This is part 2 of a three-part series: catch up on part 1 before you start.
In a recent article by Gartner, Chris Howard discusses why now is the time for companies to accelerate their digital business. We asked Co-CEO Andrew Dean for his thoughts on how COVID influenced the digital landscape and businesses’ ability to implement change, and how DB Results has adapted in 2020.
Why is there an urgency to change and digitalise, as is the essence of the Gartner article?
When you look across the globe, almost in an instant there’s been a forced change. COVID hit in January, and all of a sudden by March, the pandemic started accelerating so fast that there was a global crisis, and it meant that you had to make changes instantly. I’ll give you an example we found at our offshore development centre in the Philippines. We had 200 people in the office, and they typically all work together sharing the office space. In basically three days, we had to transfer everyone to working from home and adapt processes. All of a sudden, communication channels changed from face-to-face meetings to Microsoft Teams. Bandwidth available in the office was replaced by new comms packages for people working from home. It really meant the whole interaction, how we had worked, was turned on its head, centralised to decentralised in under a week, with barely a hitch.
‘Speed to innovation’ has been a catchcry of DB Results for some time. How does this philosophy put you in a good position to help customers now?
Possibly more than ever in history, now is a time when you need to be able to innovate, and quickly. Speed to innovation philosophy and our DB Digital methodology uses the best of agile methodology, design thinking, and technology. We often utilise a low-code accelerated development platform called OutSystems, and this enables us to do is deliver transformative solutions and change for companies that need to move faster than ever before. When you have to deliver a working outplacement system in only nine days from scratch, our DB Digital Methodology, combined with the OutSystems development platform, enables us to deliver on our speed to innovation philosophy.
Gartner points to several methods of speeding up in the wake of a new business setting. What would you advise?
A crisis makes you focus on what really matters. One of the things that organisations struggle with is they have legacy systems that are entrenched, so what you really need to be able to do is build things on top of those systems, integrate to them, so that you can leverage what’s in the background. But you can still make process changes to how you interact with your customers, or enabling you to adapt to changing scenarios, so to me that’s one of the big things.
One of the other things that really highlighted this, and I touched on it before, was when you look at government passing legislation in ten days what would usually take ten years, so you remove procrastination. Let’s prioritise on the things that matter so we can get faster returns and also get better asset utilisation. So, ask what the things are that we’ve got that we can make use of and really leverage those quickly. The power of cloud technology helped us move our workforce seamlessly across multiple countries. One of the great realities for DB Results is that this is what our speed to innovation philosophy helps deliver.
Digitise or die: an old adage with a new truth. Can you explain?
I think when you look at our world today, companies and people will often resist change, in fact more than often, until you’ve got a burning platform or a crisis that forces you to get off. The COVID pandemic really has provided that burning platform. You know, you look at physical interaction – can’t happen, businesses to customers, only really happening digitally between businesses you know, you can’t have those human interactions. Even in the workplace, things like that need to be changed as well. People have actually no choice in a lot of instances: they need to digitise, because the way of doing things in the past of person-to-person interaction you just can’t do it in so many situations, purely from a health and safety perspective. So that has forced change, it has been literally digitise or die. We haven’t even touched on efficiency or effectiveness that are usually key drivers in this argument!
"In the spirit of banishing drags, a number of Gartner analysts had a brainstorming thread with a simple survey question: what is the one thing that you would stop doing to go faster?"
Waiting – navel gazing! Too often people and companies procrastinate, they know they have a problem, and need to act now. Don’t wait to perfect. Get on, get started. Ask “what’s the problem”, “what’s the solution”, and then you can iterate through those problems and just keep on improving. It really is the way to get things done, to embrace brave new worlds and make changes and just keep improving. So, to me if you said what’s the one thing, I’d say procrastination, get rid of it.