SOURCE: PA Consulting Group US

PA Consulting Group US

May 31, 2013 10:21 ET

Almost Half of Businesses Implement Solutions That Fail to Meet the Need, Regardless of Time and Money Spent, Says PA Consulting Group

How to Change in a Confusing World -- PA Consulting Group Surveys 200 Senior Business Executives on Large-Scale Transformation

NEW YORK, NY and LONDON--(Marketwired - May 31, 2013) - To compete and win, organizations must evolve, but according to PA Consulting Group (PA)'s global survey of 200 senior executives, 46% of organizations are disappointed by their attempts to change -- regardless of time and money spent. Given the time and resources invested in change activity, these results are alarming. Change that fails to deliver is not just a matter of wasted investment; it also leaves the organization no closer to addressing the challenges that first triggered the need for a change.

Slow to react, slow to respond

Over half of respondents admitted their organization is slow to recognize the need to change and even once they have recognized the need to change, most are slow to react (57%). One respondent commented: "Poor clarity on what we want -- and group consensus and support for it -- is often the issue."

The importance of getting the design right up-front

Change programs that incorporate a design for the whole business up-front by defining a clear framework for how the business will organize people, process and technology to achieve its objectives, provide better outcomes. The survey confirms the strong link between successful change and clear design; only 22% of executives who admitted to poor upfront design considered the solution they ended up with effective. In contrast, 80% of those who believed their design was well defined from the outset thought their needs were largely met.

The importance of taking a broad view

PA Consulting Group's survey also showed that organizations that take a broad view of design and consider how all components of the organization are interlinked are more successful. Over 80% of organizations that ensured their change plans considered all the elements of the business -- processes, culture, leadership, people, skills, structure, location, technology, governance and customer services -- considered their change programs to be at least somewhat effective.

The language of change

Two-thirds of executives in PA's survey thought there was no common language for business design within organizations. Unclear language is a widespread problem, and almost 65% of survey respondents said that inconsistency and a lack of clarity around terms has an impact on the success of change initiatives.

One organization PA Consulting Group worked for was able to reduce the time it took to develop and deliver new business applications by 20% by creating a new commissioning process. This new process incorporated consistent terms used by all parties involved in the new business applications and meant the client was also able to make changes to the business platform five times faster.

"Developing a clear and integrated design for your business -- and managing the change required to achieve it carefully -- is the best guarantee of successful transformation," commented Conrad Thompson, business design expert at PA Consulting Group. "The lessons from this survey are clear: you need to have a well-defined view of where you want to go before embarking on change, take a broad view of design, and use common and clear language to talk about design throughout." 

About the survey

Toward the end of 2012, PA surveyed nearly 200 C-level and Director-level representatives from a range of medium to large-scale organizations. Respondents to the survey represented a range of sectors and geographies including the US, the UK, Western Europe and Scandinavia. The questions asked respondents to consider their approach and experience when tackling complex, large-scale transformational change and in particular the design, management, implementation and communication of change.

The analysis was produced using the survey data and also by conducting a number of in-depth follow-up interviews with some participants. The results and hypotheses have been validated by PA experts in Business Design, architecture and change management and are supported by case studies from PA's work with clients.

About PA Consulting Group

PA Consulting Group (PA) is an employee-owned firm of over 2,500 people, operating globally from offices across North America, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. PA has experts in energy, financial services, life sciences and healthcare, manufacturing, government and public services, defense and security, telecommunications, transport and logistics. PA's deep industry knowledge, together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation, allows them to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results with lasting impact. For more information about PA Consulting Group, visit

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