Date Published: 02/18/2016
Enterprise IT is undergoing fundamental and radical change. Organisations must move at digital speed to stay ahead of rivals and fend off competition from agile new start-ups. Employees want new ways of working and collaborating and customers demand a seamless connected experience.
This is a challenge for CIOs and corporate IT. The digital world simply moves too quickly for huge complex big bang IT projects where the business needs will have changed long before any value has been delivered.
To accelerate change in the digital era and avoid being held back by legacy IT, the focus should be on identifying and delivering specific outcomes first and then perfecting the delivery.
It’s what McKinsey calls “two-speed IT” with a fast, customer-centric front end running alongside a slower, transaction-focused legacy back end. The faster customer-facing tier is modular, enabling quick deployment of new software by avoiding time-consuming integration work while the core legacy systems have longer release cycles.
Analyst Gartner calls it “bi-modal IT” with the foundation of rock solid business operations along with the fluidity of a digital start-up. Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, says: “As IT leaders, you must design, resource and deploy for a world that’s digital first. In this new model, every business unit is a technology start-up. Partner with the digital start-ups inside your organization and prove that you can move fast too. Embrace the outside change.”
How can CIOs make this happen? For us, large-scale transformation begins with small steps. It’s about a platform and an application development process that enables a cascade of small changes and agile, rapid innovation that can easily be connected and scaled up across the enterprise. But it’s also about doing that with some measure of certainty and control and without the inherent risk of those old-style big IT projects.
In this paper we will show you the Fujitsu RunMyProcess methodology and philosophy for using this incremental, agile and outcome-driven development process to deliver large-scale business change in the digital world.
Enterprise IT budgets remain under pressure and CIOs face the challenge of balancing their need for as much certainty as possible — fixed prices, fixed resources, fixed deadlines — with the flexibility to adjust the scope or scale of a project on the fly as business requirements change. They want the principles of agility but without agile pricing.
That’s where the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform and methodology can provide the balance between the fixed variables that customers want for IT projects and an agile approach that enables the customization and scalability the digital world demands.
At its core, our methodology is about reducing complexity and uncertainty. We do that by breaking large-scale change into smaller outcomes. Using an agile-inspired approach where things are broken down into fixed iterations reduces risk and margin of error and it allows the project to evolve as the needs change. Data provides valuable insight within days and is a powerful way of preventing things going off track.
The RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform increases the reliability of delivery and reduces much of the uncertainty associated with IT projects. It industrializes they way projects are delivered — the modelling tools, frameworks and automation cut out the traditional risks of IT delivery caused by the need to create infrastructures, designs and platforms from scratch every time. Using the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform enterprises can simply capture and deploy business logic in a way that is guaranteed to be fast, reliable and scalable.
The platform also enables a more collaborative design of applications and systems. From the outset, business users and IT work together on project specifications. Our agile and iterative development and testing tools and process then quickly turn those specifications into finished, deployed applications across all devices. Our delivery methodology has been designed to allow organisations to take full advantage of the flexibility and industrialisation that the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform enables.
And while a key driver is creating clearer, more precise and less ambiguous specifications it’s also about evolution and agility, leaving the door open for changes and dynamism in delivery. There will always be inherent difficulties in complex business IT projects but our approach strips out huge uncertainty, inefficiency and investment risk.
The methodology covers business change, not just project development. The benefits of agility, including multiple sprints and reviews, are amplified by the benefits of specification driven by business needs and of overview. Development is taken out of the silo but kept firmly under control.
How do we adapt our methodology to each IT project? Depending on the complexity of the application or project we have three different approaches. These are:
Easy Builder is our drag-and-drop application development environment designed specifically for non-technical business users and created in response to customer demand. It is entirely cloud based and runs in-browser, so needs no in-house deployment or configuration and can be made available on demand to all who need it, on any device at any location.
Each step in the application’s development appears as part of a logical workflow, presenting the user-developer with simple-to-navigate tools to place screen items, create menus and option selections, gather necessary data and wire in actions. The flow from data acquisition through defining how it should be processed and how the results should be treated is represented by and navigated through a simple diagram. Other benefits include easy modelling, one-click deployment, device independence and automatically created dashboards.
Easy Builder can be initiated by an organisation at any time, to familiarise themselves with the system and create quick, simple proofs of concept. It enables IT to capture application specifications and functionality from business users and this collaborative and iterative process empowers users, speeds up delivery and enables more rapid innovation. And that means the business is better placed to respond quickly to changing customer and market demands.
Applications developed using Easy Builder can be imported into our powerful IDE platform, which enables the IT department to adapt and enhance them and share that functionality across the organization. This evolution of the application is a key part of the Fujitsu RunMyProcess philosophy of how the intelligent accumulation of small, low-risk steps can create wider change and accelerate innovation.
The IDE is the focus of more complex application development by IT specialists and is designed for fast, accurate code generation with powerful yet easy-to-use tools. It also integrates easily and securely with pre-configured connectors to locally hosted and cloud-based business services such as Microsoft Office and Exchange, SAP and Google Apps as well as social networks.
All live RunMyProcess DigitalSuite applications are presented in the Enterprise Process Store: the business’s own app store with a single point of access for users. This gives the IT department full overview of what apps are being developed and how they are being used.
This is the equivalent of the specifications phase of traditional IT project planning but more interactive and iterative. Easy Builder is used to define the specifications of what’s needed, through business user input in collaboration with IT departmental planning.
Then, the user and IT department go through the process of completing the ASAP application, which is a structured, linear approach to resource and flow creation. Finally, the specifications from the first step are used within the IDE to complete and deploy the final application.
Bringing things back to a practical level, how can organisations take the first important steps using this new incremental and agile-inspired approach to IT project delivery?
We prefer to focus on business-specific processes that are not always addressed by core systems. There are often dozens or even hundreds of these processes at the edge of core IT systems and this is increasingly where value and differentiation lies. These are processes which may not be directly quantifiable in a classic business case but have direct operational impact on important factors: speed of execution, profitability and the bottom line, customer service, efficiency or employee well-being.
An example is the French public transport group RATP, which used RunMyProcess DigitalSuite to transform its cumbersome and outdated incident reporting, which had been causing delays in fixes, affecting the quality of services and leading to financial penalties from the state regulator. Project development took less than three months from conceptualisation to implementation into the first bus service line and the impact was high, increasing incident reports by 20%, reducing processing time from 24 hours to just 30-60 seconds and improving RATP’s recording of the quality of the infrastructure. As a result RATP’s relationship with the regulator STIF has improved, decreasing the risk of financial penalties and having direct impact on the bottom line.
This submerged 90% of the iceberg is also made up of a multitude of smaller processes — low-hanging fruit that can also be addressed with the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform and methodology and add up to make a huge difference overall.
Don’t waste months of time and cost trying to identify the perfect process to automate. With that first step, choose a project that will rapidly deliver very specific outcomes. What’s more important here is to deliver something, even if it’s not perfect. It is better to deliver something in days or weeks that meets maybe 70% of the specification instead of embarking on a multi-year project to address 100% of the requirements but where the needs will have changed by the time it is completed.
We take each application as a unique project and apply our agile-inspired methodology to it. We include the business users as early as possible in the process. That ensures a more collaborative specification process and a project that more reliably meets business needs and delivers tangible benefits quickly.
Each project should be discreet and able to move in small but fast iterations. We first deliver a simple version that works but be prepared to include makeshift or temporary components as needed to get by until a later version. Then we put it in the hands of the business users, get feedback and then iterate on the next version and so on in a constant loop. This approach enables us to bring applications live very fast and refine and adapt in line with testing feedback and business user requirements.
Expand on successful projects to drive the results more deeply into the heart of the organisation. Each incremental step builds out and strengthens the ongoing process of digital transformation. We did this at the global environmental services company Veolia (see box) where we started by delivering just one single, simple application that scaled up in one day from a small group of users to 80,000 employees worldwide. On that back of that success and other applications we are now building a global digital identity management system for the company.
Veolia is one of the largest environmental services companies in the world with 179,000 employees globally. It provides a perfect example of our methodology delivering value quickly in small increments and scaling rapidly on that success.
We started small with an employee travel authorisation request system for dangerous geographic locations. It needed to be available on any device so employees could notify the company of any changes while travelling.
It is a niche application but important for the security and safety of the company’s employees. It isn’t just business critical; in many cases it is life critical.
We built a first version of the application within a few weeks and deployed it on a small scale to around 200 employees at Veolia’s corporate HQ. Once we validated it was what they needed, we gathered data and feedback from that group of users, did an iteration of it and produced a second version. We then scaled that up rapidly to make it available to 80,000 users globally in one day. The company said: “In just one month we’ve connected all global employees — something previously unimaginable.”
On that back of that success other parts of the business asked us to deliver applications for them and that led to executives at Veolia wanting to use the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform at a bigger scale for higher-impact applications. We are now building a Digital Identity management system to manage employees from when they join the company through to when they leave.
One of the biggest building materials companies in the world with more than 60,000 employees, Lafarge had built and accumulated 5,000 IBM Lotus Notes applications over the years and wanted to start migrating these to the cloud. The company identified around 200 contextual apps around the core IT systems that they asked us to migrate.
For a large global project like this we take each application as a unique project and apply our agile-inspired methodology to it. We deliver the application in small increments to come up with a first simple version that works. Then we put it in the hands of the users, get feedback and iterate on subsequent versions.
At the same time we were working in parallel at a central level to set up the governance model for the teams building and migrating the apps. Some applications were being migrated by a central internal team, alongside a resource factory in India capable of scaling up the delivery and a network of local partners to address any local requirements. There is also a small core delivery team at Fujitsu RunMyProcess to handle difficult and complex applications.
Re-usability was also a key part of the process. Many of the applications will have something in common so instead of building these elements on each of the 200 applications we build re-usable fragments that can be used across all of them.
Some of the results of the migration included seamless integration with Google Apps and other systems, a streamlined employee on-boarding process that replaced an inflexible Notes workflow, a customised accounting application that manages key data in different formats and an incident management application improving field service quality.
The world is changing too fast for traditional IT development project cycles. Customers demand more than ever before and employees need the tools to respond to those demands.
Big multi-year IT projects are not responsive enough to the speed of the digital world and carry too much risk. Meanwhile the CIO is faced with tackling the ungoverned sprawl of shadow IT that springs up around organisations when business users lose faith in IT and take matters into their own hands.
In this era of uncertainty the only way to succeed is to move quickly and that means a new approach to IT project delivery. The RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform and methodology provides organisations a path to rapid innovation and organisation-wide business change starting from small, manageable incremental steps.
Those first small steps are about just trying something and then refining it in future iterations based on user feedback and performance data. With its powerful modelling and automation from specification through to development and delivery, the RunMyProcess DigitalSuite platform also enables closer collaboration between business users and IT, both empowering users and freeing up precious IT resources.
Human creativity and problem solving skills are married to machine efficiency, and the business can concentrate on growth, innovation and competition. It’s how IT is meant to be.