Digital Transformation: Designing, Developing and Delivering Solutions for Today and Beyond
The way we develop, consume and think about technology has changed dramatically over the past several decades with particularly rapid advancements happening within the last ten years.
In the 1980s, technology meant IBM, mainframes and dumb terminals. The 90s saw the rise of PCs and local networks, leading to the widespread adoption of the internet and ecommerce in the 2000s and, of course, to the ubiquity of mobile and apps from the late 2000s to now.
With the growth of Big Data and the Internet of Things, the internet is changing from destination to data source and search is morphing from human-oriented activity to machine-influenced experience. To keep pace, software companies must keep a close eye on the market and leverage strategic partnerships to design, develop and deliver outstanding solutions that solve real problems in ever-evolving ways.
That’s why we formalized the product management function at TEAM Software and partnered with strategic technology vendors to future-proof the business.
Together with our partners in design, software development and IT consulting, we presented the path to our digital transformation to a group of Omaha, Nebraska business leaders that included people from some of the biggest companies in the area.
They all came with a similar purpose: to find out what we’ve learned and how to apply a similar approach in their own companies to evolve technology, processes and people. Experts from TEAM, DesignMap, Deliveron and Dynamo shared how we approached the initiative and what we’ve learned so far.
Implementing Product Management
TEAM needed a group focused on leading the digital transformation of the business. So, in 2016, we created a formal Product Management department whose purpose is to lead the strategic and tactical components of the product lifecycle.
They leverage customer relationships, market analysis, corporate strategy and competitive research to create solutions that solve customers’ problems in new ways. The group’s main goals have been to add value to existing products by creating and executing on the product roadmap, and to develop a vision and plan for future innovation.
“Implementing a strong product management practice enables TEAM to better address customer needs, outpace emerging competitors, increase market reach and retention, and modernize the tech platform,” said Michelle Shanholtz, Vice President of Product Manage at TEAM.
Design and Delivery Transformation
Another key part of the digital transformation involved partnering with design and software delivery firms to bring a new perspective to the development function of the business.
When most people think of design, colors, buttons and layouts often come to mind. But, DesignMap, a full-service UX design studio from the San Francisco area, uses a multi-layered approach to design that begins with the end user.
“Sometimes we forget that there are actual people on the other end of the product,” said Audrey Crane, Design Strategy Partner at DesignMap.
Together, TEAM and DesignMap developed product personas, or a representation of a type of end user, based on interviews, behavior observations and market research. These personas help inform the solutions we create and address the needs and goals of the individuals who use the product.
From prototyping to customer validation, DesignMap has been instrumental in bringing a user-focused methodology to the software design process, incorporating a variety of phases.
“We use workflows, object models, whiteboards, sketches and high-fidelity wireframes in our design process,” said Crane. “And then we incorporate the visual design on top of that.”
The design element is tightly integrated into the development cycle of the product. That’s where Deliveron comes in.
Deliveron, an Omaha-based firm specializing improving the software delivery process, brings together the people, processes and technology necessary to build the best solutions possible and drive the most value.
“Our goal here is to modernize the development platform,” said John Weland, Co-Founder of Deliveron. “We want to transform how teams build the product and create flexibility, scalability and security.”
Tools exist today that weren’t available when we developed our current product suite. These tools have changed the way software is delivered remarkably. Deliveron has helped identify the appropriate technology stacks and architecture and has helped us establish a software delivery pipeline that includes infrastructure, application and automated testing elements in one package. This enables high-performing teams to build and deliver solutions quickly and continuously.
The Human Element
Just as there are people at the end of the product, there are people at the beginning of the product as well. Dynamo, an IT consulting and recruiting company in Omaha, focused on the other people part of the initiative, more specifically, the people developing the product.
As a key player in the Omaha tech community, Dynamo’s team helped drive our digital transformation by providing people resources on short- and long-term engagements, reinforcing our long-term version and providing an additional line of communication to stakeholders, both internal and external.
“Software isn’t the biggest challenge an organization faces,” said Brody Darren, President of Dynamo. “Culture is, and we really focus on understanding the human element of digital transformation. And, we’re helping to promote TEAM’s employer value proposition in the local tech community.”
“Transparency and shared values are critical,” echoed TEAM’s Shanholz. “That’s not only true for TEAM, but also the firms we choose to align ourselves with. These partnerships make it possible to gain buy-in across the organization and stay focused on our goals.”
This content is sponsored by TEAM Software.
TEAM Software is a leading provider of software solutions for the contract security and building service industries and has been since 1989. TEAM offers a host of fully integrated solutions from operations, financial and workforce management to employee and customer self-service to time and attendance products designed to help customers profit from efficiency. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, TEAM is an employee-owned company whose “startup mentality” drives us in our pursuit of innovation and fuels our commitment to our customers.