Digital Product Engineering Drives Digital Transformation
Digital transformation, from an operational perspective, aids internal processes in supporting a business. From a more fundamental view, it transforms a business model. Many companies that started as traditional e.g. ‘hardware’, or ‘consulting’ ones, gradually started building software to support internal processes in their business. Moreover, as their software evolved towards becoming a product/platform, they could also use it to generate more revenue. Later, when their software product/platform became their IP, selling and maintaining it became the core of their business. That is what the popular interpretation of Digital Transformation as ‘Every Company is a Software Company’ is all about.
Digital Transformation is disruptive for every business, not in the least for existing software businesses. The disruption mandates many things such as the need to continuously innovate, to migrate from product to platform, from on-premise to cloud, having to address all technology migration aspects that come with it.
And, innovation never stops! Microservices, DevOps, containerization and many other concepts are revolutionizing how software products are built, and is making it more complex by the day.
Software products, and software product engineering is at the core of it all. However, a clear definition of a software product doesn’t exist, even on the internet! Here is a non-exhaustive list of characteristics of a software product I could think of.
A software product is not built for a specific use case, but a market. As the market and technologies change, so should the product. Hence, a software product is never finished.
A product should be maintainable and enhanceable. This should be enabled by its architecture.
A product’s needs change through various phases of its lifecycle. Requirements and Product Management Teams should recognize and cater to the changing needs.
Each lifecycle phase of a product demands a different team setup. An MVP needs a different focus than a product being sunsetted. Hence, care should be taken so that the knowledge of the product is transferred seamlessly across the various teams involved in various phases.
In fact, a software product or platform should be built in such a way, that it does not have to be sunsetted anymore, ever. It should be able to innovate continuously. This has many implications for its technology, architecture, and how teams are setup and work together.
As said, this list is not exhaustive, but attempts to enumerate several complex steps to build a product. Building software products is something different than implementing a one-off software project, it demands meticulous product thinking and product engineering.
Offshored Digital Product Engineering is a specialism that coMakeIT has been successfully mastering since its inception. Building software products, the cornerstone for any digital transformation, is a specialism. We invite you to experience that specialism.
Demystifying Digital Transformation To Facilitate IP-Centric Product Development
“Digital transformation has to be understood in the real linguistic context. To me, transformation is about a caterpillar becoming a butterfly; when applied in the context of a company, it could be the transformation of any company in to a software company.” It’s the emphasis on the element of metamorphosis that distinguishes coMakeIT’s offerings in Digital Transformation. In this conversation with Kiran Madhunapantula, COO, coMakeIT, let’s understand the concept and how coMakeIT has conceptualized their unique interpretation of digital transformation to facilitate IP-centric product development for non-IT companies.
Let’s demystify digital transformation: What are the 3 critical areas where we see the impact of digital disruption in business.
The term digital transformation is used in many different contexts and this could be creating some confusion. Broadly speaking, it refers to the conversion of something that was being done manually into an automated process with minimum technology support.
There are three dimensions of digital transformation: digitization, digitalization and digital co-Creation. One, conversion of a hard copy into an e-document or converting a physical map into Google map is a good example of digitization.
Two, automating a process for improving efficiency and effectiveness such as opening a bank account with multiple account holders through a workflow or automation of processes in manufacturing or retail or any industry sector, are examples of digitalization. Here, the objective is to achieve operational excellence for better customer service or retention by automating repetitive and time-consuming processes.
Three, when a non-IT company explores software product development for the first time to productize the IP created over the years for the larger benefit of the business ecosystem.
This is something exciting for coMakeIT as our partners have been playing a crucial role in the digital transformation of such companies.
The third dimension of digital transformation empowers any company to provide operational excellence as a software service (or product) for other companies as well. For example, by improving front-end banking and building an app to automate all the manual steps, the bank can create a product and offer it to other banks as well. By selling it as a digital banking solution, they will also make money with it. They not only delight the customer but also create a new revenue stream for growing their business.
For coMakeIT, the pursuit of influencing and facilitating digital transformation for such companies for whom software is not the main revenue stream is a core business offering.
While the current digital disruption is giving them an opportunity to produce software, they also need dependable and experienced experts who can share their vision and be with them till the product is developed and launched in the market.
In other words, what we believe in is that every company is a software company, it can produce IP and it can offer operational excellence as a service, thus generating a new revenue stream. Hence, our services are designed to be a part of the digital transformation journey of those companies for whom software is not the main revenue stream or core business.
An example from an FMCG conglomerate
Let me illustrate how an FMCG conglomerate can embark on this transformative journey.
Let’s assume, a major business conglomerate who has been into FMCG products with several offices, guest houses and factories, spread across multiple locations, wants to automate their building and facility management activities. They want to make their systems efficient through proper utilization of facilities like room booking, servicing of the equipment, cleaning the facility, improving the process of lease accounting and so on.
The CIO of the company has two options: one, he or she could think like a typical CIO and explore buying ready-to-implement, off-the-shelf solutions. Or, two, he or she can think like a CTO of an IT company and decide to make use of the rich domain expertise and wisdom acquired over the years to build a software product by themselves. The vision for the product could also include adherence to global standard and use of latest technologies.
After a discussion about the pros and cons of both the options, the company decides to go ahead with the second option. They begin by listing down the areas which needed improvement and contribute to effective management. However, since it is not their core business to develop a software product that could meet these requirements, they look for technology partners who could build the product for them. Upon successful development of the product, they not only achieved operational excellence goals for their conglomerate but also helped many other companies in FMCG segment transform into a digital entity.
This is also a good example of how a company’s IP and its value can be leveraged strategically to create a new revenue stream for themselves and offer the product to the market as well. It also demonstrates the scope for transforming their potential to venture into software market through industry-specific solutions.
coMakeIT’s services in digital transformation – de-centralizing value creation
To extend the above example, I would say coMakeIT believes in giving teeth to the non-IT companies to build their own IP. Just like the case of the FMCG conglomerate, there could be many companies whose CIOs perceive the need to build solutions that can benefit the entire ecosystem in their respective industries. They can be a part of our ‘Software Factory as a Service’ offering.
They can come to us with the idea and walk away with the final product. In fact, our co-Creation model is all about empowering non-IT companies to share their accumulated wisdom and retain the IP with them. So, when they present their idea, it is collaboratively executed in the virtual factory floor by synergizing their subject expertise and our product development expertise and product development tools. This is a participatory process where we jointly execute the plans.
Digital transformation and product innovation – two sides of the same coin in the backdrop of the fact that every company is becoming a software company.
They are definitely two sides of the same coin, especially, going by our definition of digital transformation that is IP-centric. We also believe that every company is a software company, and it will behave like a software company. By this, I mean the agility with which the product is developed in a software company where the cycle times are much lower than traditional, non-IT products. Another aspect of a software company has to do with the marketing and use of the product instantly and how it is adopted by the users. It’s an ongoing process where people use the product, mostly intuitively as it gets built with incremental versions.
This kind of product centric thinking complements digital transformation and it is fast changing the non-IT landscape with more companies embracing the journey of product, and IP-centric transformation. As a result they are not just developing a software product but they also behave like software companies.
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Covid Vaccination drive: We, at coMakeIT, value scientific knowledge. We are grateful to researchers and workers in the healthcare sector for striving hard to protect our lives. To do our bit, we conducted two vaccination drives at our new office at Aurobindo Galaxy, Hitech City, Hyderabad. We believe in ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe!’
Welcomed 33 Interns: We extended a warm welcome to the 33 interns who were hired from CMR by inviting them to our new coMakeIT office, Aurobindo Galaxy, and gave them a tour of our state-of-the-art workplace. Despite the depressing lockdowns, their determination and keenness in learning skills and securing a bright future are commendable. They displayed great eagerness and enthusiasm during the induction. They are sure to bring new energy and ideas to the company.