In this series of blogs (https://www.capgemini.com/blog/capping-it-off/2016/04/impact-of-digital-…), the notion and need for business competitiveness has been introduced, and a fair amount of detail has been provided on adoption of Agile and DevOps best practices across Digital projects. In this part of the blog, I will cite examples to outline methods to realize business competitiveness based on well-considered leverage of Digital, Agile and DevOps.
Digital pervades much of IT today. I have distilled 4 principles that are integral to the success of Digital projects:
Start with a DEEP customer / business insight – often Digital projects miss the mark here (e.g.: gap between the # of Social Media projects Vs. % of those projects that deliver a Social Commerce impact)
Answer users’ question: “What is the $ in it for me? (ideally aligned to fulfillment of user goals and objectives)” – again often digital projects miss the mark here
Release compelling Business-Technology capabilities rapidly using Agile + DevOps associated with effective data integration
Develop an effective Target Operating Model for enterprise-wide or line of business-wide Digital efforts
Solutions that embed such compelling insights do not show-up often. A proactive vendor can undertake secondary research of such implementations to aid bringing forward the wisdom of the world to their clients (in the above example it can take form of great ideas implemented by peer banks and FinTech organizations across the world); this is how the non-empaneled tier 2 vendor bagged the Automaker’s project profiled in Blog 2.
I will use four client examples to outline the secret sauce for realizing business competitiveness by implementing Digital, Agile + DevOps effectively on both front-office and back-office systems. The examples range from simple to sophisticated; the first two examples spotlight Capgemini’s next generation Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) platform’s focus on business outcomes in the course of day-to-day ADM work besides the use of Agile, DevOps and Automation. The third and fourth examples are aligned to “the biggest opportunity in Digital” per a leading Analyst Firm – Capgemini’s next generation ADM platform supports clients who choose to exploit this opportunity with a proposition centered on “Digital Readiness Assessment and improvements for effective digital performance of the client’s application landscape”. The third example also shows why a smart business oriented Agile Development factory is superior to a technology oriented Agile Development factory themed on resources with same skills.
Example 1: Business Process roadblocks to the Store expansion plans of a Retailer
- For the Retailer, the Stock update process has to complete in timely manner to ensure that the Forecast generation uses this input and generates Order proposals on time. Analysis of job completion history data Vs # of Stores covered by the ADM team, revealed that as the # of Stores increased the Stock Update process took longer time to complete
- The standard ERP program for Stock Update was analyzed and the steps taking more time were identified. One of them was the program that was updating primary Unit of Measure (UOM) for all articles for each Site everyday irrespective of UOM changes or otherwise. Typically the instances of UOM changing for existing articles tend to be low. This was pointed out to ERP vendor with a request to either take the UOM update out of this process or go for updates only if UOM changed – the ERP vendor declined
- Approval of client was taken and the UOM update process was separated from the Stock Update process. The above release resulted in reducing the time of Stock Update process and enabled IT to support the increase of Stores from 550 to 1,000 Stores by the year end
Example 2: Revenue performance challenges from Digital Commerce Asset for a slow moving Consumer Goods company
- The organization’s Digital Commerce assets had multiple failure points in critical customer journeys leading to significant revenue loss. The Digital Commerce suite of applications ran on 100+ Web, Content and Application servers, and 6 network appliances running complex AIX and LINUX platforms in multiple data centers around the globe. The system was driven by complex systems integration between the firm’s custom-built and 3rd party systems hosted outside of the client landscape. Multiple vendors needed to work together to support systems, applications, access channels, payment gateways, etc. to provide a seamless user experience.
The ADM team deployed Business Transaction Monitoring tools in conjunction with deep understanding of the business-technology architecture to gain run-time insights into failing elements such as faulty portions of code, database queries, business services, etc. These insights lead to improvement actions across:
- Improved business performance in critical customer journeys and reduction of issues in release of new functionality, leading to revenue upsides and improved end-customer satisfaction
- Effective coordination between Apps and Infra teams, who are now well informed by alerts that are better mapped to underlying health issues of related IT elements
- Use of run-time operational insights to channelize pointed engineering and design improvement inputs for remediation in subsequent Releases (another nuance of DevOps)
Example 3: Creation of a powerful International Wealth Management business
- The Financial Services organization’s operations were centered in its home European country. Their 4,000+ applications were based on Mainframes, C, Java, etc., and embedded very complex logic. Business expansion meant that it needed to develop new products, adapt to the diverse tax and regulatory regimes, and needed to expose the business logic and make it work with the diverse front-end systems in different countries across channels, etc.
- It adopted SOA architecture long back (and suffered many first mover disadvantages due to lack of technology maturity), since quite a lot of business logic was embedded in the legacy systems, radical transformation was considered to be very risky
- Key business value chains were identified and relevant business-IT components were progressively extracted from the legacy systems to create new products and services based on business-IT modular components that would enable plug-and-plug; the enterprise data model was made robust to support integration, Reference architectures combining Apps and Infra elements were used (aligned to key technologies; and key business functionality oriented platforms) to rapidly develop and deploy components which adhered to strong design standards to enable better straight through processing, etc.
- Development, Testing, Release and Operations work was done by integrated teams
- The results were: supported the business expansion needs and delivered IT effectiveness impact in terms of realization of an IT re-use factor of ~4, ~60% lift in agility (measured in terms of time-to-market and cost associated with releasing a defined size of code), ~2,000+ releases to production every week, and reduction in the cost per business transaction ranging from 30% – 67%
Example 4: Market share growth in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world for a Consumer Goods company
Business and IT realized that executive decisions based on real-time insights were critical to survive and grow market share in a VUCA world. To this end, from amongst its thousands of business processes it prioritized 80+ key business processes for deployment of a state-of-art business insights solution. The priority business processes were identified from top-down analysis (vision, strategies) and bottom-up analysis of critical business capabilities (across customer insights, produce, manufacture, distribute, merchant, commercialize; aided by grass roots business insights from the day-to-day operations team aligned to each functional area). The solution incorporated large interactive Digital displays that depicted business performance with trends and alerts, capabilities for on-the-fly analyses to follow-up questions with models on:
- What is happening? KPIs on product shipments, sales, market share (inclusive of 6 to 12 month predictions), etc.
- Why is it happening? Drill down by country, territory, product line, store, etc. Attribution to drivers such as, consumer consumption, region specific economic data, stock levels, advertising, actions by competitors, etc.
- Potential impact of management actions such as, pricing, advertising, product mix, etc. on KPIs
Bringing it all together:
These examples show the power of insights gained from day to day ADM work in a Global Delivery Model (in conjunction with well-considered leverage of Digital, Agile, DevOps) being effectively used to deliver business competitiveness for client organizations to ensure that they win in the marketplace.