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The word disruption historically has negative connotations associated with it. The specific definition stated by the Cambridge English Dictionary is to prevent something, especially a system, process or event, from continuing as usual or as expected. People are creatures of habit and would really prefer for things to stay the same. Disruption makes us uncomfortable. In layman’s terms, a disruption is a break from the status quo. 

According to Forrester, 47 percent of manufacturing companies believe that new technology has adversely impacted and disrupted the industry. But why are so many adversely impacted? The explanation is simple; the majority of technology implementations lack clear direction, project sponsorship and adherence to a comprehensive and detailed project plan. In 2016, the Project Management Institute (PMI) reported that 46 percent of all technology implementations are cancelled or delayed due to poor project management discipline. In terms of dollars, organizations wasted $122 million for every $1 billion invested due to poor project performance; a 12 percent increase over 2015. That’s a pretty big disruption! 

Does this mean disruption is always negative? No, an intentional disruption can actually have a positive impact. It stands to reason that unless an organization is willing to change, they cannot expect to do amazing things. When you make the conscious choice to disrupt with purpose inside your own organization, you display a willingness to take control of change and are in a better position to sustain a competitive advantage in your industry forces.  

POSITIVE DISRUPTION
When it comes to making operational improvements, tradition suggests to “throw technology at it and things will get better.” However, in our experience, this approach doesn’t work without a balanced focus on an organization’s people and processes with buy-in at all levels. At UHY, Digital transformation is the essential, intentional and deliberate disruption of people, processes and technologies to enable alignment with a company’s strategic vision. The disruption aims to break the status quo and enables a sustainable culture of continuous improvement and growth. While technology is a part of the solution, it is not the whole solution. 

EMBRACE DISRUPTION
Digital transformation is about bringing together the power of technology with a culture that embraces the change. There is a lot to consider when undergoing a Digital transformation initiative. How will you determine where a disruption will have the most significant impact? How do you execute in a manner that ensures alignment with your strategic vision? How do you select technologies that facilitate achieving your desired future state? Here are a few suggestions:

DARE TO DISRUPT
Dare to engage in a purpose-driven disruption that is both intentional and deliberate. A disruption on your terms and at your cadence will condition your organization for change. Disruption can be uncomfortable at first, but over time you will realize the kind of game changing experience that moves companies from good to great.

FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER
Selecting the right partner will make the difference between conducting a stereotypical software selection and a true Digital transformation – from people to processes to technologies. The right partner will help you select and implement a solution that will best suit your organization well into the future. 

ESTABLISH YOUR STRATEGIC VISION
If you have not yet established or communicated your company’s strategic vision, develop it and drive it throughout your organization. Your strategic vision sets the foundation for every decision you will make. Also, clearly establish and communicate your company’s mission and core values in support of the vision that will serve as the building block for the change and disruption that is about to occur.

ASSESS CORE BUSINESS PROCESSES 
Conduct an objective assessment of your core operational processes. Your order-to-cash process is a good place to start since it touches the majority of the business functions within your organization from sales and order entry through cash disbursements. If you have the budget to commit resources, take the time to also assess your procure-to-pay processes, from vendor setup and maintenance to payments. Optimizing these processes can yield significant financial benefits.

FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE MANAGEMENT 
Change management is not an activity, nor is it facilitated through a training event. Change is the foundation of an organization; the groundwork that empowers your people to lead the company through its various inflection points. Establish your executive steering committee and project core team at the onset of the process evaluation and technology upgrade. Prepare your people for change and empower them to execute it. Be transparent with them and share responsibility for the technology implementation to ensure early and consistent user adoption and buy-in.

EXAMINE EXISTING AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Once you have executed your go-forward strategy (vision, mission and core values), supported the strategy by addressing gaps between your current and future state processes, and established the foundation for change management, you will be prepared to consider what technology will best support your people and processes. Knowing where you want to go will help you ask the right questions to get you there and provide the knowledge to know what technology requirements need to be addressed. It’s possible that you don’t even need new software, you only have to learn how to utilize what you already have and maximize the value of your existing technology. 

DISRUPT THE STATUS QUO
In the end, empower your leaders with the tools and knowledge to drive your Digital Transformation initiatives. Trust them to know when to disrupt the status quo. Advances and growth are not made by continuing to do things the way they have always been done. They are achieved through disruption and change. Change will not come easy and people will not like it at first. Spend the right amount of time conditioning your people and processes for change and your organization will remain relevant, competitive and successful for years to come.