collaboration pays off

Cooperation that really works

15 December 2016

software factory
digital transformation

The pressure on CIOs and IT staff is in proportion to the speed at which technology is currently evolving. The disruptive competition of young start-ups is posing a threat to the business, which in turn encourages IT to evolve and take on the role of a business driver.

The digital evolution seems to be most visible from the customer's perspective, but also has a logical impact on your organization's staff. If your customer wants to communicate with you on social media and digital platforms, your helpdesk staff, customer service staff, sales people, purchasers and billing staff also have to master online communication techniques. And it doesn't stop there. A successful digital transformation is about more than setting up digital channels and learning how to use them. It is even more important to think about the services you are offering. Does your service still meet the requirements of your digital customer? Is your website a static front or an interactive platform? How do you know whether it is your product range or the way your products are accessed by digital customers that needs an upgrade? 

More flexibility and digital maturity for your users and IT department are in order. But where do you start?
Of course you can look for staff who specialize in the latest technologies and market mechanisms, but the war for talent rages on and a recruitment process always takes time. Innovation also involves constant change. Nowadays, the most successful companies are agile companies. That also means you need to have the right competencies available to respond to each change in market requirements. This is not an easy task for the average small to medium-sized company. In that context, scalable help from an external expert to examine and develop your digital transformation ideas is an alternative.

Strong together

Using a software factory is a good solution. You join an advanced model of cooperation with an existing platform, professional tools and extensive resources. The great advantage of this model is that as a customer, you are closely involved in the development of your ideas right from the start. You do not just convey your requirements to the project team; you are part of the team and you contribute to the development. As the process continues, you give feedback, you make adjustments and you determine when the software goes into production. You do all this with the support of the right competencies, which are supplied by your own company or by the provider.

The collaboration platform works in an agile way, which means that it delivers in short iterations of three to four weeks – – an ideal way to show fast results to your business colleagues and relieve some of the CIO's pressure. Regular deliveries also require the close involvement of the business in the development process, which will only benefit the end result.
Another bonus is that the provider's developers and experts derive great satisfaction from actually seeing the product they contributed to in operation. The waterfall model does not always give developers the chance to stay actively involved in the rollout and operation of 'their' software after delivery, which is a shame, really. In a software factory, the sense of satisfaction and pride in the work is much higher, which in turn benefits the quality of the work.

Right up Generation Z's alley

A software factory model of cooperation requires good, frequent communication using all possible technological tools. Fortunately, that is rarely a problem for the new generation of staff currently joining your company. Generation Z is made up of smartphone and tablet wizards. They communicate in a lightning fast chat language interspersed with emoticons. Generation Z grew up with selfies and YouTube videos and have a strong focus on the visual. This generation of employees was made for the virtual platforms of a software factory and the way in which project team analysts, developers, business, testers and key users are in constant contact with each other.
They are not just characterized by digital skills; they also prefer to work together in small groups without any strict hierarchy, but with a lot of responsibility. The best possible result is not achieved by an individual employee working for the provider or customer; it is the product of the entire project team. Your new generation of employees will therefore spontaneously create the right environment to make models of cooperation a success.

Better and faster user adoption

Collaboration in a software factory produces another important advantage, which is often overlooked. The close cooperation between business experts and IT experts ensures that your end users – or their representatives, the key users – are involved in new projects from the very beginning. The new tool, procedure or software is therefore tested almost automatically and is no longer a surprise to the end users during the rollout. Consequently, the test and acceptance period will last only a few weeks rather than several months.

The result? Models of cooperation are not just a hype. They are a trend that is expanding further into all kinds of areas in society and they offer the perfect solution for companies looking to go through a digital transformation. They have a major impact on the way we live and work, and on the way companies operate and handle things. This impact will seem drastic at first, but will run its course thanks to the younger generations of employees.

If you want to realize a certain idea, or if you would like more information on the R Project Factory, do not hesitate to contact Project Factory Manager Roel De Cuyper at roel.decuyper@realdolmen.com.

To find out more about R Project Factory, read the blogposts published previously:

Reducing your time-to-market: R Project Factory, your ideas incubator

From C-level digital (il)literacy to digital maturity