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    May 13, 2024

    Driving Digital Transformation: VSM Strategies from Cox Automotive, London Stock Exchange Group, and Southern Company

    When interviewing transformation leaders about Value Stream Management (VSM), one term emerges frequently: "journey." Employing VSM principles may help you see substantive change, achieve breakthrough results, and more, but you still won’t be done. That’s because you’ll pursue continuous improvement and focus on customers whose needs, objectives, and preferences keep evolving.  

    This theme of journeys was recurring in our fourth annual VSM Summit.  This year’s event featured the insights of a Forrester Analyst and top Broadcom leaders. In addition, the event featured interviews with VSM wavemakers at top enterprises, including Cox Automotive, London Stock Exchange Group, and Southern Company. These executives have been at the forefront of VSM adoption and offered a compelling look at their VSM journeys and some of their most important lessons and effective strategies.

    In the following sections, I’ll highlight some key takeaways from these interviews. I’ll also reveal who won our inaugural Wavemaker Award and provide more info on how to access this online event on demand.

    Cox Automotive

    Today, Cox Automotive reflects the culmination of over 30 acquisitions spanning several years. Within its structure, Value Stream Management (VSM) has played a pivotal role in achieving strategic success. Embracing this customer-centric approach, the company has worked to eliminate redundancies and enhance operational efficiency and brand integrity.

    Taking a lean management approach, Cox Automotive has addressed operational inefficiencies while ensuring consistency in defining customer value across leadership levels. This concerted effort has allowed the company to prioritize initiatives effectively, focusing on solving the most important customer problems.

    Cox Automotive has fostered collaboration and problem-solving by establishing cross-functional teams at different organizational levels. Empowering these teams to define solutions autonomously has nurtured a culture of ownership and innovation, driving engagement and satisfaction.

    For Cox Automotive, this transformation signifies a shift towards product-focused strategies and a heightened emphasis on value creation. Leveraging VSM, the company has streamlined operations, reduced redundancy, and enhanced overall efficiency.

    London Stock Exchange Group

    Rapid pace and high stakes are the norm for this leading financial infrastructure provider. Within the organization, the transformation office is responsible for managing investments and identifying optimization opportunities. In the wake of an acquisition, the organization suddenly supported four times as many products. This fueled complexity and ultimately led to a lengthier time to market.

    For organization leaders, VSM represented an approach and mindset for putting the customer first and then organizing around the delivery of value. By employing VSM, the team gained a better understanding of the organization’s landscape, including its value, risks, and opportunities. This visibility has helped them improve the delivery of news, data, and indices to thousands of global customers.

    On this journey, they’re taking a long-term approach. They’ve focused on piloting new techniques, iterating and refining them, and then helping to expand. They’re sharing the vision of where they’re trying to go, which allows teams to gain greater clarity and fosters more engagement and alignment among team members.

    Southern Company

    Teams within Southern Company had been investing in program management for years but were working with a 15-year-old portfolio management tool. This made it very difficult for teams to get the information they needed. They relied on large data exports and complex spreadsheets for the necessary reporting and analysis.

    They began their VSM journey by building an enterprise-wide product management office (PMO) and employing ValueOps. Through this effort, they were able to embed value realization in the project lifecycle. In the process, the organization saw a dramatic reduction in the time teams spent processing project data.

    Through ValueOps solutions, they were able to provide a central location for all leaders and program managers where they can track the full portfolio planning lifecycle, from ideas to planning and execution. These efforts have allowed them to build on their customer focus and better align around those efforts that yield the greatest customer impact.

    One of the key lessons learned on their journey was that it is critical to get started with a focus on customer needs, take a first step, keep a focus on the customer, and be ready to adapt as customer requirements and strategies evolve.

    Wavemaker Award unveiled

    Our recent VSM Summit also featured our inaugural ValueOps Wavemaker Award, which honors excellence in digital transformation through VSM. This award highlighted the inspiring stories of how VSM enabled organizations to empower people, protect the planet, and advance their corporate purposes.

    Paul Lindo, Executive of Portfolio Planning and Delivery at Memorial Sloan Kettering, was named this year’s winner.

    The story of Memorial Sloan Kettering illustrates the power of VSM, not just to fuel digital transformation but to help people in their time of need. The team had been on a mission to rethink healthcare delivery for cancer patients, and the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the urgency of this mission.

    Embracing VSM, senior leadership, and delivery teams focused on the value being delivered. Through their digital transformation, they could quickly roll out an online support community where caregivers, patients, and families could come together.


    Enabling an enterprise to capitalize on VSM's power is undoubtedly a journey. While every enterprise’s journey will be unique, many common strategies and principles can help teams in any organization be more successful.

    To learn more, view the on-demand recording of our VSM Summit. Find out about the latest innovations and get proven strategies and tactics that help advance your VSM initiatives. Watch the event and learn how to optimize your transformation by harnessing the power of VSM.

    To learn more and register, visit our VSM Summit page.

    And if you know of a wavemaker in the VSM area, please submit their story for next year’s award.

    Marla Schimke

    Marla brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing leadership for both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies including CA Technologies, Microsoft and Ernst & Young. She is a thought leader who combines a unique blend of technology and marketing experience to successfully position cutting-edge solutions to B2B...

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