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Executive sponsorship: the cornerstone of transformation

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Most business leaders understand that executive sponsorship is a key success factor for any technology-based change initiative. In practice, however, they often fail to establish the type of …

Most business leaders understand that executive sponsorship is a key success factor for any technology-based change initiative. In practice, however, they often fail to establish the type of sponsorship required to guide large-scale programs to a successful conclusion.

When sponsors believe that their job is simply to set overall direction, obtain funding, and launch the program team, the risk of failure rises dramatically...

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  • 1. Global Services Insight Executive sponsorship: the cornerstone of transformation By Kurt Kuelz Most business leaders understand that execu- tive sponsorship is a key success factor for any technology-based change initiative. In practice, however, they often fail to establish the type of sponsorship required to guide large-scale programs to a successful conclusion.Page 1 of 3 | Executive sponsorship: the cornerstone of transformation PTC.com
  • 2. Global Services InsightWhen sponsors believe that their job is simply to set overalldirection, obtain funding, and launch the program team, the risk About PTC Global Servicesof failure rises dramatically. The 1,400 professionals at PTC Global Services help the world’s leadingFor example, a large PTC customer was seeking to harmonize manufacturing companies gain productproduct design and manufacturing processes across multiple and service advantage through solutionbusiness units. The company exhausted a full year with little strategy and design, process transformation,progress due to the lack of effective executive sponsorship. The technology configuration, and organizationalprogram goal was clear: Implement a new PLM solution to support training and adoption. Our in-house expertsprocess improvement and standardization across the company. and premium services partners workBut the program lacked an engaged executive sponsor to drive overtime to ensure the best possible resultssuccessful program execution. and maximum return on investment. Learn more at PTC.com/consultingAs often happens with such initiatives, there was substantial resis-tance to change within the business units and the IT organization. For more Insights from the Global ServicesInternal tensions were growing and people were losing confidence team, please visit:that the program could actually deliver on the expected value. PTC.com/consulting/insights Or scan this code with your mobile device:Finally, a year after program launch, a senior executive whounderstood both the potential value of the program and therequirements of effective sponsorship stepped in to put theinitiative back on track.His first challenge was to re-inspire confidence among theprogram’s executive leadership. Many on the program team feltthey lacked the expertise and support to drive a harmonizationprogram across the business units, regardless of the potential “benefits. The first year’s lack of results validated their concerns.The new sponsor reviewed program budgeting, staffing, andgovernance, and decided to bring in PTC Global Services as ajoint stakeholder and value contributor. The sponsor repeatedlybriefed the program team on expected business outcomes andput in place strong accountability for those outcomes. As avocal champion of the program, he persistently drove home hismessage with his executive peer group as well as all stakeholdersand affected employees. The reality is thatWith strong sponsorship in place, the program team was inspired programs sufferto change the program trajectory and accelerate progress. Ayear later, the program had showed dramatic results. Once near greatly when sponsorship cancellation, the PLM program has now become a gold standardon how all transformation initiatives at the company should bemanaged. The key was the strong, continuous leadership of theexecutive sponsor. falls short.” It simply cannot be overstated: True enterprise transformation Kurt Kuelzprograms cannot succeed without effective executive sponsorship. Divisional Vice President, PTC Global ServicesPage 2 of 3 | Executive sponsorship: the cornerstone of transformation PTC.com
  • 3. Global Services InsightIn PTC’s experience with large manufacturers, there are fouressential elements to consider.First, the sponsor needs to be actively engaged in the program fromstart to finish. He or she must constantly explain and champion theinitiative up, down, and across the organization to ensure that allstakeholders understand and commit to the vision for change. Youcan’t just get the program going and then outsource leadership tothe program team. Teams inevitably drift off course during complexprograms, and small diversions are easily missed when sponsorsfail to play close attention. When sponsors are not actively engaged,program drift can take too long to correct and initiatives can end up About the Authorfalling far short of their goals. Kurt Kuelz, Divisional Vice President of PTC Global Services, is responsible for theSecond, the sponsor needs to lead the decision process through strategy, portfolio, practices, and resourcesthe inevitable conflicts that arise when preferences within business for PTC’s worldwide consulting business.units and IT conflict with each other and with what is best for the An expert in process transformation, Kurtcorporation as a whole. Program team members often have little has helped lead product developmentexperience taking the strategic perspective and weighing the busi- transformation programs with some ofness pros and cons of different options and tradeoffs. The push and PTC’s largest clients, including Airbus,pull of daily operations often leads team members to stay close to Schneider Electric, Caterpillar, Cummins,their business unit perspective; executive sponsors need to step in SKF, Volkswagon, and Volvo. Kurt is alsowith guidance and hard decisions. the corporate lead for PTC’s Value-Centric Engagement model which helps PTCThird, effective sponsors take full advantage of outside experience customers ensure success through strongand points of view. Ego often gets in the way of people listening governance, multiyear roadmaps, andto outside advice but good sponsors view this as a strength not flawless program execution.a weakness. The chances of success rise dramatically wheninternal and external experts work together considering differentapproaches before arriving at a decision. © 2012, PTC. All rights reserved. Information concerning theFinally, effective sponsors understand that courage is required for benefits and results obtained by customers using PTC solutionsprogram leaders to drive real change. Without strong leadership, is based upon the particular user’s experience and testimonial, is furnished for informational use only, and should not be construedprogram teams often avoid bold decisions and gravitate toward as a guarantee or commitment by PTC. Due to the varying degreelower level incremental change. Sponsors need to remind their of complexity of our customers’ products and/or their designteams that they are expected to make the hard decisions necessary processes, typical or generally expected results are not available. PTC, the PTC logo and all PTC product names and logos are trade-to achieve strategic value. Team members, in turn, need to know marks or registered trademarks of PTC and/or its subsidiariesthat the executive sponsor will back them up and support their in the United States and in other countries. All other product or company names are property of their respective owners.decisions at the executive level. J1142–Executive sponsorship–Insights–EN–1112Page 3 of 3 | Executive sponsorship: the cornerstone of transformation PTC.com