Nowadays, needless to say, technological advance application is becoming more and more crucial to business success in any field. More specifically, in an incredibly crowded and competitive business landscape, any chance to get ahead is worth capitalizing on. If you’re not taking advantage of the benefits of technology in your organization, you’re likely already falling behind the competition.
There are nearly endless benefits of technology in the workplace that can transform your business into a more successful, mobile, and modern organization. Among them, we can name the 5 most commonplace and influential ones, both inside and outside the business itself. Let's discover them to fully acknowledge the role of technology before diving deeper into the urgent request for fast development of a strong IT department.
- The ability to streamline repetitive processes with automation.
Over 40% of workers surveyed in a McKinsey report say they spend at least a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks such as sending emails and entering data. Leveraging automated technology in the workplace puts these tedious processes on autopilot so your employees can spend more time focusing on higher-return business ventures, such as building new client relationships or providing more attentive customer service. Automated processes are also more accurate. For example, using a software solution to automatically collect, upload, or sync data into a system of record reduces the risk of an employee accidentally inputting the wrong number that could skew an entire data set.
- Overhead cost savings with remote work and BYOD (Bring your own device) devices.
Companies of all sizes can experience significant decreases in operating costs by letting their employees work from home and use their own devices. It makes sense—with fewer employees in the office, organizations need less space, materials, and utilities. With BYOD device policies, you aren’t on the hook for purchasing expensive new hardware every time you hire an employee. As a large-scale example, American Express claims their remote work program has not only improved productivity, but also saved $10-$15 million annually in real estate costs. A Cisco study also found that companies save an estimated $3,150 annually per employee that uses their own device between hardware costs, data plans, and the value of time savings.
- Higher employee productivity and satisfaction.
When you give your employees access to the tools and technologies they need to do their jobs, and let them use them in the way that works best for them, they’ll be more efficient and engaged—and therefore much happier. In fact, highly-engaged business units have 41% less absenteeism, 17% more productivity, and achieve 10% better customer ratings and 20% more sales. When both a higher quantity and quality of work is being produced by your employees, it drives revenue and boosts profit margins. Happy employees are also more likely to stay loyal to your company long-term rather than going to work for the competition, which also saves you on turnover costs.
- The ability to better serve customers.
Technology in the workplace has allowed businesses to better market to their customers and provide faster and more personalized customer service. From leveraging data to determine where to place targeted ads, to participating in social listening to uncover your customer’s pain points, to providing immediate service through live chat bots or automated emails, and more, there are nearly endless opportunities for technology to enhance your user experience. This can go a long way in differentiating your brand from others, leading to long-term loyalty and higher revenue.
- The opportunity to tap into non-local talent.
Remote work policies can help businesses break down talent barriers by opening up a wider pool of candidates. Before the rise of remote work, employers were pretty much limited to hiring talent that was already in their local area or willing to relocate for the job—but this usually meant having to reimburse their relocation expenses, which could drastically increase the cost of a new hire. Now, businesses are able to attract and hire the best talent and industry specialists no matter where they live with attractive remote work policies.
Now that we have fully realized the importance of technology in businesses, we also need to understand the instinct of incredibly rapid changes of technology as well as the complication of its application into the current systems and workflows, especially for big corporations. In fact, it is a real pain-point for many organizations, which prevents them from achieving what we usually call: “Digital Transformation" - for boosted revenues and impressive scale set in goals with lower cost fraction. Even worse, in many cases, the IT team can become an extremely heavy burden, both financially and operationally, to a company, instead of a launching pad, if it does not function well and accordingly with the whole organization.
This is where the rapid development of a strong IT department in business, even x10 times versus average velocity of its own before, is crucial more than ever.
At Eastplayers, we choose to follow and apply the ideas and mindset presented in the well-known book “The Phoenix Project" to help our clients grow their IT department stronger and faster than ever. From this book, we realize the very core of this development: To build an IT team, the most important thing is to set up proper culture and workflows. If an IT team’s workload is seen as a river flow, then the most probably blocked place should be the most narrow part of the river. This is where we should focus all innovations on for the most worthy solutions. Or else, it would all be invalid and become a huge waste of money and effort. Also, the development of the IT team must align closely with the businesses’ goals. Thus, the goals must, in return, be adjusted in accordance with the IT team’s capability at each certain stage. Last but not least, for a business to win, every department must win, apparently, including the IT team. Therefore, a harmonizing development with adequate attention paid on the IT team development is very crucial.
Want to know in details? Please help to continue reading the case studies below.
Gearing towards successful “Digital transformation" building for various different organizations of any type worldwide, Eastplayers have witnessed and had successful hands-on experience in many projects where our clients struggled with their own underqualified IT department and urged for our help. Among them, our cooperation with Hello Health Group - a multinational corporation - and Arches - a promising start-up - can be iconic examples for today's article.
Hello Health Group (HHG) is a leading provider of consumer health information in Asia operating in 9 countries. Via a network of localized platforms, HHG empower consumers to make more informed health decisions. And by engaging consumers, HHG also enables brands to reach their target audience. All at the right time.
When this client came to us, many problems with their IT team were critically addressed.
- A development team with unoptimized performance
- Code bases were full of errors and far outdated due to its long used wordpress base, thus nobody could maintain it effectively
- Overwhelming number of requests from various different leads to IT team’s being overloaded
- Inadequately tested products results in too much time and effort spent in adjustments on production environment
All of these problems affected substantially the operation, efficiency and revenues of the whole organization. The prompt fixation was highly required, yet under a big challenge: Still ensuring the smooth operation of daily work on the whole system, which did no harm to anyone's current tasks.
Arches is an on-demand and the research partner of choice for investors, corporations and consulting firms covering projects in Asia with a lean company structure.
When this client came to us, many problems with their IT team were also addressed, in terms of both general workflow and technical operations.
About general workflow, there were 3 main issues:
- Lack of a masterplan for both short-term and long-term development as well as a go-live schedule for specific functions. The previous process was: BOD or Operations team would put tasks in a list which popped up in accordance with real-time needs for the IT team to tackle. The list was not arranged in the order of priority, long-term and short term timeline, or any elements which helped the IT team to develop strongly and properly
- Disconnection between Tech team & Operation team, mainly due to the above-mentioned reason and the lack of smooth communications solutions between the two teams. This led to the under-expected updates and delivery speed of the Board of Directors and Operations team
- Lack of technical documents and official functional requirements. This led to high chances of code conflicts and even more unexpected bugs generation after a bug being fixed.
About technical, there were also 3 main problems:
- Lack of a project management system
- Lack of CI/CD set up for quickest updates & testings. This led to wasted duplicated tasks and slow development velocity through testing and fixing cycles
- Lack of Performance Assessment System or metrics for developers to take as strong benchmarks.
With these problems, the IT team struggled to develop due to the very lack of directions and harmony with other departments inside the company.
For HHG, we spent 4 months to make various different changes:
- Rebuild workflows to ensure the control over the IT team's workload
- Make official documents contemplating all actions on the system to ensure no critical errors would happen which affects the company’s flows seriously
- Create task lists with priority in accordance with business goals
- Apply the theory of Agile Scrum into development cycles
- Review codebase to gradually migrate into a brand new self-built system with Node.js and React to prevent the dependence on wordpress
- Add a Devops into the team to review and setup CI/CD for a faster new features' delivery, as well as integrate automation testing into deployment process
- Move deployment to Kubernetes so as for resilient cluster ( through health check and autoscale ), Failover/self-healing (when health check failed, the application would try to restart itself to the closest possible working version), Infrastructure as code (all deployment and configuration involved would be managed by code which can be put to repo and history check if needed) and Scale as a glimp (faster scaling was beneficial from containerized application and stateless application )
On the other hand, for Aches Global, we chose to make changes in just 2 months with some different solutions, tackling 3 key blocks: Human Resources, Workflow and Automation.
- For Human Resources: we plan to build a team with specific & clear roles, with additional Project Manager, Business Analyst, Designer, DevOps and Developers. This is to ensure the smooth workflow of the team with a well-rounded mindset, which, previously, only contained Developers.
- For Workflow: we choose to ensure the vivid and full visualization of all things happening: All features, tasks, bugs should be represented in a Kanban board, start with 4 simple columns: Backlogs, To do - Specify, Doing - Implement, QA - Validate and Done. Each column will be limited to a certain number of tickets to ensure completing important things promptly, which will be defined by weekly short meetings among all roles of the team.
- For Automation, infrastructure and data: + Devops will take care of the automation and infrastructure+ Assess the current system to bring everything to a common standard+ Setup CI/CD to speed up testing and deployment+ Data collecting and automate process from the operation
Apart from a stronger than ever IT team and boost in revenues, we also helped our clients to have a strong website with:
- Page Speed gets ≥ 90 on both desktop and mobile
- Bounce rate decreases by 50%
- Time on page increased by 40%
Although we are still in the progress of developing this project, we 100% believe we can help our clients, like any other previous ones, to build a strong IT team in the long run to achieve better business goals.