How can you unlock business productivity in just 8 weeks?

Discover how Elsewhen’s proven 8-week discovery and definition process for digital product creation can give your people the business tools they need to be more productive.

In recent years, businesses have had to define new ways of working – and new ways to measure and track productivity over time.

For many organisations, the shift into an all-remote operating model introduced new challenges related to the stack of internal digital technologies and tools that are used to perform critical tasks.

Finding the right tools for productivity

General-purpose office software solutions, such as spreadsheets, are often used as ad hoc tools for managing business processes. They are a readily available and familiar way for multiple team members to collect and share data. Alternatively, off-the-shelf SaaS work management tools are used.

Both these approaches may ‘plug the gap’ for a while – but are not good long-term solutions. They are designed for a general business audience, making them hard to customise for your specific use case. They still require a large amount of manual activity to manage and are hard to maintain. This means they are not cost-effective – and they don’t scale well as your needs grow. This is especially true for large enterprises with complex requirements and edge cases.

Companies must be able to provide teams with the right technology for their tasks. In order to streamline work, unlock productivity gains and react quickly to new business opportunities, leaders should work with their teams to create digital processes that are based on their needs and can evolve over time.

Determining your digital transformation goals

Regardless of the size of your organisation, having the right digital systems can help you improve efficiency, reduce cost and raise customer satisfaction.

In the immediate term, it contributes to increased employee effectiveness, with less time spent on routine manual tasks and easier access to valuable data insights. In the mid-term, it creates the foundation of new revenue streams.

To determine what you want from digital transformation, you must first identify and understand the needs of your business and customers. How can you lead or react quickly to changing market conditions that call for continuous innovation? What productivity blockers are holding your employees back from achieving their top performance? What do your customers want to achieve – and how can digital solutions make that happen more easily?

An example of this we have encountered in many recent projects is how business data can be used in new ways to create value. By moving data beyond siloed internal systems, you can create powerful dashboards and tools to accelerate team workflows and enable wider insights. You can also provide self-service portals that enable customers to answer their needs quickly and easily.

Applying a proven process to moving ahead with transformation

A lean and agile process is key in ensuring your digital transformation is addressing these needs and is set up to deliver value. No business wants to spend time and money on a digital transformation project, only to find later it did not meet the actual needs of the business.

That’s why organisations work with Elsewhen to reduce the risk around digital transformation – by running an 8-week process for discovery and definition of the true requirements and goals.

The discovery process uncovers the key opportunities for achieving efficiency, revenue and productivity gains. It also equips decision-makers with vital information regarding the expected cost and impact of the project.

By working through the 8-week process, you uncover where problems currently exist, and how you can tackle them with efficient digital processes and automation. You can also explore how technologies such as cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can provide insights and create business value.

This is the start of an ongoing journey, where different layers of your organisation take part in transforming their future digital business environments.

Discovering your route to productivity

The aim of our 8-week process is to equip your organisation with a solid understanding of user and customer needs, create digital prototypes, and compile a sound business case to support decision-making on next steps.

In the process of discovery, we aim to create a shared understanding of the needs of your users and customers – and propose potential solutions to address those. We identify your problem areas – where existing manual or complex processes and workflows can be digitally transformed.

We also look at your current technological environment, with the aim of leveraging its capabilities more effectively wherever possible.

Defining your business transformation

Once we have an understanding of the needs of your users and customers, and the problems to solve, we can start to define solutions.

For example, we may define the scope for a minimum viable product (MVP) by prioritising different opportunities – and articulating the value proposition of the new digital solution. Specifically, we define the MVP based on speed to launch, value creation and learning mindset. We do this by testing that the solution is technically feasible, commercially viable, highly usable and valuable in context of your real-world business environment.

After this definition, your business is equipped with a good understanding of the prioritised user and customer groups, their needs and problems – and a series of actions to solve these issues and create value.

The definition process is designed to minimise the risk associated with a digital transformation project. Specifically, we mitigate value risk, usability risk, feasibility risk and business viability risk to ensure you are creating the right solutions.

By using a proven methodology, your business is able to articulate a roadmap, estimate costs and start delivering value to users and customers within a short period of time.

Overview of our 8-week process for discovery and definition

Here is a brief overview of the process, week by week – read our full guide for more details.

Week 1 – Kick off: The first week of the process activates the project team, and creates a shared understanding of the problem space. It is important to create organisational momentum from very early on, and ensure that all relevant stakeholders are involved. This will include two-to-four workshops, in which we will create a service blueprint of your current processes and workflows – and map out the users and customers for digital solutions. 

Week 2 – Research and interviews: We run workshops to uncover the key data flows and processes that comprise your current systems. We conduct interviews with users into how work is done and customers are served. We identify where the problems are, and what blockers are holding your business back from achieving top performance.

Week 3 – Evaluate needs and technology: This is focused on analysing user needs, and mapping of the systems that are currently in use by your business. We apply the insights from interviews to create user and customer personas that highlight specific needs. We identify and prioritise areas for improvement in your existing processes. We also begin an evaluation of the technological stack that exists within your organisation. 

Week 4 – Identify jobs and prioritise MVP features: We use Jobs to be Done (JTBD) as our go-to framework for analysing user and customer needs. For each opportunity identified, we detail the problems found and the supporting evidence. We also provide hypotheses and suggest experiments to test these. We finish this week with a set of prioritised features and a deep understanding of the problem space. 

Week 5 – Starting the solution design: At this stage, we hold a mid-project review, discussing progress with the project’s steering group. Our focus is on value being delivered to the business and the key learnings so far. We map out required data flows – and any gaps that need to be bridged. We run a workshop to create the visual language that will extend the brand to the digital domain. This session is an opportunity to evaluate your company’s design system and assets, and explore how to use them in new digital solutions. We apply the principle that ‘data rules design’ – defining key rules and metrics for the MVP. We develop a step-by-step model of the user journey, based on our features prioritisation. This will then be tested with users to validate our hypotheses.

Week 6 – Tech validation and prototyping: We validate the solution, testing visual prototypes to get feedback from potential users. We visualise the main steps that your users or customers will go through when using the solution, and the main information that would be presented to them. By this stage, you will have a solid approach for implementation. That will include an architecture of the solution, a decision on development stack, an understanding of third-party dependencies, and the required skill-set for building the solution.

Week 7 – Designing the future: Referring back to the service blueprint, we can now generate a future version of how things should work – and where we are hoping to make the biggest impact. Applying our knowledge acquired over the previous 6 weeks, we articulate a desired state that is evidence-based and informs our digital transformation roadmap. Having a roadmap at this stage is a good basis for future digital evolution. It also helps you share your vision with wider management and stakeholders – creating excitement and gaining buy-in on the required budgeting for the transformation project.

Week 8 – Bringing everything together: By this final stage of the MVP definition process we have learned enough to refine the solution prototype. We can also craft a strong business case. Choosing whether to ‘bet’ time and money on digital transformation is not a straightforward task for decision-makers. The ultimate goal of the business case is to equip your organisation with enough information to make the right investment decisions for your digital future.

Watch our webinar to learn more

Find out more about Elsewhen’s 8-week process for unlocking digital business productivity in our helpful webinar. You’ll also find success stories of how we’ve delivered transformation for a diverse range of organisations, including Spotify, Inmarsat, Secret Escapes, Zego and Mastercard.

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