Writen by Marcello Perez, UX Designer & Agile Coach, in 07/06/2022
7 minutes of reading
Digital transformation is no longer a differential, but IT is a matter of survival
Adopting agile practices, understanding the pain of your customers and planning a robust architecture to enable the adoption of innovative technologies, is a priority in the current context.
Saying we live in a highly complex world and full of uncertainties would be redundant nowadays, mainly because the covid-19 pandemic showed that any kind of long-term plan is not sustainable. When we focus on the IT market, we can see this impact more deeply on the status quo of how companies have planned and organized, making them adapt to an organizational and cultural context that most of them were not used to. Going deep, we have seen an even more latent scenario. According to a Forbes article, 66% of the IT professionals said that the pandemic has exposed weakness in their digital strategy on companies they have been part of, demanding an urgency on digital initiatives that was originally part of a more long-term program to the digital transformation.
These impacts were felt at all levels of the market, whether in startups or already consolidated companies. According to a study of Appdynamics, the technology priorities has changed in 95% of the companies surveyed, and 88% of the professionals in the area report that digital customer experience is now a priority. This puts huge pressure on technology and product teams. In companies where the client-oriented and DevOps culture is mature, this impact has taken a smaller proportion because there is usually a high level of internal synergy between the teams (Product and technology) making the adaptation to new contexts accelerated.
However, those companies that operate legacy systems and didn’t have a mature culture in these competencies, felt this pressure the most, which could be seen in the internal initiatives for modernization. This is what BusinessWire points out in 2020, 74% of organizations who have started legacy system modernization projects, completely failed on it. There are many reasons to point out the motive for the failure, highlighting among the main ones: 1) projectization culture; 2) outdated system architecture with several technical debts that do not help the product to scale; 3) high dependence on plastered processes; 4) long customer feedback cycles; or even, 5) the fear of jeopardizing the stability of its main applications, is what a Forbes study on the subject said.
One way or another, it’s inevitable that traditional organizations will need to modernize.
– Sharar Fogel, CIO on Rookout
In the actual context, whether to modernize a legacy system or make a digital transformation in the company is no longer an option, but yes it is a matter of survival in a digitalized e competitive market. The adoption of agile practices, understanding the pains of the customer and making a stronger architecture to make new innovative technologies available is a priority now. BusinessWire said, in some cases, companies that can modernize the most urgent aspects of their legacy systems could save around $31 million in IT infrastructure. However, it may seem complex and challenging to do this, especially if we compare it to the main market references such as Netflix, Google, Amazon, etc.
To facilitate the bridge between the practices and methods of these vanguard companies, there are several well-known market methodologies such as Kanban, Scrum, XP, Dual track Agile, and so on. However, regardless of the methodology to be used, a clear direction of these initiatives is necessary, management thinking focused on the tactical application of the company’s strategic objectives. It is this strategy, with the involvement of the entire management chain, that will drive digital initiatives. To build this clearer vision of the objectives, it is necessary to look at these initiatives from 3 fundamental perspectives: technology foundation, product discovery and delivery efficiency.
To look at the technology foundation, we have to talk about the DevOps culture. In companies with a high level of DevOps culture, we see a trend in which teams work internally to offer a set of technological and infrastructure improvements to make the software development process efficient, safe and with high-quality standards. This is what the Puppet study on DevOps in 2021 points out, where the platform can train developers in authentication access, container orchestration, service-to-service authentication, observability and tracing. In addition, these internal teams, known as platform teams, are able to be deeper in understanding non-functional requirements, and in this way, they are able to enable new technologies that can make the product more competitive and innovative in front of the market and its users.
When we look at the consumer experience, we must know what their goals and pains are on a daily basis, and what they aim to achieve using the product. In order for this to generate expected results, having this clear within the teams is the key to delivering solutions that will actually generate impact and deliver value. Therefore, working with product teams that invest their time and skills to delve deeper into the users’ problem is vital, as it helps to reduce the main product risks such as technical feasibility, value delivery, usability and connection with the business. In the end, knowing what is being built is in fact something that will solve the pain of the target user. The result of a good investment in the user experience can bring impacts in several spheres of the business according to Forrest’s research, such as reducing acquisition costs, support, increasing retention and marketing share.
Good product teams know we can always create more value for our customers and in turn create more value for our business. – Teresa Torres.
Finally, if we add the technology efforts through a robust platform, with DevOps supporting and providing solutions using the self-service model, combined with a Discovery focused on understanding users’ pain and validating the best alternatives that bring impact, we can direct development efforts to achieve a continuous software delivery pipeline. If we look at it, the objective of achieving high delivery efficiency is to be able to provide a short cycle of value delivery, where the product can adapt to the user or market needs quickly, being guided by data and user feedback.
Achieving CD requires engineering discipline and collaboration to facilitate the complete automation of the delivery pipeline from code commit to production – Bill Holz, VP Analyst, Gartner