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Hitachi Solutions
May 9, 2017  •  By Alexander von Massenbach

Hitachi Solutions Europe Launches New Transformation & Adoption Practice

Q&A with practice lead, Alex von Massenbach

1. Why has Hitachi Solutions launched its Transformation & Adoption practice? 

With the move to cloud-hosted applications our clients face new requirements in adopting new behaviours and achieving the desired business outcomes. We make sure the client’s business objectives underlying the initial IT project are defined and are met.

It’s something that we’ve been working towards for four years.  We have always delivered IT projects and services with Microsoft Dynamics 365 at their core. In doing these projects, it’s important that we can promise the organisations that we’re working with that there will be minimal business disruption.

However, the cloud brings a different dynamic. With on premise hosting, an organisation controlled its changes and could choose when to take upgrades and often customised the solution to a large degree to mould around existing processes.  This often meant large and expensive upgrades every few years managed as major, often a bit cumbersome and risky, projects.  With the move to cloud-hosted applications (and all the benefits around best-practice processes and efficiencies that brings), these decisions are made for you.  Customisations are reduced to a minimum, the costs and system risks are lowered, and the speed of an upgrade “project” is counted in weeks, not months.

Because the next release comes along in a fixed interval no matter what stage of readiness the organisation is at, our role is to be the trusted and highly-skilled partner that helps our customers navigate future upgrades.

That’s where Transformation & Adoption plays a part. We prepare and support customers to perfectly execute large IT changes and develop their capability and capacity for continuous change to also make sure the business objective underlying the initial IT project is met.  No IT project is done for the sake of it. Customers work with us because they want to increase process efficiencies, to reduce costs or to support M&A activity.  Our strategic role is to prove that these business goals have been achieved.


2. Define what Hitachi Solutions means by Transformation & Adoption and how organisations can benefit?

Our team works to imbed a process within an organisation so that the desired results are achieved and the change sticks.

We make change in a cloud world happen successfully.  We do this with a central principle that to achieve a goal, you need to go through a repetitive change process.  You absolutely can’t assume that because you introduce a new IT application, that your people will adopt the behaviour you’re looking for immediately.

For a habit to form it’s recognised that you need to do something about 30 times. We rarely change our own behaviour immediately.  Our team works to imbed a process within an organisation so that the desired change happens.  This process makes the organisation adopt an analysis, goal setting and understanding mindset about what needs to change and what KPIs should be met.  This process involves repetition.

Ultimately, it’s a process that we want the organisation to own and run, and it can take two months to set up, two months to run and six months to entrench this in a business. We withdraw when our customer is comfortable running it themselves.


3. How does the practice complement Hitachi Solutions’ existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities?

We use the latest thinking around people-centred change to ensure that the IT delivery generates the results that our customers originally set out to achieve.

Transformation & Adoption is very valuable and complementary. At Hitachi Solutions, we are cloud technology consulting experts for Microsoft Dynamics 365. We are already simplifying cloud deployment with the launch of our optimised, pre-configured applications, based on best-practice industry templates, called Essentials for Professional Services. Our Transformation & Adoption team adds change expertise and the latest thinking around people-centred change to make the IT delivery and business transformation better.

Our IT delivery success rates are excellent and now we can help them manage the change process with effective and efficient planning, personal impact assessments, leadership support, communication and training – all to deliver the results our customer originally set out to realise.


4. Tell me about the type of organisations that you work with.

Typical client organisations are already on a journey to transform, with an appreciation of the benefit of Transformation & Adoption, but don’t have the necessary expertise and/or resource to deliver people-powered change.

Industry-wise, we work alongside our Microsoft Dynamics consultants across multiple sectors with a current focus on professional services, housing associations, insurance, retail, public sector and financial services.

Characteristically, the organisations that knock on our door are typically more mature with a good awareness of their own weaknesses.  Specifically, our ‘client’ will be the project sponsor, steering committee, adoption or change project lead.

This is so important. In the classic Transformation & Adoption study by Prosci, data shows that 60-70 per cent of corporate IT projects fail because of leadership and sponsorship. Projects where senior leaders withdraw tend to lose momentum and this lack of leadership trickles down through the organisation, with complacency setting in. We counter this by creating a vision and impetus, led by a strong team and process, to make people want to change.

We find that most large organisations now recognise the need for support to keep them on the right track.  They’re very aware about what needs to be done but many find it hard to identify the right type of help. It’s also interesting that even customers using Agile delivery methodologies can be thrown off course because of a disconnect between the project and the IT team.

We tend to become engaged when Hitachi Solutions begins work on an IT delivery and needs extra support to implement the strategic change.


5. What specialist skills does the Transformation & Adoption team have?

With an average of 15 years change management experience, our Transformation & Adoption team members are experts in organisation and culture, leadership and guidance, learning and development, engagement and communications, and adoption & performance.

Transformation & Adoption is less about IT systems experience and much more about the people impacted in their daily lives. We have built a highly-experienced and passionate team full of individuals who have literally been in our customers’ shoes and tried it. With this background, they bring additional subject matter expertise around five core areas:

  • Organisation and culture: Our team will start by assessing organisational culture and norms to understand how it and its people work, then we build an infrastructure to support the way it wants to work in the future giving the organisation direction.
  • Leadership and guidance: We’ll support the leadership team in whatever way it needs, and identify change agents and other resources to make sure transitional goals are met – we built on the traditional change agent networks and establish dynamic innovation networks; an approach better suited for the demands of the cloud world.
  • Learning and development: We’ve people who focus solely on learning and development. Their job is to develop skills and behaviours using education about the processes, systems and technology within our customer’s specific cultural setup.
  • Engagement and communications: With change, it’s important to ask for feedback rather than waiting for it – and actioning that feedback, and reporting back to maintain motivation and adoption.
  • Adoption and performance: Our USP is ultimately our expertise in setting up a behavioural system that can change the habits of employees in any organisation. This change might be as small as getting them to start using the new reports and technology, and to make sure that higher up the tree the organisation is seeing the desired business transformation happen. We know from experience that this must be incorporated in the organisation’s performance management process to be a success.


6.What excites you about the Transformation & Adoption as a discipline?

I help people build trust and find the benefits of a completely new way of working. My involvement is the direct result of being involved in change during a very testing time.

When I first began consulting, I worked with a company where one poor gentleman ran a maintenance department of a few dozen purely on a pen and paper basis. Many of his team were due to retire, and there was a massive worry that the department’s intellectual capital would leave with them. As new hires were out of the question, the pressure and stress for him and his long-time colleagues increased to unsustainable levels. At that point, the company introduced a new ERP without involving them in the process and after initial training and go-live, not surprisingly, he and his team went into shock.

We started to support the IT change and help the team to manage the bigger challenge of adopting a brand new, non-manual system. Understanding their fears and doubts in depth, building trust and helping them find the benefits of a completely new way of working. Ultimately, the change management process that we put in place gave them a better work experience, better life experience and a better work/life balance.

At the end of the project, the manager told me that his entire team had reduced their overtime to nothing more than a very rare late night, while maintaining the equipment at improved availability and better cost levels. When he told me that he was now able to have dinner with his family most nights compared to never the previous year, I was hooked on the power of change.

From seeing how business can be more successful because employees are more efficient and motivated using IT, I decided to help other organisations do the same. My team and I are professionals at it.


If you’d like to find out more, or continue the conversation, please get in touch.  

Alexander von Massenbach
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