The last 10 years have proved to be a decade of disruption and transformation for many businesses and government enterprises, but what does the experience of the last decade suggest about the priorities for technology leaders over the next few years?
That’s a topic we recently took up with David Irecki, Director, solutions consulting, APJ at Boomi.
We started by asking Irecki to describe the areas where companies have made the most progress in their digital programs in the last decade and to outline the impact on their customers.
According to Irecki, “Internally, there has been a drive to increase productivity while externally the focus has been on delivering better, more innovative products and services. And in both of these cases, organisations want to do this faster than ever before. The reality is that it’s a journey that will probably never end.”
He suggested Boomi’s own experience with its onboarding program provided the company with a great insight into the opportunities of digital transformation to improve internal productivity.
By the fall of 2015, Boomi was growing rapidly. It already had 150 employees but that surged to more than 700 over the next three years, overwhelming the processes and tools the company had originally created when it was still just a startup.
The systems in place were basically manual processes using emails, spreadsheets, and data entry which consumed valuable time hurting productivity among administrators and employees.
It was not just the overhead costs that were a problem. The inadequate onboarding processes also hurt corporate culture. For instance, a Boomi survey of employees in 2018 found that 74 per cent of them were not provided with a provisioned laptop on day one of their Boomi careers.
In fact it took an average of 92 days before new hires had access to key applications and information, according to Chris McNabb, CEO at Boomi.
To address the problem the company used its own platform to build what it called the Onboarding Solution Accelerator which combined Boomi Integrate and Boomi Flow capabilities in a package of connectors, services, templates, and tools.
By integrating critical applications and workflows for onboarding the company virtually eliminated the manual processes that were slowing down employee onboarding. Now, roughly 98 per cent of new Boomi hires have a provisioned laptop on their first day, says Irecki. “And they have near-immediate access to all needed applications, without that painful three-month delay.”
He also cited the experience of US fast-food outlet Jack In The Box as an example of the transformative impact of digital technology on customer experience.
Jack in the Box uses Boomi technology to get data out to the point of sale. That’s quite a challenge for an organisation with 2,200 locations. And to make matters harder, Jack in the Box also then applies data analytics and machine learning to improve the experience.
In this case, the customer’s licence plate is scanned and matched to previous orders. This can then help to predict the order, saving time for the customer and for staff. But it also allows the staff to make suggestions based on analytics across all the data, of new options the customer might want to try.
When discussing digital transformation, Irecki often parses the topic into four themes; ‘connect’ and ‘modernise’ ‘transform’ and ‘innovate’. He identified digital lessons from the last decade for each of these.
In ‘connect’ he stressed the need to bring shadow IT under control, to minimise it and ideally eliminate it. That doesn’t mean trying to reverse the long-established practice of business owners taking more responsibility. Instead, he said the better approach is to empower the lines business to pursue their own as-a-service solutions – but crucially – in collaboration with IT.
When it came to modernising systems Irecki said, “You don’t need to eliminate all the old integrations all at once. Rather an integration platform should be able to bridge both worlds (new cloud apps and existing legacy apps), allowing you to replace old apps as required without disrupting business operations.”
He likewise stressed that transformation success is only possible when the business, including senior management, are fully engaged and fully endorsed the planned transformation.
“And when it comes to innovation, while you don’t have to be a disruptor, you do need to make sure you keep up with changes in the market to survive.”
He also suggests IT groups now better understand that they need to adapt to low code development platforms and to allow and enable business users to have greater input. That’s true even if it means letting those business users build some of the simpler integrations and only involving IT only for more complex integrations.
When it comes to overcoming the technology debt business has built up, or at least leveraging the best ROI from current systems, Irecki offers only a mixed report rating for many organisations.
“This really depends on the customer and how their organisation drove this transformational change. For example, according to IDG 51 per cent of IT leaders have stalled or abandoned digital transformation initiatives. And nearly two-thirds of IT leaders rank legacy systems as first among the barriers to successful transformation.”
Sky, the European media and entertainment company provides an example of the scale of ROI available to large multinational organisations that successfully implement digital solutions using platforms like Boomi’s.
The company, which won the 2019 UK National technology award, says it uses Boomi as an intelligent black box to “power an innovative digital system that lets customers troubleshoot and fix broadband issue either online or via a mobile app.”
The solution, which handles 55,000 customer engagements a day generated savings of over £6 million ($AUD11 million) in the first year, cutting support service costs by 40 per cent, and Sky says, generating a 69 per cent increase in digital-first customer engagement.
About this author
Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Boomi is a corporate member. Members provide their expertise and insights for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.