CA World: Eight tips on delivering business change

At CA World this year, the theme of the event is IT At The Speed Of Business. In his keynote address, CA Technologies CEO Bill McCracken outlined why IT departments are lagging behind the pace of business change and the potential impact that can have on the future of the business.

It's one thing to talk about change, but more difficult to achieve it, so CIO UK spoke to Adam Elster, CA's EVP global business operations and business transformation; and CA CFO Richard Beckert for advice on how to make the concept of transformation a reality.

1 Decide how much change the company can actually take.Different companies are more adaptable to change at different stages in their development. Start-ups have the small size to be able to re-invent their business model more painlessly. Once businesses become more established, company culture and position in the market becomes more entrenched. Identify the baggage, such as products portfolio, property estate or customer base that will slow up the pace of transformation.

2 Don't assume just adopting a small-company mindsetis the key for an established company becoming more nimble. Small companies are liable to take business risks that could be dangerous for bigger companies. Large companies have a lot more to lose in terms of customer base. Smaller companies can be less disciplined in their behaviour, because there are less people making business decisions. Larger companies would fall into chaos if employees adopted a looser approach to business rules.

3 Leadership style is important.A dictatorial leadership fill find employees are less likely to embrace change forced onto them from above. A more democratic style of leadership is required but business leaders have to make the tough decisions in the end, however consultative they are, so strong leadership is still necessary.

4 Look closely at the management structure.A flat management structure is more able to achieve business change than a complex hierarchy, because reacting to swift changes in the market requires a short chain from decision-making to fulfilment. CA Technologies has only seven layers of management. But it's important to create the right work groups around that management structure, so that departmental siloes are broken down. It's important for people to understand their roles within the company as a whole, rather than feel the need to defend their own department's interests. Failure to do that will lead to a dysfunctional corporate culture.

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