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April 04, 2024

Successful People Understand These Two Things

Innovation Without Disruption: How to Conquer Business Transformation and Get Results Faster

Asli Uysal

Vice President Of Enterprise Transformational Accounts And CX Transformation Partners

You can’t grow or win without digitally innovating, but only 20% of transformation projects deliver on their promised value. McKinsey offers a slightly better (though still not great) outlook at 30%. With digital innovation consuming such a huge part of IT spending and productivity, companies need to carefully strategize to ensure their efforts deliver tangible business performance results fast.

There’s no time to wait, but there’s no time to risk getting stuck in the painful process of a multi-year transformation project when others are moving full speed ahead. This is why I love what I do. As Avaya’s Vice President of Enterprise Transformational Accounts and CX Transformation Partners, it’s my job to ensure our customers conquer innovation and enjoy its coveted payoff.

My passion for this work stems from my personal life experiences. Innovation – making changes in something established by introducing new methods, ideas, and outlooks – is in my blood. I was fortunate to have a wonderful upbringing in Turkey but always felt a calling to come to America. I wanted to have my independence and find my own voice while leveraging what makes me different. My life’s journey has led me to this point and gives me the focus I have in helping Avaya’s customers along their unique transformation journeys.

I’ve learned a lot over the decades growing as a person and evolving my career, and I’ve found a lot of this spills over into the world of enterprise innovation. Here are two lessons that hold a mirror to the experiences of today’s CEOs and CIOs that can help them clear a path to tangible business results faster. 

1. When you start with your core values, things start to click.

Innovation for the sake of innovation won’t get you anywhere faster. In fact, it’ll only slow you down. Innovation needs purpose, and that starts with your core.

What do I mean by this? When I entered the IT field, I felt I had to reinvent myself. I dyed my blonde hair black, swapped flats for heels, and did anything else I could think of to find my space in a male dominated industry. I felt I had to present myself in a certain way to adapt to a certain environment. Was this effective? I’m sure you can guess the answer. I was working in a new field on a completely new continent and felt completely unlike myself. My well-intentioned transformation efforts only set me back.

What did work was going back to my core. As Sheryl Crow sings in her famous song Soak up the Sun, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” It was only until I looked inward and focused on strengthening my existing gifts that I started moving faster in my career and excelling. It took me nearly two decades to learn this lesson, and it also applies at the enterprise level. Digital transformation happens faster and more effectively when you start with your core (not just your core platforms but your core organizational values) and build modernization from there, marrying your current state to your desired future state.  

2. Innovation isn’t a “what.” It’s a “how.”

Innovation is not ideation, it’s action. It’s a process of bringing about new ideas, methods, and solutions that have a significant positive impact and value. Innovation is good, but not every means to innovation is good. This is an important lesson I’ve learned time and again. The success of any given initiative is determined by how you go about it. For businesses, not all paths to better performance are ideal.

When it comes to enterprise innovation, the thinking is that it must be disruptive. If it’s not, are you really innovating? It’s time to shift the narrative here. To make it clear, you can absolutely innovate without completely gutting your organization. This approach is called “innovation without disruption,” and it’s the smartest way to consume new technologies.

You don’t have to rip out what’s working for your business to get to the “cool” stuff. Instead, your existing system (your core) can act as the integrator of new innovation. This is the approach we’re taking at Avaya, and the results speak for themselves: on average, our customers drive innovation – and get to the good stuff – twice as fast as their competitors. Companies leverage our industry-leading ecosystem of tech partners who can deliver integration experiences that allow them to consume new technology in a way that makes sense for their business.

Disruption is necessary for change, but at what cost?

Disruption is defined as “disturbance or problems that interrupt an activity, event, or process.” When it comes to digital innovation, you want to disrupt the norm with better business performance, better customer experience, and better agent experience, but you can’t disrupt your operations.

See how Avaya can help you beat the odds of today’s 20-30% project success rate with our “innovation without disruption” approach.


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