“Adding more people won’t speed things up.”
– Top 5 Apparel Brands Customer
When technology and process fall for a team, they can reach a hyperproductive state where they can realize creativity, velocity, and quality. At Bounty, we call this digital flow, and through a process called co-innovation, we help our customers find the flow they want.
Digital experiences have become complex and headless and composable technologies are advancing rapidly. Optimized customer experiences are a competitive advantage and to deliver these experiences at scale, we need to update how we operate or risk leaving behind.
Take the ultra-fast fashion company Shein.com for an example. They have vaguely grown to $20B with quick manufacture and direct shipping from China. They have cut out the middleman and, at the speed of social media, are eliminating their fast-paced competitors by eliminating low-cost fashion. They are a technology company that has figured out how to connect the dots between experience and delivery, resulting in a customer experience that outpaces its fast-fashion rivals and shows off their market share.
How do we prepare for disruption?
To remain competitive, we need to foster a culture and an operating cadence that fosters experimentation, which we call reaching experiment velocity. To reach experiment velocity, we need to make trips across channels, and the time limit for doing so is getting tighter. The technologies required to deliver these experiences are changing, so we must support an ever-expanding portfolio of capabilities. The layers of skills and technologies needed to deliver connected experiences at scale are increasing, and they challenge us to reach an operational flow. We need fluid processes that facilitate collaborative teams while avoiding the technical and procedural hurdles that slow us down.
To be successful, we must provide our customers and employees with remarkable experiences. The challenge is that the technologies we use to digitize experiences are evolving faster than our delivery process. To live up to expectations, we must invest in accumulating long-term business value and avoid short-sighted fixes such as finding “unicorn” out-of-the-box solutions. We can prevent some common problems by taking a top-down approach:
Define the business value of both customer and employee digital experiences Evaluate the economic impact of the current digital stack on IT and operations Identify the standard workflows that business units need to execute efficiently and effectively to support business workflows Define the inherent abilities needed to solve people’s puzzles
Traditionally organizations have teams to maintain separate channels, each with its own set of technology. This silent approach is efficient but creates fundamental barriers to creating a cross-channel experience. To deliver connected experiences at scale, we need to establish lateral communication between teams and the technologies that support them.
Working in teams, we find ourselves in a matrix structure. Matrix organizations, by definition, break up silos and promote lateral coordination. They also require a high level of communication to avoid conflict. But the amount of communication needed to keep everyone in the loop in the matrix structure is often a velocity-killer.
McKinsey does an excellent job of updating the matrix organization into a model he has dubbed the helix. They look at organizational metrics on the capability and value-creation dimensions. Value-creation is where we set goals and objectives for a product, project, program or business unit. Capabilities are efficient resources that perform tasks to achieve those objectives.
Interestingly, the helix model correlates well with composable architectures. This allows us to build a modular portfolio of stationary instruments in a formal framework. We can think of capabilities as a standardized palette of tools we define for our business. They are intuitive and long lasting, using familiar business terminology and technical best practices. The value-creation workspace is a collection of business capabilities and logic. We can establish efficient processes that facilitate communication between groups in a predictable manner. We also avoid the negative stereotypes of matrix organization – big slow meetings with lots of repetition to make sure everyone is in the loop.
But structure alone will not improve our operational flows. We need processes and tools that allow people and teams to focus on their areas of expertise while growing as an organization.
Leadership makes informed decisions because they have visibility into capabilities and costs. Business units can operate without large inter-departmental meetings or the few indispensable unicorn employees who act as a bridge between departments, associated with marketing. There is a palette of tools to execute campaigns and can be estimated the way to request new capabilities. Central IT has well-documented APIs that they can manage, a process for expanding APIs, appropriate A pattern for customizing and migrating SLAs, and APIs at large
The combination of composable architecture and a helix structure gives us predictable technical velocity and business agility. But how do we structure collaboration between departments and translate that to the business needs of different groups, so we know what to build?
take a layered approach
By designing workflows so that people can focus on their skill sets, we allow people to stay in their lane, which increases efficiency. We can also streamline operations by mapping the technical architecture to business terminology. Composable architecture helps us do just that.
Operating experience will be your guide
Experience Operations (XOps) is a technology role that fosters collaboration between business and technical teams to deliver digital experiences. With technology piecemeal, we must establish efficient processes for experience production, platform development and maintenance. The role of XOps is that of a player/coach who facilitates communication between IT and the people creating the experience.
Experience Operations serves as the connecting teams to Rosetta Stone. They develop and maintain the materials used to communicate in groups and ensure they work efficiently by streamlining processes.
Experience operation facilitates some areas.
The primary goal of XOps is to provide user experience at scale. Teams need to optimize productivity in groups and leverage platform capabilities effectively. By removing barriers, we can produce experience efficiently and expedite delivery.
The following are some of the most important strategies:
Optimize workflows across teams – With a unified platform, teams can work seamlessly together and make better use of shared components and assets. Teams can also use shared tools and processes such as automated testing frameworks.
Leverage Platform Capabilities – Provide capabilities that help producers rapidly build high quality experiences through standard code libraries, frameworks, and reusable UI components.
Increase development velocity – A solid framework provides high-level abstraction that saves time coding basic functionality and allows more time to improve and act on customer feedback.
Ensure consistent user experience – Consistent UI ensures users see the same look, feel and behavior wherever they are in an application or website.
Material Design is at the core of the user experience. Optimizing productivity in groups and effectively leveraging platform capabilities accelerates the delivery process. Success metrics are quality, efficiency and speed of experience delivery. People providing experiences can take a content-first approach, focusing on content and design rather than code implementation.
We are continually looking for ways to improve processes and capabilities, and enhancements and optimizations that will accelerate and enhance the production of customer experiences. We need to build a culture of improvement around sustained growth. Agile development practices lend themselves well to managing the request pipeline. These processes allow us to transparently collect and prioritize enhancement requests. These strategies enable us to scale predictably across an organization.
The reliability of the infrastructure is fundamental to the success of the platform. Again, we are looking for predictability and scalability that will allow us to drive demand. We need DevOps and reporting processes to give us the required uptime and performance as well as the flexibility to quickly add functionality and scale.
Experience setting up operations
We have the technology to deliver next-level customer experiences, but we must develop processes to support and enhance them. Experience Operations focuses on designing and maintaining operational processes that directly improve employee experience and indirectly improve customer experience. Setting up Anubhav Operations as a practice is a co-innovation initiative that will help you reach a digital fluency state.
Providing an engaging customer experience is a clear competitive advantage and improves revenue. Whether updating existing experiences or creating a new one, effective orchestration of people, processes, and best-of-breed technology will deliver measurable results.