3 steps for IT leaders at the helm of no-longer-optional transformation

Phil Oster is the Vice President of Technology at John Paul Mitchell Systems

Phil Oster, VP of Technology at John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS), recently joined me for an interesting discussion on what JPMS—a manufacturer of professional hair care products and styling tools—is doing to drive transformation during these difficult times as part of a webinar: “How IT Leaders Can Drive Transformation in 3 Simple Steps.” We talked about three specific ways IT leaders can take charge of transformation, impact the way work gets done, and accelerate business outcomes—even if never normal is the new normal.

As an IT leader, Oster has had to keep up with day-to-day operations while pivoting essential programs in the middle of a pandemic. Oster and his team had to think fast when the overnight shift to remote work happened. Fortunately for JPMS, all of its digital assets were centralized in its work management platform and could be accessed easily. Its integrated tech stack ensured continued productivity—on the most important work.

And what JPMS did next was truly remarkable. When the shortage of hand sanitizer products was felt across the nation, JPMS mobilized its manufacturing facility to produce 40,000 units of 80% alcohol formula hand sanitizer and donated the product to high-need groups.

Anticipate change—and pivot quickly in response—with work management technology.

Oster says JPMS’ fast pivot wouldn’t have been possible without a work management platform integrating its tech stack. It provided a foundation for responding to change. Phil said:

“Because of Workfront, we were able to pivot all our campaigns to support our salon community when they needed us most. Not only were we able to achieve this 'turn on a dime' goal, but were able to make a difference from our respective homes. That visibility reduced our anxiety levels while keeping us productive.”

Integrating your tech stack is worth the investment.

The ROI of bringing such agility into your organization is proven. Respected industry analyst Forrester Research concluded that Workfront can provide companies with a 285% return on investment (ROI) over three years, with a payback period of less than three months. By focusing teams on the right work, centralizing visibility with a single data source, and increasing agility by adapting the right priorities, companies can see a $13.8 million productivity gain over three years.

IT leaders poised to illuminate business opportunities and steer transformation.

As highlighted in Gartner’s recent Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, the need to improve digital resilience and prioritize work transformation is clear. This is not the time for IT leaders to drag their heels. They need to be technology pied pipers for their businesses, bringing to light opportunities. Phil’s message to IT leaders is the same:

“You are a guardian, a soothsayer, and a psychiatrist that needs to listen to the woes of people both inside and outside of your organization. It is important not to curb enthusiasm, but nurture it.”

Oster knows the importance of being a valued member at the executive table. He says that “the big shift in accelerating digital transformation was moving our department under the COO so that we had a seat at the Group One table. This changed the nature of our conversation as we could offer up technology guidance and potential solutions from the formation of an idea.”

The importance of centralizing work and integrating tech stacks into one platform has really come to the forefront this year. Connecting disparate systems eliminates operational waste and drives efficiency. The digital workplace is no longer a “nice to have,” it is critical to businesses wanting to establish digital resilience. Through the unprecedented market change we have seen in 2020,  IT leaders that have pivoted quickly while keeping teams productive aren’t just surviving our new normal, they’re thriving in it.

To listen to my conversation with Phil in its entirety and learn more about the three simple steps he and his team took to drive transformational change amid uncertainty, please watch the webinar.