization should be engaged in the journey from the beginning to learn from the experience to enlarge the organizational knowledge with new capabilities and processes adopting the technology to develop a new way of working.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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