This week marks one year that I have been with Capgemini and I am happy to say this is by far the most engaged I have been in innovating product companies in a long time. For years, I was doing more maintenance support for product companies. Sure, we would have the occasional breakthrough, but it wasn’t as though I was really pushing the technological envelope or being vigilant in presenting disruptive technologies. Mostly, I was just keeping the lights on through upgrades, business roadmaps, and enterprise integration. Capgemini has put me right in the front line of emerging technologies and it is awesome.
One of my responsibilities is reaching out to our customers to introduce a digital transformation strategy. It is no surprise that many Capgemini customers know how critical it is to have a digital transformation strategy but often struggle with the why, what, and how to do it. That’s where I come in and I love it! Not only do I get to meet our customers and learn about their products and how they are designed, manufactured, and distributed. I also get to work with both sides to introduce and deliver these innovative strategies – not just to the end customer but to an entire industry through webinars, speaking engagements, roundtables, and obviously, blogs.
Case in point: I’ve recently been speaking with one of our global product customers whose product portfolio ranges from aerospace to electrical equipment to many other industry-specific products. Based on initial calls with technology, innovation, and manufacturing executives from several divisions, we knew that putting together a digital roadmap and blueprint was an important priority. Without a strategy, we would potentially jeopardize product integrity and sustainability, thereby compromising market placement and competitiveness. We knew that we had to act and we did.
In the following weeks, I began to share with the team use cases of what Capgemini had done for other customers and cited some of the gains and returns. I also shared examples of how we got them there – which is extremely important. I find that, in forums or conferences, people often share the results of past projects but rarely share how they got there. That’s why I like to present the process framework and overview of the approach in conjunction with the use cases. This makes it easier to see the big picture. Showing all the elements of a project is critical since the maturity of a customer’s landscape, size, and position play a significant role in determining which strategy to use.
Within short time, we had discovered two starting points to introduce change. I will share them with you here.
Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE)
Three of the client’s divisions (Aerospace, Hydraulics, and Vehicles) decided to use Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) as a catalyst for change. AIE not only accelerates the innovation process, it also allows the customer to benefit from the wealth of industry information, creative environment, and strategy that have been accumulated during more than 50 years of Capgemini Consulting. To kick things off, we are going to bring the client to one of our 11 AIE stores located throughout the globe to show them firsthand what can be achieved with a large ecosystem of leading businesses, technology partners, startups, academia, venture capitalists, and much more. We plan to start things off, as we do with so many other clients, with a discovery session. This will give us the time and opportunity to collaborate with partners with partners to determine a challenge or problem statement that we can then innovate. Once we have that, it is off to the AIE Immersion Workshop where all the magic happens. Yay!
Digital Transformation Maturity Assessment
Although benefiting from AIE is one way to begin the innovation process for our customers, it is sometimes just as fitting to look at a customer’s current capability and business maturity to understand where our focus should be. That’s why some of the other executives responsible for manufacturing and supply chain went with the Capgemini Digital Transformation Maturity Assessment. The assessment is a collection of templates that allows us to discover where a company in lagging or excelling in their organization or people, processes, technology, and data. Each template is tailored to industry, company size, and offering. Through a series of workshops, we can understand where the customer’s baseline is for each of the four pillars (organization, process, technology, and data). We then position a best-in-class overlay to the rating, obtaining the maturity delta as well as a priority of business cases. This determines a focus area based on geography, product, or program. With that, we can create a requirement matrix and, based on priority, a roadmap and blueprint. This is fairly simple to do, and it eliminates a lot of the guess work.
Such initiatives are always exciting because I know we are about to do something that will change the way the customer makes their products and does business – you can’t ask for more. When I was a kid, I wanted to build things. After many failed Lego projects, I began to realize that new product introduction was not going to be the way I made a difference in the world. I did, however, have a knack for providing good insight when taking inventory of other peoples’ work and projects. In the army, I was known for presenting change orders to tactical assignments. This served me well and ultimately made me want to pursue a career as a consultant in the civil sector.
Talking about innovation is good and can make us aware of what is out there – even if we think we know it all (I’m guilty) 😊. It is good practice to create as many opportunities as we can to talk about change and be in the forefront of innovation. It is important to network and be open to these discussions, especially when they lead us to an actionable way to introduce, adopt, and sustain a transformation. Sometimes we assume that if someone approaches us to talk about a certain topic or consideration, it’s because we don’t know how to implement it or are incapable. Usually I find that not to be the case. Making a change can be difficult and it comes down to time and support . Do we have enough time and resources to give this change the consideration it needs? Most of us will need help at some point in our lives, whether it be in business or in our personal lives. That’s why we should always try to remain humble to those who offer it, open to their suggestions, and willing to act on their advice. This is HOW change happens.
Until the next customer story unfolds, I wish you all the best on your digital journey.