Softvision is a digital services company that provides digital innovation strategy, design, and execution for some of the world’s leading global brands. The company employs more than 2,500 professionals in eight countries and works with companies like Estee Lauder, Groupon, Microsoft, Macy’s, Mozilla, Lululemon, and Neiman Marcus. Softvision’s CEO, Andres Angelani, co-authored the book “The Never-Ending Digital Journey: Creating New Consumer Experiences Through Technology.” Here he shares with us his thoughts on where digital transformation is headed and advice for your journey.
Nicastro: What advice do you have for field service companies looking for ways to embrace digital transformation — what are the best first steps?
Angelani: There are a great deal of businesses that only ‘look digital,’ vs. those that truly commit to ‘be digital.’ Companies need to adopt a different mindset — a new kind of corporate structure and flexibility to help them integrate their various business units and create an emotionally engaging conversation with customers leveraging new technology. You also need a collaborative approach that empowers engineering and design teams to work side by side quickly and efficiently — and at scale — to reach consumer and business goals.
Embracing digital transformation requires four primary elements:
Nicastro: What are the most common digital transformation mistakes you see companies make and what is your advice for how to avoid them?
Angelani: 1. Poor Planning: No new Agile program aims for failure. Yet poor planning by unprepared and ill-informed team members who fix their sights on unrealistic goals will essentially doom a project from the very start. With waterfall, projects failed because they did way too much planning. Agile projects also fail because of poor or too little planning. Planning also implies validating assumptions and learning continuously, so a plan that is not refined does not allow the team to mature and become more assertive in estimates and dependency assumptions. So it’s not so much about the right plan, but rather about planning right.
2. Trusting Process and Technology More than People: As the primary driver of a project’s success, people are more important than either process or technology. Agile teams are self-organized and rely on team flexibility, autonomy, and diversity. For these we need team members with a good degree of emotional intelligence and adaptability. We want people that value feedback and build an organization that constantly looks for improvements. Select and invest in people who are open to change, enjoy challenges, and are willing to do what it takes to ensure success, including learning skills outside their current skill set. Agile teams are key to ensuring success.
3. Poor Communication: Poor communication is recognized as the major cause of project failure. Poor communication often leads to the delivery of the wrong solution. Effective communicators understand that the goal is to share information, that the information sharing is a two-way street but we need to understand how different communication methods work and how they should be used together.
Nicastro: What do you anticipate as the biggest digital transformation trends for 2018?
Angelani: There are a number of trends impacting the success of digital transformation in 2018: