January 29, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
As technology consultants, it is always exciting to help clients on their digital innovation journey. These types of projects are doubly rewarding to work on because of their intended outcome—to deliver an innovative product, offering, or service—and because they generally involve the adoption of modern architectures and technology stacks. Levvel has helped many clients on their digital innovation and transformation initiatives, some that required large scale effort to build whole new platforms, and others that took a more progressive approach that involved a gradual build-out towards the target state.
Regardless of the size and scope of the effort, from a technology perspective, there are three areas of focus to ensure the success of digital innovation projects: a platform that facilitates rapid ideation, a fully engaged development team, and a supportive enterprise architecture. Innovation projects must embrace a fail-fast approach that allows for experimentation to determine if an idea is worth pursuing. A willingness to pivot when something is not working must be baked into the DNA of the team.
At a recent engagement with a midwestern bank, we frequently encountered the need to change direction because vendors that the bank depended on were not willing to move fast enough. A technology stack, both development and runtime, that does not facilitate this type of approach can weigh down on the project. Choosing a suitable cloud platform and implementing a robust DevOps toolchain is critical to success.
A second contributing factor to the success of such projects is having the right mix of skills—or, more importantly, the right mix of people. The team must include those who have experience with similar projects and others who have demonstrated willingness to learn and adapt to new skills. Prior experience, both success and failure, is immensely valuable as long as it does not come with a reluctance to do things differently if needed. Innovation projects can also be frustrating to those who are expecting a more traditional well-defined and structured approach, but this can be overcome with the right partner and good communication.
The third area is enterprise architecture and information security. Many of our clients have some form of such organizations that are responsible for technology governance. Innovative projects can easily succumb to the rigidity of established policies and procedures. In our experience with clients, an executive mandate is often required to ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the project’s goals.
Innovation projects do not have to be the equivalent of the wild wild west but can benefit from the right degree of oversight combined with flexibility. When all these factors are appropriately handled, everyone learns, and together we build a better world.
Principal Architecture Consultant
Interim Engineering Capability Lead
Sonny Werghis is a Principal Architecture Consultant at Levvel where he advises clients on Payment technology. Previously, Sonny worked at IBM as a Product Manager and a Solution Architect focused on Cloud and Cognitive technology where he developed AI and Machine Learning-based business solutions for customers in various industries, including Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation. Sonny is an Open Group Master Certified IT Architect and a certified Enterprise Architect.
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