A New Company Structure Leads to Potential New Products & Services
itelligence is one of the leading full-service providers for solutions in the SAP environment. As a consequence of the merger of itelligence and ITML the question came up on how to best create a joint future vision and strategy while applying core design principles. A potential solution could be to set up a Design Center of Excellence (CoE).
But what exactly is a Design CoE? Dirk Ziegeler (Project Lead, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center) explains it like this: “With this service, the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center wants to show its customers what impact design can have for a company. Ideally, a core team with a broad variety of different skill sets and backgrounds drives a Design CoE. This team pushes the topics of design and design thinking to bring business, IT and end users at the same table to run all different kinds of projects with a design driven mindset. To scale the potential of, e.g. Design Thinking, this team also provides training for employees in all LoB. Of course this service varies from customer to customer.” In this specific case the idea was not just to bring the different product portfolios together but also to establish Design Thinking as a cultural mindset to drive innovation towards digital transformation. The merger will enable both companies to join forces and skills more effectively to become the leader in innovation in their industry.
A Common Understanding of the Future
In three hands-on Design Thinking workshops conducted at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg, a heterogenic group of participants consisting of managers and employees of both companies came together.
The first workshop in October 2016 focused on creating vision roadmaps in two separate working groups what itelligence wants to stand for in the market by 2022. However, in order to create a vision it was important to initially find out how itelligence and ITML currently do customer projects. Therefore, the workshop audience split up into an ITML and an itelligence group to work on their status quo end-2-end process to win and execute customer projects. And no surprise – the DCC team could uncover quite some differences here between the teams.
In a second step two mixed groups consisting now of ITML and itelligence employees were introduced to the “Remember the Future” creative exercise in order to create a future vision for their joint business. The two groups created two separate visions and roadmaps that were presented to each other in the plenum. Each roadmap listed the vision statement, overall goals, potential benefits, potential challenges and a concrete action plan how to reach the identified vision in chronological order.
After receiving an initial introduction to design-led innovation and Design Thinking the workshop group raised a couple of questions we agreed to tackle in the second workshop:
- What is the benefit of design, creativity and innovation?
- How to effectively train and enable Consulting and Development teams with design skills? What are the change management best practices to do this?
- If you have to establish a Design Core Team within your company, how can you possibly motivate people to work together as one Design Core team?
The creative way of working in the SAP AppHaus fits perfectly with itelligence.– Stefan Eller (CEO, ITML)
The second workshop in November 2016 focused on applying design principles more heavily to the vision roadmaps to create new innovative ideas and in order to combine two vision roadmaps from the first workshop into ONE unified vision roadmap. The team worked intensively together and came up with one vision for the year 2022 to answer the question: How to come up with a competitive business and product strategy in the future led by design principles? One of the key activities in this vision roadmap was to establish a common design culture and mindset within the company – both at an employee and at a management level.
The format of the third workshop in December 2016 differed to the ones hosted before. It was decided to run the workshop in the plenum in order to jointly develop a more concrete action plan based on the unified vision roadmap from the second workshop. The action plan was broken down into four specific tasks. For each task the project team asked the participants in the room to name a particular owner and define delivery timelines. In addition, the workshop participants got an introduction to different design tools like BUILD or the 3D storyboarding kit “Scenes”.
Design Thinking as the Methodology for the Merge
The outcome of the three workshops was just a first step into the right direction. Creating a Design Center of Excellence and implementing Design Thinking into a company takes time. Nevertheless, itelligence is already on the right path to a more design-driven approach of understanding and helping customers. “We are lucky to have found such a dedicated customer. I have hardly felt such a real interest at any customer. Therefore, I am convinced that we will be able to do some very exciting projects with this customer next year.” (Dirk Ziegeler, Project Lead, SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center)
As a next step, a follow-up workshop with SAP’s DCC on the value of design and how to measure the effect will take place in 2017. The collaboration showed the value of a design-driven approach as a new way of working as well as created a common understanding and vision how ITML and itelligence can run their business successfully in the future. Also Markus Böhme (Head of Custom Development, itelligence) looks with optimism towards the future: “Thanks to the great SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center team we are entering the new business year with forward-looking ideas!”
The design thinking methods help us not only to align our own products and solutions to the customer's needs, but also to enable ourselves to develop an innovative and future-oriented customer portfolio. We are so much better able to help our customers build their own innovative portfolio for the future. In this way, our experience with design thinking methods helps our customers to improve and strengthen their competitive position.– Kirsten Bruns (itelligence, Vice President Product & Solution Development Germany)
The methodology used was a great help to illuminate all aspects of a common strategy.– Christian Lindner (Mobility Team, itelligence)