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A major differentiator between businesses that do well in difficult times and those who don’t is the cohesiveness of their operations. When different functions within an organisation operate as disparate units, the business suffers. With only a fragmented view of the value chain and maximum focus on project-based outputs, businesses fail to maximise profits.
With increased digitalization, Agile and DevOps adoption has gone up. However, in several cases, it is implemented as a mandate for technology teams with little business involvement. These investments are rendered less than effective if non-IT parts of the business continue to operate as before. According to a 2021 Infosys Agile RADAR survey of 1000 respondents across business and technology practices in the US and Europe, only 53% of businesses achieved desired business outcomes from their Agile investments.
Post-pandemic, more businesses are willing to revisit their operational models by establishing Agile and DevOps capabilities across the enterprise and not just IT. A strong business-IT alignment builds enterprise-wide agility and long-term resilience. It encourages businesses to think laterally when developing solutions and benefit from greater technology adoption.
A product-centric approach to Agile for greater gains
Agile and DevOps deliver optimum results when these capabilities are coupled with a product-centric approach to value delivery. The Infosys survey referenced earlier found that globally 74% of the C-suites are prioritising this approach. Substantiating this outlook, the UK government’s Data and Technology Strategy 2024 also recommends it as a core principle for defining a digital, data, and technology strategy.
Today’s digital natives are holding their own against Fortune 100 companies due to their product centricity. Their approach is built on a deep understanding of customer expectations and sharp focus on value streams. The Infosys Agile Radar research also found that firms with an inherent start-up culture achieved better outcomes. The report found that when product-centric value delivery is combined with employee upskilling, growth could go up by 63%.
Product-centricity is free from the limitations of a cost-and-time-bound approach. It moves away from project-based outputs to business outcomes. Since it rooted in design thinking and bolstered by advanced technologies, it prioritises human experience at all touchpoints along the value chain. This mindset shift necessitates greater interoperability and integration of business and IT functions. Consequently, the organisation operates with greater cohesiveness, agility, and customer centricity, bringing in faster business value.
Other advantages of a product-centric approach to Agile and DevOps include:
•Business and IT have a shared objective that is strongly aligned with the organizational vision and impact on bottom-line, top-line and market growth. They co-develop an end-to-end view of the business value chain.
•Autonomous, cross-functional teams work together from the get-go, persistently and iteratively throughout the product lifecycle, using advanced engineering practices.
•The enterprise behave like a digital startup – quick to innovate, manage product feedback loops with a mindset of experimentation and continuous learning supported by a flatter organizational structure.
•Every member of the value chain is accountable as the organization progresses along its product roadmap. This requires a shift in outlook that is reinforced through periodic training, communications, and reward and recognition programs.
•Constant communication and feedback with end users help clear roadblocks and make room for user-centric decisions.
However, a product-centric approach requires planning and problem-solving. Business must define the product keeping in mind the market and the user and identify the focus areas, be it the value stream or the customer journey. If not done with proper forethought, cost of delivery could escalate quickly and outweigh the benefits.
In the words of a client exec, “It is crucial to understand how much control we give to Product teams on design, architecture, and customisation in order to safeguard the underlying platform’s standardisation and simplification principles. Where do we draw the line?”.
The roles and responsibilities of the team members must be clearly defined as IT and business begin to work together closely. A governance model and product Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) frameworks are needed to drive clear ownership and better outcomes. Change management becomes critical to ensure teams are aligned to a product mindset. Knowledge sharing practices, enablement programs and upskilling must be made available and encouraged.
Once a business becomes product-centric, it can keep pace with evolving market forces and grab the right opportunities quickly. One of our clients said, “Product Centric approach provides a much needed freedom to Innovate while promoting a consistent, harmonized and integrated experience to their customers”
This becomes a powerful advantage when combined with an agile culture that rewards experimentation. Thanks to DevOps, which brings together cross-functional teams, high value customer solutions reach the market at a fast clip. So, while adoption of agile and DevOps can help drive several benefits, combining this with a product-centric approach can help truly elevate outcomes.
Surya Duvvuri, Vice President – Life Sciences Head for DACH and Nordics
Surya is a Vice President at Infosys. He is an experienced executive heading DACH and Nordics region in the Life Sciences business vertical. In addition, he is a board member for Infosys Consulting Switzerland and is part of the Switzerland Country leadership team. Surya is a performance driven leader with 28+ years of experience in the industry; the last 16 of which are focused on strategic account management. He brings experience across several business competencies, including sales, Surya is a Vice President at Infosys. He is an experienced executive heading DACH and the Nordics region in the Life Sciences business vertical. In addition, he is a board member for Infosys Consulting Switzerland and is part of the Switzerland Country leadership team. Surya is a performance-driven leader with 28+ years of experience in the industry. The last 16 years have been focused on strategic account management. He brings experience across several business competencies, including sales, strategy, consulting, marketing, and local leadership. A technocrat at heart, Surya is passionate about driving innovation and solving complex business challenges. Key strengths include building high-performance teams, establishing long-term relationships, and managing large transformation programs.