The advancement of the digital economy and its rapid growth in recent years has completely changed the way organizations do business. In this context, it is extremely important for business and industry leaders like you to understand what a digital transformation strategy is and how it can be implemented in an organization.
Digital transformation is the integration of technology in all areas of a company, changing the way in which the organization generates value for its clients and stakeholders. Digital transformation implies a change in the culture, mentality and way of working of managers, employees, and other collaborators. It leads to the development of a culture focused on innovation, which can also bring a competitive advantage for your company.
According to a Boston Consulting Group study, only 30% of companies that begin a digital transformation process successfully complete it. This is the case because digital transformation is an arduous process and requires the alignment of all areas of a company.
An example of digital transformation
Imagine a company like yours that sells products and provides services to its customers. This company works with two core areas in its business: the one in charge of marketing and selling the products; and the area dedicated to providing after-sales service to customers. Both areas have individual databases, independent sales, monitoring, control and measurement processes and procedures, which makes it difficult to provide comprehensive offers for clients.
Now let’s imagine that this company decides to get involved in a digital transformation process… Broadly speaking, we could think of a context where the top management of the company decides to digitize all operations in both areas: automate monitoring, incorporate a customer data management system, digitize contact with suppliers and the supply chain, among others. To consider this process a digital transformation, it would be necessary for the company to adopt a strategy to unify its offer, ensuring that these two areas manage to work together, optimizing work and mutual collaboration.
Why do you need a digital transformation strategy?
We could talk about several advantages of digitization and digital transformation. Most of the time, digital transformation responds to an organizational need to modernize, changing internal processes, restructuring the culture, and incorporating the necessary technologies to face the constant and changing demands of the market.
The key is that technology should not be a peripheral support in the organization, but that it should represent the heart of the business and support the operations and strategy of each and every one of the company’s areas.
We can understand then that successful digital transformation is a process that can take years, because it involves all parts of a company. But when this process is finally finished, it is capable of generating returns and creating capitalized value in results.
At Huenei we help one of our clients, ICBC, to form a support and maintenance team for the establishment and opening of bank branches. The process represented a digitization of processes and restructuring of the priorities of various areas. The results were very positive, reflected for example in an increase in customer satisfaction indicators.
Another success story related to digital transformation is the work we’ve done for YPF, which consisted in the development of a mobile application for employees, with the functionality of allowing them to request materials for oil wells. Its implementation required, in addition to the development itself, an alignment of different areas and teamwork towards the digitization of activities. The result was an improvement in the work of oil well operators.
Processes. The second key element of digital transformation is processes. These are the organizational dynamics that allow companies to communicate the technology used in different departments with people. In a digital transformation process, the end user must always be at the center of decisions.
Culture. If you want to change a company, you have to start with its culture. Organizational culture is understood as the set of values, customs and rules that determine the behavior of people within your organization. An adequate culture for digital transformation is one that allows the creation of an environment that stimulates constant innovation, communication between different areas and the use of technology to improve processes.
To achieve alignment with the digital transformation environment, companies need to start thinking more horizontally, move away from hierarchical or vertical dynamics, and focus on finding ways where the different teams of the company begin to share ideas, objectives, and work spaces. In this sense, the advent of organizations focused on learning, knowledge management and the importance of the intellectual capital of organizations is key. Communities of practice are workgroups focused on generating knowledge that can provide your organization with an ideal environment for digital transformation.
Successful digitally transformed companies
During our years of work, we have managed to implement the digital transformation in Huenei, and accompany many clients in their innovation and change processes. From these experiences, we have observed some characteristics that companies that manage to digitally transform share. We’d like to tell you what we believe the main characteristics of successfully digitally transformed companies are.
Companies that are going through digital transformation processes, that is, the integration of technology in all areas, need well-established leadership to succeed. If your company is in a process like this or you are planning to start one, you must understand that the alignment of leadership figures and their role is essential for success.
As we have already discussed in previous articles, digital transformation relies on technologies, processes and culture. The latter represents the most important component of change management, so the role of the leader is essential when it comes to an organizational digital transformation process.
Leaders play a fundamental role because they are the ones who effectively drive change at different levels of the organization. A good part of the transformation process will then depend on them. It is key to invest in training, development and learning processes for leaders and managers before launching the digital transformation in your company.
What does the leader do?
Among the main tasks and key responsibilities of the leadership role in a digital transformation process are:
Alignment with the mission, vision, and values of the organization. The leader must ensure that all collaborators focus their activities on compliance with these guidelines, which are so important to the organizational culture.
Accompaniment and motivation of employees. Leadership must represent a role model for collaborators. It is his responsibility that they acquire through him the necessary motivation to focus on the development of the digital transformation of the company.
Employee evaluation. In all companies there may be employees who resist change and who prefer to stay in the comfort zone. Additionally, it is possible that some employees well predisposed to transformation make mistakes that damage or delay the process. The leader must carry out a control, evaluation and implementation of corrective actions if necessary.
In other words, the leader needs to be someone who promote positive change and team innovation, focusing on the long term towards the development of transformation. They must manage talent by helping people shine and succeed, ensuring that the work environment allows each employee to give their best. This is how innovation is encouraged and this is the goal of a leader.
What does a team need to be successful?
Many companies have developed frameworks on the characteristics of a successful team. At Huenei we adapt to the model proposed by Google. It is a step-by-step guide –you can think of it as a checklist– that allows us to determine if we are facing the work of our teams correctly.
Do the members feel identified? Are they motivated? Do they work hard? Do they enjoy work? These are some of the questions we must ask ourselves when assessing the situation of our development and IT teams. The Google framework can help us in this process. Let’s see how this approach is composed:
Psychological Safety. Team members feel they have the ability and the organizational endorsement to take risks and be authentic with each other.
Dependability. The team members are guided by the company’s vision of excellence and respond on time to its objectives and goals.
Structure and clarity. The roles of the team members are well defined. Employees have clear plans and objectives.
Meaning. The team members feel identified with the organization and the work team. They value their work and enjoy it.
Impact. Team members feel valued by each other and by the company. They understand that their work is important to the organization and that they collaborate to generate significant change.
Illustration by re:Work
What is the Huenei team like?
We’d like to tell you a bit about our experience working with more than 350 associates in 6 offices around the world, which are grouped into work teams and specific teams for projects. As we mentioned before, we are guided by a culture of teamwork such as that proposed by Google. This helps us align the work of our teams to Huenei’s values.
Our experience working with internal teams is also supported by the services we offer. In Huenei we have three main services, all of wich are based on the development of project teams:
Dedicated Teams. Outsourcing services that offer your organization a managed team of agile and autonomous specialists that are aligned to the specific needs of your business.
Staff Augmentation. We provide your company with qualified personnel to join your teams without the need to grow in headcount.
Turnkey Projects. These are made up of totally independent teams that offer solutions to your company’s needs.
Leading technology and innovation departments represents the continuous search for key results for the future of your company. In this context the KPI vs OKR dilemma arises. It is important to understand the value of thinking strategically and always working with a results-oriented approach. The data that a company generates must be measured and these measurements must be interpreted in order to continually optimize decision-making.
In this article we are going to discuss the importance of the culture of measurement and strategic thinking. Our goal will be to understand what indicators are and what types of indicators we can use: traditional and non-traditional.
The true purpose of measurement is to facilitate the interpretation and understanding of the current state and results of your organization. Thanks to this learning we will be able to improve and get closer to achieving our organizational goals.
Objectives and principles of measurement
Setting an objective before defining an indicator is crucial for management. We should only measure something if we plan to take some specific action based on that measurement. An objective must be set following the SMART methodology. This approach specifies that objectives must be:
Specific in terms of the desired result.
Feasible to be measured objectively.
Attainable from a practical point of view.
Realistic, with the possibility of being approached.
Oriented to its fulfillment in a specific period of time.
Illustration by Think Marketing Magazine
Parallel to the definition of the objective, you should consider some basic principles of measurement. These are considerations or questions that you have to ask yourself when planning the measurement strategy of your organization. They will help you achieve a successful and orderly implementation, aligned with the structure and way of working of your company.
What is the objective of the measurement?
What data sources are to be used?
Will you need quantitative or qualitative indicators?
How often are you going to measure?
Who is going to review this measurement?
Objectives, Indicators, KPI vs OKR: what is the difference?
All of these may be new concepts for you. Or maybe you’ve already heard about them but you are not clear about what their differences are. Are these all synonymous? Clearly not; They represent different but complementary tools that can help your organization implement a measurement structure and culture aligned with the company’s purposes. Let’s see how they differ.
The objectives represent the goals that a company defines to achieve in the short, medium and long term. As we have already discussed, these must be determined in a SMART way.
Management indicators, also known as performance metrics, are quantitative or qualitative expressions of the behavior or performance of some action to be measured, such as a process. They help us measure magnitudes or impacts of different business actions that, when compared with a reference level, can indicate an opportunity to take corrective or preventive actions. Management indicators are all those quantitative or qualitative data that reflect the consequences of actions taken during a process, campaign or strategy of your organization.
Two interesting and extremely useful acronyms arise from the concept of indicators: KPIs and OKRs.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are metrics used to track the results and performance of specific actions or strategies of your organization.
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are the objectives and expected results that serve as the basis for measurable results. So, we can say that the OKRs of a company allow it to ensure that its employees and collaborators are aligned in relation to the objectives and expected results for the business in a certain period.
Metrics to measure performance.
Multiple key results to measure the achievement of the selected objectives.
They evaluate the success of a project or process.
The specific period of time established is limited.
They vary depending on the type of organization, industry or activity.
They are ambitious, aspirational, and challenging. They are intended to inspire and motivate, not just control and measure.
KPI vs OKR: Non-traditional indicators for your company.
A non-traditional indicator is one built for a particular purpose and that is adapted to a specific work methodology, such as OKRs. However, non-traditional indicators can also be KPIs, i.e. measurements that are not widely used standards, but are innovative and adapt to the measurement of an organization’s particular strategy. Non-traditional indicators allow you to adapt your measurement to the purpose of your company, helping to quantify and measure what was not previously possible to measure directly.
Here are some examples of non-traditional management indicators that we recommend incorporating in different key areas of your organization:
Employability and human resources:
Application-Completion Rate (ACR): measures the completion rate of people who go through the company’s recruitment process.
Time to Hire (TTH): represents the average time it takes to hire certain positions.
Employee Engagement & Satisfaction (EESAT): assesses the level of commitment and satisfaction of employees in the company.
Change Management Performance (CMP): monitors the level of adaptation to change by a team or the company in general.
Net Emotional Value (NEV): identifies the quality of the affective relationship that consumers establish with a brand and its products / services.
Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI): measures the maturity of a technology-integrated process.
Projects Delivered on Budget (PDB): allows a follow-up of the proportion of projects that were solved respecting the planned budget.
Number of Critical Bugs (#CB): monitors the number of bugs that occur in a project and evaluates them based on a target.
Mean Time to Repair (MTTR): studies how efficiently your team deals with unexpected events, calculating the average time elapsed between the appearance of a problem and its solution.
In short, you can create your own non-traditional metrics and indicators using frameworks like OKR. The purpose is to get metrics that adapt to the needs of your project and your company.
How to develop indicators and build your dashboard.
A series of requirements must be taken into account to build the KPIs and the control panel, such as the name of the indicator, its description and formula, the unit of measure, the data source from which the information will be obtained, the person responsible for carrying out the measurement and the necessary values to consider a positive, neutral or negative position. Additionally, dashboard design requires extensive knowledge of the world of data and software, such as our development for YPF. At Huenei we can help you develop 100% automated dashboards that add value to your organization’s operations and strategy, allowing accurate and constant measurement of the important activities for your business.
Organizations and institutions centered in the creation and dissemination of knowledge have existed at all times, from the corporations of the Middle Ages to the large companies of the beginning of the century. But the last few years have been particularly characterized by the creation, accumulation and diffusion of knowledge within companies. Does your company manage knowledge effectively?
Since the mid-1980s, the growing competition at the global level of organizations deepened the search for organizational mechanisms, practices and tools that would increase the efficiency and profitability of businesses. Within this framework, the currents of exploitation or development of organizational capacities appeared as a strategy for generating value. This, added to technological advances in the transmission of information and knowledge, led to the concept of intellectual capital and learning organizations.
Thus, the knowledge of people and the organization is today an differentiating and difficult-to-manage element within the assets that make up the intellectual capital. This is where the importance and need to manage knowledge appears as a way to conserve and increase the intellectual capital of organizations.
In this article we propose to jointly analyze some guidelines that companies should consider in the process of managing their knowledge, so that you can apply these strategies in your company. In this sense, we are going to present you with certain key aspects so that you can evaluate the current state of your organization in terms of knowledge management.
Strategic principles of knowledge management.
As we have already highlighted previously, knowledge management represents a central axis of the competitive advantage of an organization. This is mainly reflected in technology companies, where the knowledge and skills of employees and collaborators represent a valuable asset for the organization: daily operations are essentially based on this asset. But what do you have to take into account when implementing a knowledge-management-based philosophy? Let’s analyze it together…
The implementation of knowledge management has to be driven by the organization and aligned with the strategic vision.
It will be key to be able to articulate in the organization some work methodology oriented to knowledge management. Different authors and enterprises have developed useful methodologies, such as communities of practice, the perspective of intellectual capital, and specific models such as that of Nonaka and Takeuchi.
The selected work methodology must be based on the organizational structure, have a clear management structure, and structure the operation in controllable action plans.
Interesting, but … What is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge Management (KM) has become an independent field but transversal to the rest of the company’s departments. It can be defined as a combination of information systems and work experiences that help the company better organize, analyze, create, and share information.
Knowledge management pursues a wide variety of objectives. First of all, we can mention that it encourages the employees of the company by creating an organizational environment to share knowledge in order to raise the level of efficiency of people. Additionally, create value for the work that is done through good planning, management and development of the organization’s employees in order to manage clients and evaluate which practices are effectively working in the organization.
Long-term knowledge management also helps attract intellectual capital to find appropriate solutions to problems that the company or organization may face.
Benefits of Knowledge Management.
One of the benefits of knowledge management is that it helps in the continuous improvement of the organization and the ability to make the right decisions. It increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s employees, helping to reduce time and effort. In this way, the company’s resources are used and exploited to achieve its objectives. Help explain past experiences and benefit from them at work.
The focus is clear: knowledge management makes it possible to standardize the process of recording the information and knowledge available in a company, in order to be able to take advantage of them in decision-making and in future operations.
How to Become a Learning Organization?
A learning organization is adept at creating, acquiring, and transmitting knowledge and at modifying its behavior to accommodate these new ideas and knowledge. The learning organization is one that expands continuous improvement.
The disciplines that you need to develop in your company to transform it into a true learning organization are:
Systemic thinking. The company must have a concern and focus on the processes, to achieve a vision of the organization as a whole.
Personal domain. Company employees must be properly trained. In this sense, the personal and professional development of the members of the company must be adequate to achieve the proposed knowledge objectives.
Organizational mental models. Development of mental models in the organization, as mechanisms of thought through which employees conceptualize their way of understanding and explaining how the daily and strategic operations of the organization work. Leadership and corporate culture are essential to achieve this goal.
Construction of a shared vision among employees, management and all stakeholders.
Team learning. Dialogue must be prioritized, assumptions suspended and your company should begin to develop collective thinking.
We’d like to share with you the following checklist that can help you evaluate your company to find out whether or not it is a learning organization.
In conclusion, knowledge management is very important today, and the competitive power of organizations, as well as their competitive advantage, depends largely on the way the organization manages its knowledge. Your company can benefit from knowledge management by optimizing processes, promoting strategy and developing skills.
The Lean Project Charter is a document where we detail the main aspects and considerations of a project, based on its life cycle. This project management tool is a one-pager elaborated to formally authorize a project or a particular phase framed within one.
From an operational perspective, this document is a tool that gathers the work guidelines and functions as a framework that also delimits the software project or of any other nature. It documents the initial requirements that meet the needs and expectations of stakeholders. In this sense, it is useful to keep track of the project at all times and to be well organized during planning, implementation, and control.
Template by Colleaga
Why carry out a Lean Project Charter?
Everything that is specified in this document we are going to plan and then we are going to execute. The purpose of this “cover letter” is to standardize and correctly plan the steps involved in the development of a project, in order to be able to carry it out safely from start to finish.
This project management tool links the decision-making managerial level with the project management level. Every project must have a project team led by the project manager. In this charter, it should be very specifically detailed what is the level of authority that this director has to make decisions within the project, whether they are decisions that affect it positively or negatively.
This document is prepared before the development of the project and all strategic stakeholders of the project must participate in its creation to align expectations, agree courses of action and establish preferences regarding the framework and reference of the project.
What is the structure of this project management tool?
There are various work templates and methodologies to organize a Project Charter, however, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has not defined a specific framework for its implementation. This realizes that each project and each organization shall adapt this tool to their particular needs. As general content, it can include the following sections that represent points that must be adapted to each project in particular:
Project data. Here you should specify the enterprise, the project’s name, the date of preparation of the Project Charter, the clients, and the project manager.
Purpose and justification, which allows demonstrating the reasons why the product or service in question needs to be developed. You should specify the context of the organization, the needs to satisfy, and all the legal requirements.
Deliverables. This section is about the minimum viable products, documents, partial processes, and others, that are elaborated to complete and measure a project. It is important to clarify that the deliverables must be measurable and verifiable.
Project life cycle. This phase represents the set of phases into which the project is divided. Many times we structure is based on some work methodology such as Design Thinking.
Objectives of the project, which represent the goals that we set ourselves with the purpose of understanding, in the charter project, why we are carrying out this project.
Budget, understood as the preliminary estimate of the resources needed to complete the project activities.
Schedule of main milestones. These are activities that can be measured in duration, which mark important and key moments within the project. Some examples can be the official presentation of the project to the client, a meeting with the general manager to approve the project, periodic progress meetings to tell how the project is developing, and others. It is useful to structure the schedule using work methodologies such as the Kanban board or the Gantt chart.
Stakeholders or interested parties. They are all those people and organizations, internal or external, who are involved in the project and who can positively or negatively influence its development. Once all the project stakeholders have been identified, the next step is to identify the expectations or interests that each of them has in carrying out the project. These will represent the fundamental requirements that must be considered in the realization of the project objectives.
For this document to be useful, it must be presented very briefly. At Huenei we like to understand it similarly to the Canvas model in business planning: The Project Charter must contain all the necessary and relevant information but must have the ability to be compressed into a single page. In this sense, like the Canvas model, the Lean Project Charter will allow us to have at a glance access to all the processes and flows involved in a project from a macro, global perspective.
We have covered the general aspects that a Project Charter should include, which allows administrators the possibility of seeing the most important factors of the project to be able to start it. It is finally necessary to remember that the charter project must be agreed upon and signed by the management positions, partners, and sponsors of the project.
As a corollary, we would like to emphasize that by using this tool we seek to avoid misunderstandings in the planning and execution of projects. In other words, we will always do what is registered in the Lean Project Charter and we will never do what this tool does not tell us.
Organizations today must develop technological solutions capable of responding quickly and efficiently to customer demands, and thus offer the best experiences. This new digital paradigm gave rise to the birth of software factories.
Software currently plays an important role in the development and evolution of companies. Software facilitates applications that support the operations and strategy of organizations. The importance of software for companies and society, in general, lies in the facilities it provides. This is related to optimizing tasks, increasing profits, reducing costs, minimizing time… In other words: making the company’s operations easier and, therefore, enhancing strategy and competitiveness.
Software development is carried out by technology-lovers, like us at Huenei. When these come together in a company dedicated to development, we are talking about a Software Factory.
Illustration by SICMA21
What is a Software Factory?
A software factory is a company dedicated to developing software products for its clients, adapting the developments to their specific needs. While IT and technology consultants cover the entire creation and development cycle, software factories focus specifically on development.
Modern software factories adopt innovative approaches that facilitate collaborative development guided by the specific needs and requirements of customers and users. These organizations focus on understanding the key needs that the products to be developed must cover. Likewise, the work methodology is fast, based on rapid trial and error, and focused on continuous improvement.
Let’s dive into it! Some characteristics of software factories
Agile is the core principle of the whole operation. Being nimble and responsive should permeate the development process. This generally means collaborating in ways you never have before.
A basic but fundamental pillar is automation. This saves a lot of time in prototyping, development, testing, and refinement of products. All of this translates immediately into creating greater value for the customer.
You also need to consider security. Customers today demand high-security standards. Many times, software factories develop programs and applications that will handle sensitive data. This information can be key to the company’s operations and even to its strategy. This is why the security that your developed platform can provide truly makes a difference.
A software factory needs to be customer-centric to be successful nowadays. This means focusing on providing you with great experiences; This should be the number one business priority. Insights gleaned from ongoing customer feedback are the fuel that keeps the factory moving.
Digitization has become a fundamental axis in any company that offers its services. That is why if you want to acquire a competitive differential for your organization, you need to join the wave of digital transformation. Remember, taking advantage of these trends and being one of the first in your industry to transform digitally can bring you great opportunities in the future!
Illustration by Tecnova
What are the benefits of hiring a software factory?
You have a team that guarantees all the profiles that your project requires. Regardless of the characteristics that your project needs, a Software Factory will always have trained and specialized personnel to carry out your project. The specialization of the technology teams is an important differential of these software development companies. At Huenei we have experts in development, prototyping, testing, UX/UI, and other specialties that your project may require.
You don’t need to have 100% of the roadmap to start the project. You just need to have a first clear idea of the problem you need to solve and a software factory team can start working on potential solutions.
Times and costs are defined from the beginning. The use of agile methodologies throughout the entire process speeds up times and minimizes costs. Thanks to the experience of software factories, professionals can accurately project budgets and development times.
You will see incremental deliveries until the final product is complete. This is another of the virtues that agile methodologies present. It is not necessary to get the finished product for you to understand what the members of the software factory are working on. You will constantly be presented with advances, prototypes, and test units, as well as a minimum viable product so that you can visualize different incremental instances of development.
Your product will be finished without having to dispose of the total operating time of the Technology area.
Digital transformation is what most companies are seeking to achieve, particularly in what we are now calling the fourth industrial revolution. Technology and software development companies are key to accompanying organizations like yours in all aspects of software production: from the initial stages of product specification to the maintenance of the product after it is in operation. In this sense, software factories play a fundamental role that can help your organization gain momentum and stand out from the competition.
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