5 Tips To Accelerate Digital Transformation

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Prior to joining Honeywell, Jeff held R&D roles at Procter & Gamble Company across multiple regions and business segments. He is the industry leader in enterprise-wide digitally enabled work process transformation. He also serves as the Program Management Office leader for Honeywell Intelligrated.

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Highlights from Episode 148:

“5 Tips To Accelerate Digital Transformation” with Jeff Hopkins

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

I’m currently the global program management office leader for Honeywell, as well as the Intelligrated PMO leader. I have been in that role at Honeywell for about three years and prior to that was at Procter & Gamble, driving a lot of work process transformation in the R&D and manufacturing, regulatory space. I am a chemical engineer by training but I’ve always been very interested in the digital side of things. So I’ve gravitated over to that area over time.

Can you explain to us a little bit about the two hats that you wear at Honeywell?

The global program management office leader role is a new role. It’s really to optimize about $11.5 billion worth of projects solutions business. So, we’ve focused on project solutions to start and span those businesses. We want to optimize the performance of those who drive the profitability of those businesses by standardizing the work processes and digitally enabling those work processes with enterprise-wide capabilities. But also importantly investing and building the future DNA and program management and controls by developing the capabilities and skillset of our employee base.

It’s kind of been interesting because I’ve got that kind of horizontal roll at the corporate level. But then I’m deeply embedded in one of the most important project solutions businesses to see the real day-to-day challenges of operating that business, and the opportunities that are there. Then I like to tell my peers in the other project solution businesses that, “Hey, from a corporate standpoint, I’ve got to eat my own dog food so to speak.” So it forces you to really think closely around “Is what we’re going to be driving out here a value add? What are the real practical challenges with implementing it down into a business?” So I think it’s helped keep me kind of grounded as well to bring more in-depth experience in this business model.

Could you just give an overview of maybe some of the typical programs and projects that you manage at Honeywell? Are they all the same or are there completely different projects happening at the same time?

I would say that it speaks a bit to the transformation that we’re driving and why we’re putting together, the GPMO: if you look at the external environment that we are operating in, I think most of leaders would tell you that it’s the most challenging, if not, at least one of the most challenging environments to operate in. So, starting with the pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic, flowing right from that crisis into global supply chain shortages, into inflation, the war in Ukraine with Russia, where you’ve got companies that are needing to get out of their operations in Russia, they’re needing to protect and care for their employees in that area, and then certainly leading into everyone’s concern about this winter in Europe and what’s that going to mean to be able to operate a business? What’s that going to mean for our people? A very, very challenging environment.

So, in the GPMO, it’s really about then recognizing that whenever there’s a big disruption like that, it also creates the opportunity for innovation. When the weather is really rough and the water is choppy the best captain and the best crew tend to prevail in a race. And so, investing into that storm, to raise the bar on our performance as a project solutions business and really optimize that not just to weather the storm but then outpace our competition is a really, really great opportunity. So, a lot of the GPO efforts are focused there. So, “How do we standardize the way that we’re doing the work, deploying an enterprise ecosystem to manage these projects?”

The types of projects we work on are exceptionally diverse across the business. So, in Honeywell Intelligrated, it’s warehouse automation. These projects can range from a couple of million dollars of those upgrades that you’re doing over a weekend to over a $100 million projects that might last 18 months or even two years, depending on when you start the clock. Then we have our Honeywell Building Solutions will do a lot of integrated systems for buildings, security and fire, again, smaller projects all the way up to quite big projects there.

In our UPT (Utilities, Performance, Technology) organization, who play in the oil and gas industry there’s a very diverse range of projects there. We have our process solutions businesses, and they’re dealing again with a very broad range of types of projects, the geographies they’re dealing with. Then our Arrow organization and our Smart Energy organization, kind of round it out. It’s quite a diverse kind of customer base, a diverse business model, a diverse geography. So, very, very different, but all unified around this vision that we need to raise the bar on how we’re operating those projects to optimize the performance of those businesses.

What are the pitfalls that you would normally encounter when it comes to implementing digital transformation in a company?

I think it’s a great question and it’s really the focus of my talk. When people talk about digital transformation, they tend to get very focused on the tool and you know “It’s this tool or that tool.” And it’s all about implementing the tool. But I heard a great analogy that speaks to what I think is the biggest challenge, which is around the people side of change. This analogy was that the digital transformation is like the Cyclone in The Wizard of Oz. It rolls through, it tears everything up, picks you up, and plops you down in this new world that’s so very foreign and very different to you from an end-user point of view, right? And actually from a leader of those users as well because their life changes quite a bit.

I think it’s a great analogy because if you think about The Wizard of Oz was the first colour movie back in 1939 and that transition from Kansas in black-and-white to Oz in colour, I think, is very indicative of kind of what we see of going from a world where you’re in email and spreadsheets to a world where your data is more democratized, and you can access it and leverage it more. But if you really kind of dig into this, the Cyclone was critical to the movie, but the movie wasn’t about the Cyclone. The movie was about Dorothy’s journey to Oz and learning to fall in love with Oz, right?

Usually, people will stop here and say “This is a terrible analogy, the whole movie was about Dorothy’s, desire to get back to Kansas.” Like, “When you’re supposed to be talking about transformation, and the whole point of that movie was she was trying to get back to Kansas.” I think that’s a very real thing that we all deal with and when driving transformation is people want to go back to their old way of working, right?

But what a lot of people don’t know is that movie was the first in a series of 12 books and the rest of those books detailed Dorothy’s journey to get back to Oz because she realized once she was back in Kansas, it’s not where she wants to be. I think trade digital transformation is very much like that. So, once you get people over and they’re really set up with an operation in the new world, nobody wants to go back to the old world, right? Once they’re proficient and they’re capable.

It raises the question of what do our people need to successfully navigate that transformation. So continuing with the analogy a little bit, if you’ll let me continue with the analogy: If you think about the movie, Dorothy was helped by three people, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion. If you kind of play the analogy a little bit more, the Scarecrow was looking for his brain and so this speaks to: we need to train our people, and we need to educate them. Training and education are two different things because training is kind of “Okay, push this button. Do this. Do that.” Education is more the “Why we’re doing it and what we want to get out of it.”

The Tin Man was looking for his heart. So the heart represents the passionate belief that this transformation that you’re driving is critical not just for the company to survive, but for the company to thrive.

Then the one that really resonates with people was the Lion who was looking for courage. This is the courage to get started and the courage to keep going when the going gets tough. Because the progress in these transformations is often uneven. So my first tip that I’ll share in the Project Controls Symposium is to find your lions, feed your lions and that’s as opposed to feeding them to the lions which is what sometimes happens, and be aligned yourself.

And so, I’ll share a video when the Project Controls. I’ll find these folks that are really embracing what we’re doing. I’ll put them on a pedestal and I’ll put them out in front to talk to their peers, directly or in some videos. So I use a lot of videos to do that. I will share a video that we just recently put together about our Cora transformation in the Project Controls Symposium.

Why is it so important how to get them on board with this, whether it’s in implementing the software to help with the digital transformation or really to educate, like how is this important?

I think you need a multi-faceted approach. The second tip that I’ll probably spend a little bit more time on, and I’ve got some kind of visuals to support it, is: We developed this, I call it the V-model for transformation and it’s very much focused around a go-live. You can use it throughout because you obviously will probably have multiple go-lives in your journey. But if you look at driving transformation, I believe that you need to drive transformation on three levels and you have to have a management operating system around driving that transformation on all three levels. That’s with a cadence of how you connect, who you connect with, the KPIs that you’re measuring. All of those things have to come together.

Obviously you have to engage senior leadership and senior leadership needs to commit the resources that are going to be required to do it. They got to define that it’s a priority and they have to commit to a date that they’re going to get it done by because otherwise these things just kind of shift to the right because change is hard and we all have very busy lives in our day-to-day. So, putting time aside to transform is very difficult. So, that group has really got a hold to those three things. We’re committing the resources. This is a priority and then we want it done by this date, and they got to drive that down in their organizations.

Then on the other end is, you’ve got the end users. It’s interesting because the motivation between the two is very different. The senior leaders, they’re worried about what’s right for the company and the users are worried about what this means for me and my day-to-day role. In that user group, I find this bell curve of innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards are very real. It’s something that you see. And so for that group, I think there’s it’s kind of a double-edged sword.

So, one is, you need to provide training and you need to provide education. Depending on the function, and depending on the culture, you may need to just spend the time on the what or you might need this and the time on why to get them there. I think that’s something you have to kind of figure out with your audience: are they kind of compliant, do they go along because they’ve been told to or are they going to give you lip service and then just keep doing what they’re doing without really embracing the transformation?

Then I think on the other side you have to measure utilization. And so we’ve been pulling some back-end data and looking at how many times are people logging in, how much time are they spending in the different tool,  where are they are going? So, we’re working to extract good analytics out of the data that we have in the tool to understand how people are using it and maybe where they’re struggling, where we need to do additional training or pockets of resistance in different businesses.

Then literally like I’ll go through and look at logins and if I see a PM hasn’t logged in over a week, I’ll call them up personally and be like “Hey, why didn’t you login in the past week?” And that hands-on touch I think it’s sometimes shocking to them that they have a VP calling them asking them why they haven’t logged into the tool. But I tell you it gets results because then they get on the journey. Then I think the most important group is that you have to have this third group which is the change network leaders.

Because if you’re in a corporate role like I am, you can’t lead an organization through a transformation. Business leaders in that organization have to do that. So, these change network leaders are sometimes the leaders of the people that are going to be the user, sometimes they’re their peers, and we elevate one of them to be the subject matter expert or change network leader, but they’re going to make the transformation consumable by their organization.

So, that’s both on making sure their requirements are well understood so we bake those in. They are involved in the testing so that we ensure that we’re meeting those requirements. But then the other part of that is the other side of that coin again, is now it’s you’re accountable to drive this in your business. You need to make sure your business leadership is engaged. You need to make sure your users are engaged, you selected the right projects to get started on. That approach has worked for me in fast-moving consumer goods B2B and it’s worked in software industrial B2B. If you do that right, you can really accelerate your transformation.

Show Notes

Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn here


Learn the keys to effective “digital transformation” by accessing a complimentary guidebook at corasystems.com/transformationguide.

Join Jeff Hopkins at Project Controls Expo’s case studies zone in London, UK, 16th November. Learn more about the event at projectcontrolexpo.com/uk

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