Aligning Target Operating Models with technology

Posted: 21st May 2024 Carl Arataki, Consultant

The housing sector is currently in an era of unprecedented challenges, with rising operating costs, surging demand and financial constraints. In response, we are seeing providers large and small alike across the UK and Ireland undertaking ambitious change initiatives. The goal? To not only address present challenges but also to fortify themselves for an increasingly uncertain future.

At the forefront of many associations’ agendas are two key objectives; implementing a new Target Operating Model (TOM) and utilising innovative technologies that provide genuine efficiencies and unlock greater potential within their organisations. But the question remains: which of these pieces should take priority and how do you align all these pieces within the puzzle?

In a perfect world, the sequence is straightforward; understand your current position, design a future model, and then implement supportive structures and technologies to empower its delivery. However, the realities of time constraints and resource limitations often necessitate a more pragmatic approach.

Altair’s Transformation and Change practice works with providers across the UK, Ireland and beyond to help unravel that very problem, and deliver genuine, impactful transformation. Drawing from our experience, we have identified some practical insights and tips for approaching TOM and technology programmes:

Consider the ‘why’: Before diving straight into transformation initiatives, invest time in understanding what you are trying to achieve and why. Whether it’s driving efficiency, operational improvements, or increased customer satisfaction, it is vital to set these goals out from the start. Clarity of objectives and establishing measurable outcomes to gauge success from the outset is paramount.

Understand the whole system: Recognise that systems, processes, people and operations do not sit in isolation, they stretch boundaries and interact with each other. Take a holistic view and recognise the full picture. Consider how a change in one area will impact others. This will further enable prioritisation of change programmes and help to understand any dependencies.

Adopt a programmatic approach: Resist the temptation of fragmented or haphazard change. Instead, consider taking a systematic, programmatic approach. Understand the scale and priority of change required and develop coordinated solutions as part of a comprehensive transformation program. This ensures effective, phased and coordinated implementation, without overwhelming the organisation.

Establish a baseline: Before considering major transformation, first answer the question ‘where are we now?’. A clear understanding of existing processes and structures will provide the best possible foundation for building successful change implementation and minimises the risk of implementing a solution that does not resolve the problem.

Let the TOM lead the technology: It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to design future operations around existing or new system capabilities, missing the opportunity for meaningful transformation. Yes, a TOM should be designed with technology capabilities in mind, but this should not hinder the vision. The TOM and its targeted benefits should drive the technology, and not the other way around

It’s not just about process: While process design is a crucial step in any operational transformation, it is important to align this with broader organisational elements such as structures, roles, and culture. An integrated approach fosters sustainable change by addressing not just what needs to change, but also how it will be executed.

Working together, Target Operating Models and technology play a key role in achieving success. By embracing a strategic, holistic approach and leveraging insights from experienced practitioners, organisations can take on challenges with confidence, positioning themselves for a resilient and adaptive future.

To find out more about Altair’s Transformation and Change practice and their Target Operating Model services, contact Matt McCormack Evans.

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