Dec 18, 2020

Deloitte: Transformation Nerve Centres boost digital change

Janet Brice
4 min
How TNCs are the critical cornerstone of a successful digital industrial transformation by creating visibility, intensity and accountability...

The key to creating a digital industrial transformation that delivers results to your organisation is a high performing Transformation Nerve Centre (TNC), according to Deloitte.

Taking a step-by-step look at the future of digital industrial transformation, Deloitte focuses on the benefits of a TNC in their latest paper, What it takes to execute large-scale and lasting transformations.

“A TNC can be a critical piece of the transformation program. The TNC creates visibility, intensity, and accountability, cornerstones of successful transformations,” says Deloitte.

What is a TNC?

According to the report, a TNC lies at the centre of an organisation and is chartered with comprehensively managing the planning, execution and the outcomes of a digital industrial transformation. 

“The sheer complexity, scope and ambiguity of transformation require dedicated capabilities to architect the transformation, orchestrate across multiple intersecting threads of work and track progress against goals,” says Deloitte.

A TNC also sets the transformation agenda, drives communications with stakeholders and makes the critical decisions needed to drive the program forward.

In a bid for leaders to ensure consistency and build credibility, Deloitte outlined the role of TNS during the digital transformation of a company. This can be categorised into three pillars: 

Spin up design and launch and wind down workstreams. Lead internal and external communications and support change management efforts across the enterprise. Seek out external perspectives and advisers.

Leverage technology and data to continuously improve efficiency. Lead and manage the ‘transformation zone’ investments.

Maintain a network of internal transformation ambassadors and provide board updates and establish a track transformation metrics, timeline and budget.

“Throughout the transformation, the TNC should consistently emphasise agile execution and decision-making - dynamic, real-time, and data-driven,” comments Deloitte.

“Centre leaders should challenge executives and workstream leaders to consider the organisation’s growth aspirations and to take on calculated risks while looking forward. The TNC should also actively facilitate discussions on trade-offs - financial, operational, or strategic - and the risk of inaction with business leaders who struggle to embrace the transformation.”

The report points out that once the goals have been set the most critical element of executing successful transformation is the team.

“The most effective centres are a combination of art and science - or nature and nurture,” says Deloitte. Teams should aim to include individuals with leadership capabilities, program management capabilities, experience navigating the organisation and an ability to deal with complexity, seniority, and bandwidth (science). “They should be able to innovate, invoke trust, and stay dedicated to the transformation’s goals (art).”

Deloitte’s experience in shaping end-to-end transformations reveal seven characteristics of high-performing TNC’s – these include:

  • Cross- functional
  • Independent
  • Dynamic
  • Bold
  • Communicative
  • Externally supported
  • Innovative

One aspect unique to TNC is ‘transformation scoping’ in which an organisation should take on a manageable task of digital change which is not too big but not too insignificant. “We’ve seen repeated success with dynamic scoping, in which the TNC takes charge of setting goals for shorter periods or agile execution sprints of eight to 12 weeks.

“Rather than committing resources and capital to the end-to-end transformation of the sales function over two years, the TNC might break this up into six to eight efforts, each focused on a separate but critical component of the sales transformation… In this way, the TNC provides line of sight into the overall goals but makes each element more achievable,” comment Deloitte.

In order to deliver, the report cites a successful transformation leader needs to have the following five qualities:

  • Bandwidth - to fully commit to the demands of a digital industrial transformation 
  • Deep understanding - of the company’s customers, markets and operations 
  • Risk appetite - to take on challenges and stick to the goals 
  • Authority - to make transformation-related decisions in partnership with the CEO
  • Influence - with other executives so that decisions are implemented effectively

“True transformations are inherently challenging to manage - they often come with high expectations, tight timelines and a wealth of scepticism among stakeholders. Yet when executed to plan, a digital industrial transformation can recast the fortunes of a struggling business,” concludes Deloitte.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 


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