Since our client, a global luxury brand, moved to SAP S/4HANA with Capgemini, we have had a team working together to bring continuous improvement to their SAP estate. Our team of SAP experts and our client team relished the opportunity to accelerate the development of the SAP delivery team further via a dedicated two-day event at Capgemini’s specialist retail Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) in Lille, France. This event took place prior to the COVID-19 crisis reaching Europe.
The AIE event provided an impactful way to discuss the next-generation delivery model and other hot topics such as Agile and BizDevOps ways of working, via case studies of other Capgemini-run Agile or DevOps SAP delivery centers, and targeted workshops to explore how these learnings could be applied to the SAP delivery team. The aim was for attendees to leave with some clear actions about how to we will jointly create the next-generation delivery model and how we will engage more closely with the business to deliver an even better service.
Visiting one of the Agile teams operating out of the Lille office – this team specializing in Lean Agile processes and is the hub for more than 40 client-facing agile projects with clients across a variety of sectors.
Lille is the home of Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange with a focus on retail. There are sixteen AIE centers globally all with different industry specializations, ranging from retail to utilities or manufacturing. The AIE supports clients from the problem statement to business outcomes and any of the steps in between, including, as in this case, full-day sessions to problem solve and discuss case studies.
The AIE in Lille has also worked with multiple luxury fashion brands making their expertise and experience in this space especially interesting to our client. There was also a historical connection to retail – Capgemini’s office in Lille is right next to an old textiles factory which now houses around 400 startups!
The Capgemini office in Lille.
What did we do in the two days?
We wanted the event to be collaborative and interactive but also provide thought-provoking ideas and lessons learnt from other delivery centers. A major topic for this event was how to prepare our client for the move to Agile and BizDevOps and whether this would be possible in a SAP-heavy environment. Our case study presentations showed the art of the possible with SAP delivery, representing a wide range of our European clients (Maxeda, and Volvo Cars are a few we can name). We even got to visit two different Agile teams working out of the Lille office, one of which delivers continuous improvements using COBOL!
The presenters provided a balanced view of the benefits of using Agile to deliver continuous improvements in SAP, pointing out that transforming to an Agile mindset was often the biggest challenge both for the Capgemini and client teams. Nevertheless, the case studies showed that the move to Agile fostered a closer, collaborative relationship with the business who better understood SAP and were more satisfied with the solutions.
A highlight of the two days was hearing about the latest trends in retail from Baptiste Vuarin, the AIE Lab leader, who just a few weeks before had attended the NRF 2020 conference in New York, one of the largest retail events globally. According to Baptiste, the main trends in retail this year are sustainability, reaching even further heights of customer experience, the employee experience, and bringing automation to stores.
Baptiste giving us a tour of the AIE showroom in the Lille office, with interesting demos including examples AR/VR to improve the store experience, a sales chatbot giving personalized fashion recommendations, using RFIDs to provide more information about garments and even a robot!
What was the outcome?
In a burst of inspiration, on the first afternoon, the whole group ended up in front of the whiteboard at one end of the room brainstorming how the SDC and internal IT team more generally can work more closely with the business. This identified the need for a new engagement model with the business and incorporates the idea of product owners and cross-functional, Agile delivery teams.
Unfortunately, the exciting next steps to put into place some of the great decisions and agreements from this event have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, we aim to revisit the actions and next steps identified from this event in the near future.
Watch this space!
The brainstorming session where the team drew out ideas for the new IT engagement model – how the SDC will collaborate with the business to generate demand for the SDC. One of the key outputs from the two days was recognizing the need to have a targeted project to create this new IT engagement model.