Smart Stages of Business Excellence in Digital Era The senior leadership of companies should constantly keep a watch on the developments in business and assess as to how that would impact their business in the short and medium term

By Moiz Vaswadawala

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Business excellence in the digital era is about adopting a holistic approach to strengthening the management systems and processes by leveraging the technological advancements for organisational growth and productivity improvements. However, streamlining the digital backbone including business processes, technology applications and infrastructure can sometimes be the most challenging part of digital transformation.

Where does One Begin?

This note provides some smart steps to help your organization to quickly improve its business capability and performance in the journey of business excellence.

This journey comprises of five smart phases that organisations would need to approach:

Business Excellence journey starts with the Aim stage, wherein the CEO or the key management is required to define the purpose of the organisation i.e. the business and the Business and Social goals that they intend to achieve in this process. This aim sets the foundation of this journey by developing a sense of purpose amongst the top management and other executives, and the complete partner eco-system that supports this business.

Once the "Aim" is Defined, what's Next?

The second important stage is the Assess stage. Every organisation needs to know as to where do they stand at a current point in time from the product leadership, competitiveness, talent availability, operations effectiveness, technology adoption, cultural and workplace practices, and many more.

It is only that once you know, where you are and also you establish where you need to reach – This is the time, wherein the journey becomes directional and relevant.


Now, this is to be followed by the Architecting of the business structure, processes and talent. It is at this stage that you develop a balanced set of improvement initiatives and organisation's performance goals. Organisations can adopt one of the established and proven business excellence models viz Malcolm Balridge Business Excellence, the EFQM excellence model (promoted by European Foundation for Quality Management), or any simplified customised model that could be based on one of these best practices – designed for helping organizations to become more competitive. These models give a structure in identifying, prioritising and outcome-centric initiatives, which helps journey become more practical in delivering results to the business.


Next comes, the time where Action needs to be taken to enable the identified improvement initiatives. This requires establishing an organisation's strategic plan for three years, associating these plans with a set of projects related to process improvement and digital systems capability enhancements. This is the stage to identify the talent gap in the organisation that needs to be plugged either through developing skill-sets internally or through the external hiring process. Senior leadership is required to dedicate appropriate time in managing and governing various projects at this stage with a clear focus on quality, timeliness and desired outcome of each project.


Given the continuous change in the business environment, the journey will be an on-going one in line with the change in markets, technology and customer expectations. The senior leadership of companies should constantly keep a watch on the developments in business and assess as to how that would impact their business in the short and medium term. Advance stage of the business excellence is a continuous improvement phase, requires regular benchmarking businesses with the global scenario and new competitive threats.

Digital transformation is not a project, it is a journey. Let this start with a check on the current status check is usually a good starting point to determine the direction and milestone of the digital transformation journey.

Moiz Vaswadawala

Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Governance Officer, Netmagic (An NTT Communications Company).

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