Innovation and Transformation Life Cycle
[Position Paper]
Jason Uppal.P.Eng. 
Oct 2019

Background and Context 

“We are a refinery; we have been a refinery for the past 72 years. This project is not transforming anything, all we are going is do HR and Finance little more effectively and efficiently, I hope.”


This outburst by an oil refinery exec was directed at a Big Five Consulting company partner who was trying to sell a multimillion-dollar HR and Finance project by calling it Transformation. 


On one hand, I wholeheartedly agree with the business exec and on another hand, I feel somewhat dejected that multi-million dollar investment and infinite disruption to people’s lives, deliver so little benefit.


How about if we set the bar that every capital dollar invested must deliver transformational change, how will that change the behavior of those who provide services such as – enterprise portfolio and project management, enterprise architecture, organization change management, systems integration, financial oversight and value generation. 


The goal of this paper is to explore how do we build enterprise capability to enable Transformational Change with every dollar invested. To keep this document to a manageable size, this document contains a business scenario, solution approach using traditional enterprise portfolio management, alternative proposal, excepted outcomes. At the time of this document, we do not have answers to all the question, we hope that together we can do better. 


Innovation and Transformation Framework


Business Scenario 

“an Enterprise Call center, a government enabled monopoly,  has 350 seats, 2.5 million calls per year,  plus another 200 remote agents to manage overflow during emergencies. Front end Computer Telephony System is nearly 20 years old and integration with the backend system was satisfactory – held by duct tape and bubble gum. Every day, the call handling agents, front line managers and few members of the technical team enacted heroic activities to get through the day. ”


Approach 1: Enterprise Portfolio Management (EPM) Approach 

Traditional Enterprise Portfolio Management practice will approach this opportunity – as an upgrade of an old Telephony Technology, improve integration with backend systems and where possible improve the integration of enabling business processes. The net result will be:

  • Improved system reliability and supportability  

  • Improved staff (call center) utilization – via streamlined workflows, better scheduling, reporting, and coaching.  

  • Project management will complete implementation on budget and on time

  • Cost of Technology will be higher - due to higher depreciation 

  • Value Generated by Call Center be measured by talk time, first call resolution, customer satisfaction etc.  


Approach # 2: Augment EPM with Innovation & Transformation

If we augment traditional EPM with Innovation and Transformation, the resulting business outcomes may be expressed as :

  • A deeper understanding of Business Value produced by the enterprise, who are the value producers and consumers, and how call center staff fits into this ecosystem. 

  • What value do our customers care about, how to measure it, and how to realign call center staff to produce it

  • Call Center becomes true and only front end service and all enterprise staff are part of service delivery (handle emergency overflows with current enterprise staff)

  • All staff is engaged in a new Value Generation, staff engagement is explicitly measured and coached

  • Transformation: The call center is in the center of Superior Service Delivery. The organization moves from disparate delivery siloes to a single value driver – be the service benchmark story, since neither cost and nor revenue can be altered by the innovation. 


[Side Bar]

Fundamental Building Blocks of Innovation and Transformation Life Cycle

When it comes to Innovation and Transformation life Cycle, we often think in terms of Iterative, Shoe String Budget, Do only Minimum and ensure one or some data points do not start to Over Influence Others. 


  • Opportunity: The ability to analyze current Value, Value Chain, Key Stakeholders, Discontinuities, Enterprise Capabilities, New Value and Value Distribution, New Capabilities.  


  • Technical Uncertainty: For each new capability – what specific unique thing that can help dramatically alter the value proposition and how can it be protected to create monopoly-like powers. 

  • Minimum Viable Product: what specific business hypothesize that must be validated to reduce uncertainty in the new value proposition 


  • Transformation Readiness: How to integrate the new nugget into the current or new value chain to drive the new value.  As well  how to manage the natural internal friction between current and future business plans





Approach #1 will help you migrate current legacy technologies to new stack and the new technologies often  deliver incremental business benefits. If you seek dramatic improvement, approach #1 must be augmented with approach #2 – innovation and Transformation needs substantial political capital, a different mindset.  As the old saying goes – “Let's start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi”



Call to Action 

There is no pressing reason to undertake Innovation & Transformation but if you  chioose to pursue  Digital Transformation  make it a planned  activity and setup your people to succeed. 


Jason Uppal is a practicing engineer and can be reached at

Print Version 

millionINNOVATORS is a Part of Synoverge Technologies Pvt Ltd of India  

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