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Change Management
Private Equity Operations

Target Operating Model – TOM

A well-worn phrase. What does it mean to you?

The implication is that there is a “Future State”, so understanding what that might look like is a given. But let’s not forget “Current State”. Current operations are often not fully understood. Know where you are starting from.

Whatever has triggered the need for change, plan the target operating model as a key deliverable in the project or programme from the get-go. Why is this important?

  1. Increased stakeholder engagement
  2. Smoother transition from the project phase to production & continuous improvement
  3. Anticipation of the operating costs of the future state
  4. Reduce time to value of the investment

There will be more than one scenario in getting to a preferred “future state”. The wider considerations of a TOM may well influence your decision.

The pace of change of technology is making it harder for executives to make decisions on investment to support business operations. The “imperative” for change, when it arrives, is often crystallised around a key issue e.g. unsupported software, vendor relations, business change (new line of business), C-level change… The trigger issue draws attention away from the contextual issues contributing to the TOM. Inadequate analysis of Current State risks the following:

  1. Lack of necessary support capabilities, within the organisation and with other parties
  2. Negative cross-functional impact up or downstream of the business function
  3. No governance, leading to poor decision-making towards the TOM

What should be done? Think about the TOM from the outset. It is a critical deliverable and not a “follow-on”. Design-in the capacity for Change Management that will enable the transition and the “after-sales” attention, post-implementation.

Let’s roll back to the issue we parked at the start: Current State. There are rewards in fully understanding, in detail, what is occurring today. In summary; mapping business processes and the stakeholder contributions and responsibilities to those processes. That Current State review will kick-start engagement with all contributors and serve to support communication between producers and consumers in the business function under review.

Call to arms: The Target Operating Model is a crucial part of the early-stage project delivery. Know where you are going, envision that in production, and drive Change Management within that blueprint.