Nancy Jalbert
Partner | CPA, CA | Business Transformation

You completed your audit 4.0. What do you have to do now to achieve your business’s digital transformation? Where do you begin?

Here you are, recommendations in hand, facing a plan providing you with a clear portrait of your business’s level of digital maturity.

You now have to take action to develop this maturity in line with your strategic planning. But where do you start to achieve your ambitions?

Take action

Step 1: Determine project priority

The 4.0 diagnosis includes a digital plan presenting an overview of the intermediate and digital transformation projects to be implemented.

At a certain point, the business will have to make a final selection of the projects to be implemented based on its budget and implementation plan. It is therefore necessary to determine the critical path for achieving the objectives of the various strategic and operational directions established.

To help you categorize your actions objectively, we suggest that you define some criteria and give them a summary score (between 1 and 5).

You could, for example, use the following criteria:

  • Criticality: Is your project critical? (5 = very critical, 1 = less critical);
  • Immediate realization: Does your project depend on the implementation of other projects?
    (5 = project without other prerequisite projects, 1 = project with several other prerequisite projects);
  • Budget and expected return: Will the return on investment on your project be quick or very significant (5 = project with high expected return, 1 = project with lower expected return);
  • Timeframe: Is the expected end date of your project fixed and achievable (5 = very achievable within expected timeframe, 1 = improbable or unrealistic timeframe);
  • Risk: Does your project involve risks that could negatively affect the company’s performance if they were poorly defined? (5 = low risk, 1 = high risk);
  • Impact: Will the completion or non-completion of your project have an impact on the achievement of your objectives? (5 = significant impact, 1 = no impact).

Then, you will have to add up the scores to obtain an overall score. Higher scores will determine the priority of projects to be implemented.

You will therefore be able to better categorize your projects based on the following priorities:

  • Priority no. 1: important and urgent;
  • Priority no. 2: important and non-urgent;
  • Priority no. 3: not important and urgent;
  • Priority no. 4: (abandon): not important and non-urgent.

Step 2: Analyze project feasibility

Once you have finished prioritizing your projects, some of them with a high number of variables will require more rigorous analysis to determine in greater depth the difference between what the 4.0 diagnosis predicts and the actual situation.

The feasibility analysis therefore confirms whether or not the optimistic view of the digital plan is valid in your situation. It is, to some extent, the ultimate test before making a definitive commitment to the project.

Concretely, you will conduct:

Step 3: Establish project charter

Now that you know your priority projects and are aware that the gap between the 4.0 diagnosis your situation is narrowed, it is essential to finally define the project.

  • Draft a preliminary statement of the purpose of the project.
  • Confirm and specify its objectives.
  • Determine the project’s main actors.
  • Define the project’s authority (its champion).

This charter serves, among other things, to authorize the project and acts somewhat as a contract between the project champion, the various stakeholders and the project team. Of course, you must obtain senior management approval before starting your project.

Step 4: Manage projects

The management steps of technology projects emerging from an industry 4.0 audit are not so different from those of another type of project, i.e. planning, execution, control and finalization.

However, not everyone is comfortable with technologies. This is one of the reasons why projects relating to the digital shift bring their share of challenges.

You will have to adapt your management style, as the projects will be affected by new elements, that companies are not familiar with:

  • internet of objects,
  • additive manufacturing,
  • system integration,
  • autonomous systems,
  • augmented reality,
  • simulations,
  • massive data,
  • cybersecurity,
  • cloud computing.
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Project managers don’t have to be experts in all of these fields, but they must act as digital transformation leaders and coaches.

That said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support by experts in digital and organizational transformation can make all the difference between facing the future with confidence and conviction and remaining immobilized in the status quo.

Key factors for success:

Get your employees involved in your digital transformation from the very beginning of the project
An employee who is engaged and committed to the success of your growth projects will become a positive leader and excellent ambassador for your employer brand.

Put employee health and safety first
New technologies and robots will require special attention and handling. Standards, employee interaction, workspace reconfiguration and risk management are matters to consider in your transformation.

Be realistic
Not everyone has the same digital maturity, and a technology project involves resources and expertise. Start on the right track with the support of business advisors.

Establish measurable objectives
Without a goal, it will be difficult for you to measure the impact of any change. Assess your results regularly, that way you can consider improvement measures quickly instead of lingering in a doomed situation.

Aim for small victories
What pays off quickly is extremely motivating and instills the desire to surpass oneself and go even further.

Challenge your business model
Ask yourself: Does it contribute to or hamper your progress.

Invest in training
Trained and informed employees will be more productive and more likely to present new ideas and innovate. Training is an important factor when it comes to considering your future in a company.

Don’t overlook the importance of proper communication
Taking the time to explain the reason for the changes will promote a better understanding on the part of all staff and it will be easier to get your resources on board with on this new adventure.

Develop a change culture management plan and listen to your employees
You would be surprised to see how much they can contribute in ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Don’t try to do it alone
Your projects will require a good financial investment and will require much from your resources. Being supported by experts will make the task manageable for all.

In a context of digital transformation, the magnitude of the technological challenges facing organizations is relatively large. For most SMEs, a technology project can be a daunting adventure.

Beyond competitiveness, you will have to take a look at your how you manage your human resources who are essential to the growth of your organization. A technological project can quickly become demanding for your employees in addition to taking them out of their comfort zone. That’s why it’s important to implement ways to retain your resources and keep them mobilized.

Feel free to call on our experts in information technology, business strategies and models, organizational performance and human resources management to assist you in all stages of the implementation of 4.0 projects, such as:

  • the realization of an information technology master plan;
  • the management of technological projects;
  • guidance in selecting computer systems;
  • guidance in implementing computer systems;
  • business strategies and models;
  • organizational performance;
  • human resource management.

04 Oct 2019  |  Written by :

Nancy Jalbert is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

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How can you win the race for the best talent in the context of globalization and workforce shortages?

Today’s business world is facing one of the greatest periods of transformation since the first industrial revolution.

Globalization, the fourth industrial revolution and labour issues are shaking up markets and ambitions.

What skills will tomorrow’s leaders need? How can you make sure your organization is able to compete in the battle for talent and clients?

Prosperous businesses and tomorrow’s leaders will have to call on a number of key factors, including:

  • A revised human resource management model;
  • Innovation;
  • Openness to inclusive and diversified teams;
  • Succession planning to ensure permanency.

A revised human resource management model

Don’t misunderstand: traditional talent management still counts. However, it’s essential to integrate new processes to retain talent and increase appeal.

Consider the workforce issue as an opportunity to transform your practices.

There are several significant levers, such as the employer brand, competency development, global compensation strategy and recruiting strategies that can support the implementation of talent attraction and loyalty processes to enhance efficiency and performance.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have an attractive global compensation strategy that aligns with your ambitions and your market’s situation?
  2. Is your employer brand solid enough to support staff loyalty and new talent attraction issues?
  3. Do your managers have the requisite skills to manage human resources and appropriately fulfill their role in a transformation context?
  4. Does your organizational structure contribute to moving your organization and resources forward or does it hamper progress?
  5. Should you consider new recruiting strategies, such as international recruiting?
  6. Do you have the right tools to improve the employee and candidate experience as well as your new talent onboarding and integration practises?
  7. Is your work climate conducive to achieving your organizational goals and those of your talent in their quest for happiness at work?

Through in-depth reflection and expert advice from human resource management experts, you will be able to optimize your practices and take a closer look at the key moments that have the greatest impact on your employees’ engagement.

Technological innovation for the benefit of business

Would labour force issues be an opportunity to rethink your organizational structure, or even your business model, by calling on the benefits of automation and technology?

Eliminating a number of more basic tasks paves the way for employees to provide added value in areas machines are not able to.

The road to the digital transformation and achieving your ambitions will, however, require that you adapt your talent management approach:

  • Rethinking jobs, including digital transformation functions and skills;
  • Transforming career management, with continuous support;
  • Ensuring transformational leadership that fosters behavioural and cultural changes through engagement and inspiration;
  • Providing for the multiplication of skills and custom training;
  • Performing organizations are those that are agile and open to technological change.
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While organizations can use digital transformation to increase productivity, support specific functions and limit the impact of labour force issues, it is the balance between technological innovation, engagement and the required skills that will need to be a priority for your organization.

Openness to inclusive and diversified teams

Openness to inclusive and diversified teams also means seeking out new talent internationally. Moreover, a growing number of organizations are opting for turnkey employee recruiting and mobility solutions in order to meet the challenges of the specialized workforce.

Canada is appealing to foreign workers. Quebec businesses, for example, are recruiting qualified employees, not only from French-speaking countries, but also from Asia, Latin American and Eastern Europe.

These workers’ mobility is an effective way to support production and business activities. Opening up to teams integrating workers from various backgrounds contributes significantly to the enrichment of an entrepreneurial culture and a culture of innovation.

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International recruiting requires the use of customized solutions and support by qualified experts should be considered at all stages of the process. The key steps include:

  • Understanding the international hiring process;
  • Defining recruiting strategies based on your organization’s situation;
  • Selecting candidates based on their skills and the current temporary immigration program eligibility criteria;
  • Carrying out the legal steps (temporary work permits, status extension, validation of the candidate’s eligibility and representations by authorized experts with government bodies);
  • Applying for permanent residency, leading to Canadian citizenship;
  • Developing an onboarding and integration action plan.

In the context of globalization that is creating new challenges and a multitude of opportunities, recruiting specialized talent from outside the country and temporary immigration are options that must be considered.

In fact, young people are looking for modern, diversified organizations that make the effort to renew themselves and that promote values such as equality and openness.

Sharing experiences, cultural exchange and evolution in an open environment are all vectors for improved productivity and better overall job satisfaction.

Succession planning to ensure permanency

A business transfer involves more than just the accounting aspects. Today, business transfers are recognized more as a human issue. In fact, a Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton study reveals that 76% of respondents consider aspects other than finances and taxes to be important.

Which is good, because a Canadian survey revealed, for its part, that only 33% of businesses survive the transition from the first generation to the second and only 10% from the second to the third.

In short, a business transfer is not easy and takes time. It should be planned at least five years in advance, whether it’s a family business transfer or a sale to an unrelated third party.

Why? In order to have the time to “prepare” the organization and its stakeholders for this often gradual change of custody, but also, to enable it to have access to certain financial and tax advantages that it would have to forego without adequate preparation.

A business transfer also requires adequate support.

Using a team of neutral experts will guide you towards success by providing you with the right information on:

  • The organization’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • The potential alignment of the transferor’s and transferee’s profile and intentions;
  • The transfer potential (advantages and disadvantages) in relation to human resources, management, finance and taxation, as well as succession planning.

The benefits of a succession plan

In the context of the workforce issue, with a well thought-out transfer plan, you can benefit from the following advantages:

  • Anticipating potential problems;
  • Ensuring a gradual knowledge and skills transfer;
  • Anticipating competency development, where necessary;
  • Providing professional development, promotion, etc. opportunities for the current team, based on needs created by the seller’s departure and the buyer’s new roles and responsibilities;
  • Increasing the current team’s commitment;
  • Fostering a sense of security for all involved (workers, management team, financial partners, suppliers and customers);
  • Reflecting on the organization’s positioning and strategic directions to have a clear vision to communicate to all employees (a powerful workforce attraction, engagement and retention tool).

The ball’s in your court, it’s your turn!

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In our continued effort to offer you relevant and useful tools, we are pleased, at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, to publish a French version of IFRS Example Consolidated Financial Statements 2019, a publication by the Grant Thornton International IFRS team entitled États financiers consolidés types conformes aux IFRS – 2019 (hereinafter the “Example consolidated financial statements’’).

The Example consolidated financial statements have been updated to reflect changes in IFRS that are effective for the year ending December 31, 2019. These include the adoption of IFRS 16 Leases, which become effective for accounting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2019. No account has been taken of any new developments published after April 30, 2019.

Download the document below.

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How can you recruit and retain qualified staff to maintain your business’s growth? You need to be prepared to face this major issue.

The shortage of qualified workers affects most industries and is a sizeable obstacle for business leaders.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, there are currently over 117,000 job vacancies to be filled in Quebec.

It is therefore imperative for managers to surround themselves with human resource experts to attract new talent, retain their employees and thus maintain their company’s growth.

First of all, as a company, you must position yourself as an appealing employer: organizations must stand out from the competition and be attractive to candidates by presenting strong values and an organizational culture that has a positive influence on the employee happiness index.

You then have to project that image into the community. The more positively you are talked about, the more attention you will get from candidates. The employer brand is therefore the first aspect on which executives must focus to attract new talent, since in a context of labour shortage, job seekers have a wide array of choices.

Recruiting: attracting the best talent

Before calling on a head hunter, you have to ask yourself whether you’re satisfied with your organization’s human resources positioning. Do you think you’re “alluring” enough to attract the best talent and pursue your ambitions?

The business environment is being disrupted by numerous changes, including new technologies, digital transformation or globalization, it is important to take advantage of these innovations and use them as a lever to improve your organization’s image.

Capitalize on opportunities to promote yourself: be active on social networks, share your successes, your activities in the field or the causes you support. Sell yourself! In this day and age, employees should be perceived as customers!

Maintain a strong connection with your current employees

With a strong employer brand, not only will you attract new resources, you’ll retain your current employees.

Here are the main aspects you should pay attention to in order to maintain your image:

  • The organization’s culture and values;
  • The work environment, it should be enjoyable and motivating;
  • Challenges and advancement opportunities;
  • The overall compensation offering (financial and non-financial benefits);
  • Working conditions (flexible schedules, teleworking possibilities, etc.);
  • Support (training, mentoring, co-development);
  • The management team’s quality and leadership;
  • Work tools;
  • The organization’s social commitment.

To be a great employer, you must also have a well-structured skills development and succession planning program. The ideal candidate for a key position may already be in your ranks.

Most employees want opportunities to progress. Target the resources that you think are the best fit for a promotion to strategic positions, and then give them all the necessary guidance to develop. Be flexible in your selection criteria and act quickly in choosing your candidates.

Your employees (past and present) are the best ambassadors to promote your employer brand. You have to take care to maintain an excellent relationship with them. An exit interview with departing employees can also help you identify areas for improvement within your organization.

Nevertheless, finding the rare gem is not an easy task. We suggest that you call on specialists such as the ones in our firm, who offer complete services in this field. We can help you position yourself as a particularly interesting employer and find candidates who will fit perfectly into your organization.