Welcome Tariq Chaudhry, Director of Business Transformation to Olive
We are thrilled to welcome Tariq Chaudhry as our new Director of Business Transformation
We know that Tariq will be a significant asset to our business and our customers alike as we continue to disrupt the way companies perform technology evaluations and accelerate business transformation. Tariq brings over 15 years of experience and knowledge in the analysis, design, and implementation of business processes and IT solutions.
Tariq comes with the experience we were looking for, and the enthusiasm to boot! He has a proven track record of providing business expertise, advice, and team leadership to introduce innovative opportunities and business/IT improvements. Tariq has an educational background in operations management with experience in IT and business transformation across - retail, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution.
Olive is undergoing a period of tremendous growth. Adding Tariq to our team will be invaluable to our continued development and success. He will play a significant role in helping us to manage, scale, and evolve our business as we continue to help enterprises accelerate digital transformation. We sat down with him (virtually) to chat about why he left his role at A&W Canada to join us.
What was your role before Olive?
A&W Canada - Project Manager - Business Transformation
I have more than 15 years of experience revolving around software selection and implementations in various industries, including IT, Retail, Manufacturing, Government, healthcare, and finance. I started from a business analyst to senior BA, to project lead, PM, and now Director. What I liked about my role was leading the effort of business transformation at A&W and being at the forefront of change. The ability to impact the organization and make changes to solve business problems lights me up.
What were the challenges you faced in your role as it related to business transformation?
Getting the organization to buy into the benefits of business transformation. Building a culture of understanding that change is a positive force towards business transformation.
Developing a process & policy that would guide the work of business transformation
Creating the KPI / Measures of success to ensure the work we were doing led to measurable results and benefits.
When did you come across Olive, and what made you decide to use it?
I came across the product early on, and as one of Olive’s first clients, I had the chance to impact how the tool evolved. Olive was built with lots of input from business transformation leaders such as myself. It was apparent even in this early stage that this tool would empower business transformation leaders to be more agile and efficient, and ultimately, make better decisions.
Why did you decide to join Olive as Director of Business Transformation?
At A&W, I led the efforts to change an organization and how we selected and implemented tools that would drive measurable benefits for the business. I had an impact at an organizational level and could see the impending wave of change.
What attracted me to Olive was the opportunity to impact an entire industry to make better decisions on their enterprise technology, using an agile approach.
Olive is transforming the way companies achieve business transformation. The traditional way that businesses approach deciding what technology to buy is long, convoluted, and rife with bias. Olive simplifies the process and puts the business needs at the center of it. With Olive, CIOs and digital transformation leaders can easily avoid following ‘the shiny new thing” that is being dangled in front of them by fancy demos, paid-for product listings, or slick salespeople. Olive gives the power to the buyer and shows them what solutions best meet their business needs.
What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face now regarding business transformation?
From speaking with clients and peers, we hear a lot about business transformation challenges companies are facing;
1 . The process of technology evaluations
The single biggest challenge is the process of technology evaluations. Often companies don’t know where or how to start. What should be considered, and who should be involved in the decision-making.
2. Not enough resources to run the traditional technology evaluation process
Finding the right solution using traditional methodology takes time. Time away from the everyday work that the resources are doing. This leads to people working extra hours or more likely trying to do business transformation of the side of their desk.
3. Understanding business requirements on a deeper level
Finally, Understanding and documenting the current state, desired outcomes, and the measurable benefits have posed a considerable challenge to businesses undergoing transformation.
Most organizations and teams will state that the XYZ solution will make things better without truly understanding what needs improvement in the current state, how it will be different in the future and how they will measure the improvement. “Better” or “Easy to use” are based on an individual perspective.
Clearly stating that x will deliver Y and we will measure using Z requires thought that most teams will not spend time on due to limited or strained resources.
The single biggest challenge to business transformation, is the process of technology evaluations
How are companies currently tackling these challenges?
Organizations have various ways of dealing with this;
1. A Few will start the project with a strategic goal and objectives in mind- which is the right approach but it is inefficient
- They will prioritize their work based on benefits that will help achieve their objectives.
- They will go through the build understanding, stakeholder engagement, requirements gathering, and vendor selection
- However, they will do this using spreadsheets, emails, and lots and lots of meetings.
- They will waste valuable time trying to manually do what we have automated within Olive.
2. Some organizations will go to their IT department to provide a solution.
- IT in most organizations have their own objectives which introduces bias
- IT’s objective is usually to lower IT maintenance costs and simplify the IT stack. This comes at the cost of user needs being undervalued compared to IT requirements.
- Often, this results in companies buying solutions that don’t entirely meet the user’s needs, they don’t deliver the intended benefits and therefore lead to lower user adoption.
- Over time, the solution becomes an additional item for IT to support but with low usage, the solution is scrapped and a new request is submitted to IT to begin the cycle again.
3. Most will identify a need or a problem they need to solve based on the loudest voice in the room. The squeakiest wheel gets the oil. They will jump directly to finding solutions to what may seem like the problem.
- Without doing due diligence (Understanding the current state, stakeholder engagement, etc.), companies end up solving a problem that wasn’t the real issue in the first place.
- They end up developing workarounds and integrations to make the most out of the investment in the new solution, resulting in more wasted resources over a longer period of time
- Often they will reach a point that they can no longer maintain the status quo and the process of solving the problem without due diligence will start again.
How can companies overcome this challenge?
Simply put, companies should modernize how they run the vendor evaluation process by adopting industry best practices
1. Organizations need to start with their strategic goals and objectives. This sets the stage for the project and keeps all your evaluations and decisions in line with your goals.
2. Get buy-in from relevant stakeholders. Engage your end users to understand the business needs and wants.
3. Document a high-level understanding of the requests, a) Current state b) Desired outcomes c) Intended measurable benefits
4. Use the strategic objectives to prioritize the projects that will deliver the greatest benefits.
5. Engage Stakeholders - Go back to end-users of the prioritized projects to validate the business problem, and intended benefits of the project
6. Gather & Rank requirements - Invite as many stakeholders as possible to capture detailed requirements and rank them based on importance
7. Evaluate vendors based on their ability to meet your objectives and requirements
8. Measure the success post-implementation to ensure intended benefits were achieved - circling back to the business goals.
How do you think Olive can help companies move forward with business transformation?
Olive has looked at the problem from the perspective of many CIOs and business transformation leaders and built a tool to facilitate the best practices of digital transformation.
Companies understand that the traditional waterfall process of buying technology is important to finding the right solutions but they also know that it is long, very manual and labour intensive. Olive is a faster, easier and simpler way to approach business transformation.
Olive follows the best practices outlined above while providing the unique ability to evaluate technology using an agile methodology. Our team is here to provide expert experience to guide you on your business transformation journey and flag potential pitfalls along the way.
True business transformation happens when the technology is accepted en-masse by the organization, solving the intended business problem. Increasing stakeholder engagement leads to high user adoption. Up to now, companies managed that process through meetings, shadowing teams and entering data manually into spreadsheets. The process is nightmarish, long, and can often be rife with bias.
Olive facilitates a more streamlined and agile process, driven by collaboration and data. The platform allows for more user engagement through collaboration leading to higher user engagement and adoption and an overall more efficient business transformation process.
What do you think is in the near future for companies regarding digital transformation?
Digital transformation is inevitable, it is here already, and companies must have strategies in place to manage and embrace digital transformation and avoid extinction.
To do this strategically, transformation leaders need to step back from the project view and focus on a more centralized and cohesive portfolio or organization-level view of all the initiatives. They should have the ability to easily drill down into the granular details to ensure all initiatives are going to help achieve the desired objectives.
How do you think Olive can facilitate this?
Leaders have unmatched visibility through the use of Olive. The platform gives visibility into all projects in a central location based on status (such in progress, planned, completed).
Users can easily see the project overview including goals & objectives, and drill down to a single requirement from an individual stakeholder and their associated ranking.
Olive removes bias from the process by matching solutions to your specific needs. Buyers stay anonymous when evaluating technologies and can easily compare vendor responses and features to their requirements. Before the pandemic, modernizing and automating work with digital technologies wasn’t a huge priority. Now it’s necessary.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the weaknesses of all companies not currently embracing digital technologies for both internal operations as well as external sales, marketing and support efforts."
Companies must embrace and streamline digital transformation to survive in this 'new normal.' Why?
"Because transformation is better than extinction."