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How product-centric working will transform business agility

Kaushik De Go to Market Leader, Application and Cloud Technologies, Capgemini North America

The current health crisis has upended business plans and had a profound effect on project timelines and priorities. Initiatives were immediately altered or put on hold to accommodate massive economic change.

One of the biggest shifts in priorities was the need to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to provide the flexibility and agility required in today's business environment, according to a Gartner survey. To support this change, enterprises knew that a versatile approach to team collaboration and workflow would be key. Fortunately, the increasing uptake of cloud and emerging technologies made it possible to move quickly and effectively to respond to disruptions and to rapidly changing customer needs.

On the other hand, ineffective team structures held many organizations back; silos between business and IT have inhibited agility, and the separation between application development and maintenance teams created inefficiencies. Enter product-centric models. As we move further into 2021, there are several ways to unlock unprecedented agility with a new approach to application development and maintenance. 

In this method, one team oversees and runs every aspect of software delivery: application development, maintenance, break-fix, updates and innovations, and logistics. Product-centric models can be high-touch, if the team resides at the same physical location, or low-touch, if the team is based off-site. 

Here's what your software team needs to know about product-centric working models.

New model thrives in the new normal

Product-centric working models offer a different method of productivity that thrives on innovation and diligent process. In an ideal transformation scenario, business and IT teams seamlessly work together to quickly deploy features and enhancements for clients.

To succeed in today's fast-paced, ever-evolving digital economy, organizations need to bridge the divide and bring both teams together in a product-centric approach. It is an all-encompassing responsibility that allows for total dedication, unprecedented agility, and streamlined processes.

The pandemic has accelerated this shift toward a new way of working and collaborating. It is quickly gaining adoption within IT. With leadership buy-in, the benefits of product-centric models could even encompass other business functions.

Nimble response

In today's rapid-fire world of digital transformation, product-centric teams can efficiently and effectively tackle business issues with skill and speed—and roll out new products and experiences in a shortened amount of time. And by stepping away from the more traditional IT delivery models, organizations can react to the market more quickly, something that's more imperative now than ever.

Cost savings

One of the main benefits of these working models is their ability to drive efficiency, and, as a result, savings. This is thanks to product-oriented modes of development, automation, the elimination of time-consuming handoffs between application development and application management teams, and the presence of a designated product owner who manages backlogs and prioritizes critical work.

Because of this, teams can optimize total cost of ownership efficiency by 30% to 35%. Additionally, it cuts the costs associated with shadow IT, which arises when IT isn't able to deliver the level of speed and agility required.

A more educated workforce

Software development is going through a transformation. It used to be hyper-specialized, but now it's evolving into a well-rounded experience with support from front-end and back-end developers or SDETs (software development engineer in test). With these models, each team has a business representative and a full stack of developers.

If organizations make the investment in training to expand skill sets, the result is stronger talent retention and a highly educated team that sees the value in every step of the process.

Stronger business alignment

While this way of thinking inherently inspires autonomy, it also creates an effective team structure that can handle change at an impressive rate. The value in agility-driven development lies in its synchronization between business and IT teams. This structure creates a continuous feedback loop, allowing both sides to complement the other's efforts and generate the agility and speed that make DevOps successful.

The future of IT is product-centricity

Looking at the market over the next two to four years, it’s clear it is trending toward a product-centric-driven culture. To get to that point, a lot of new features are being introduced around IoT, augmented reality, and 5G, among others.

Interestingly, when you look closely at these new working models, there's no infrastructure or application; it's all built on the platform. In this “POD,” or product-oriented delivery model, individuals work as a single cross-functional team, collaborating with all aspects of development and maintenance for optimal outcomes. This approach can drive speed to market thanks to its efficiency in product development, agility, and long-term resiliency, and championing new technology.

Companies that embrace product-centric models will be able to take advantage of new solution or product features more quickly. Though every company will have a different starting point, all will benefit when agility becomes ingrained into the DNA of the business.

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Read more articles about: Enterprise ITDigital Transformation