What does a successful business transformation look like? How can businesses replicate it in their own digital strategy? For starters, organisations worldwide are transforming their businesses to keep up with the digital demands. So there are plenty of examples to follow. But bear in mind, business transformation is hard. It’s complex. It’s time-consuming. It’s resource-hungry. 

Below, Kartik Ranganath, Global Head of Delivery, Salesforce Centre of Excellence at Shell, shares his top strategies for a successful business transformation and seamless technology adoption.


1. Put the business at the heart of your business transformation

Any transformation needs to begin with the business at its heart. “Having the business right in the middle of change and adoption is really important,” confirms Ranganath. 

We’ve quickly learnt that if we don't have the business right at the heart of our transformations, they will not succeed.”

Kartik Ranganath

To ensure the right people are included in its Salesforce projects, Shell created a Centre of Excellence (COE). The COE ensures:

  • Business teams are involved during stage one to agree on a vision

  • Simplified collaboration

  • Activities are prioritised appropriately across the team

  • A shared definition of best practices

All of these aspects are beneficial to Shell’s business transformation.


2. Ensure your business transformation is customer-centric

To deliver the best possible experience, new processes must be customer-centric. “We don’t build applications for the sake of IT. We do it to meet a business outcome, centred around the customer,” says Ranganath. “For example, as we are moving more towards B2B and B2C business, we’ve recognised that sometimes customers exist in both areas, and therefore it's important that we have the customer data right in the middle.”

This approach has enabled Shell to connect all its customer interactions and opportunities across multiple lines of business. This ensures a more joined-up and consistent experience for its customers. 

It's really key that we aim for integrated rather than disparate systems, as then we can think about the bigger picture.”

Kartik Ranganath

3. Build in increments and use a prototype

With the higher risk levels associated with ‘big bang’ transformations, these days organisations tend to take a more incremental approach to change. This includes anything from a CRM deployment or any other type of project.

“We’ve discovered it’s much more valuable to build in increments and use the power of prototyping,” says Ranganath. “So, we come up with a prototype to show the business, and then build and refine the solution along with them so we can ensure it ticks the right boxes as we go.”


4. Be clear on which technology supports which processes

In large and well-established organisations such as Shell, there are always multiple systems across different lines of business. So it’s important to have absolute clarity on which solutions should be used to support different activities and communicate this effectively.

You need to have very clear principles on where to use each technology stack.”

Kartik Ranganath

“We have decided that for anything that is in the space of customer engagement and employee service, we have to use Salesforce,” says Ranganath.


5. Build a culture of learning and sharing to support business transformation

Finally, developing a business culture that values learning and knowledge sharing can really help organisations leverage the benefits of new technologies faster and support the business transformation. 

“Technology stacks are evolving at a very fast rate, so we’ve invested significantly in building our ‘business value network’,” shares Ranganath. “Via the network, we bring the business and IT together as a community – it’s a sharing of knowledge across multiple lines of business.”

With the right foundations in place, an incremental and customer-centric approach, and a culture of learning and knowledge sharing, organisations will find it easier to deliver successful business transformations. They’ll be able to boost agility, maximise adoption, and achieve a higher return on investment.

Want to know more about Shell and how it powered a giant leap in customer satisfaction with the help of Salesforce Customer 360? Read the full customer story.