Sriram Dharmarajan
August 25, 2019

The need for operational excellence in the VUCA world

Sriram Dharmarajan has written an article on his interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.  

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

  • What have been the greatest developments?

  • What are the key drivers pushing change in Operational Excellence?

  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


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The need for operational excellence in the VUCA world 

“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”

— J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the RIngs - Fellowship of the RIngs


We currently live in a VUCA world and only the fittest survive. To survive, businesses today need to be scalable, nimble & sustainable and transform themselves repeatedly to be able to sustain the effects of the external and internal environment. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.

Take for example, companies(and of course the individuals who head them) that we all look up to - Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tesla. These businesses have constantly innovated and transformed themselves and set standards in operations by excelling in Customer Experience and Delight. They have done so by constantly evolving, being open culturally and keeping up with newer technologies.




“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the RIngs.


Over the course of my career i have been part of many consulting assignments that have necessitated organizations to take a multifaceted approach towards business transformation and operational excellence. Such activities, especially in traditional businesses, lack leadership buy-in and generally boils down to ignorance in-terms of industry best practices and technology know-how. For example, a leading Telecoms company was facing issues in terms of subscriber retention. Over the past 20 months, subscriber loss had increased from 2.5% per month to 5% per month. The VP-Marketing wanted to reverse the trend back to 2.5% per month within the next 18 months but did not have the CMO buy-in.


My firm was hired to do a diagnostic review of the business and to provide possible solutions to the problem. The review came out with startling differences in their operations as compared to their peers in the market and we presented them with the following suggestions for operational improvement:


pillar%20page%20line%2011. Implement a Data Analytics solution:  predictive analytics will help to quickly take the right action to mitigate a possible risk or convert the opportunity and help the organization:

    • Be aware of generic, local, and customer-specific data points, such as festivals, sporting events and birthdays while making predictions

    • Process complex rules to identify the next best action

    • Provide flexibility to change threshold parameters to run campaigns based on feedback from the market



2. Invest in subscriber management and billing/charging tool: the major reasons for customer dissatisfaction and hence churn were lack of network availability, slow or no response to complaints and disputes. Investment in a complete CRM and billing tool will help in managing and reducing customer complaints and help in retaining them.




3. Customer communication/marketing tool: constant communication is necessary to ensure that the customer is informed about all marketing offers and about the new services that are being launched by the company. this will also make the customer belong and make him more satisfied. with the marketing tool various segmentation and reward offers can also be run, which will ensure that the customers are retained and with their experience bring more new customers.

The need for operational excellence in the VUCA world




Since i have already established the fact that I’m a J.R.R Tolkien fan, let me end my article on a positive note:


“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the RIngs.


One of the transformation projects that i worked on was for a company which was operating in the education sector for around 8 years. The CEO of the company realized a change was necessary and that it needed to be more nimble with the business reaching targets faster and investments where needed in technology and processes. A major transformation exercise was undertaken to implement best in class processes and to also digitize the business to a large extent. This helped them in standardizing operations and serving customers in a better way.


Many leaders struggle to realize the advantages of a good operational excellence plan. The combination of talented people, watertight processes and new technologies that can implement them offer more opportunities for businesses to improve customer delight and hence increase their bottom line. To implement such a plan, leaders need to understand that it requires a change in mindset and hence the culture that they set for the rest of the organization.


Finally, in the current world all operational excellence exercises should be undertaken keeping in mind the needs of the end customer and how well this would help in delighting them. With access to newer technologies implementing ideal processes can take lesser time than before and ensure benefit are reaped sooner.

 Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
The need for operational excellence in the VUCA world


About the Author 

Sriram Dharmarajan:P The need for operational excellence in the VUCA worldSriram Dharmarajan

Freelance Business Consultant

Sriram is an independent consultant who works across industries in business consulting and process improvement, new process implementation, risk analysis and automation. He has spent over 16yrs as a consultant across telecoms, analytics, manufacturing, education and infrastructure sectors. Check out his LinkedIn page.



The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


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There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

  • All-day Refreshment & Themed Breaks

  • 1¼ Hour Hot Breakfast Networking Sessions

  • 1½ Hour Hot Plated Networking Lunches with Topic & Industry Sector focussed tables

  • 1½ Hour Roundtable Sessions by Topic & Industry Sector.

  • Keynote & Themes Panel Sessions

  • Hosted Welcome Receptions from 5.30pm

  • Expanded more lavish Awards Program

  • Newly launched Night Summit for attendees to meet after dinner

For more information or to discuss the summit in more detail please schedule a call below,

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