Bimodal IT for better digital performance

Experience No.: 71
Digitalisation is the new core competence of today. In this regard, companies are dealing with various uncertainties on a daily basis, be it uncertain environments, projects, investment decisions or uncertainty within technology. Behind the technology, there are still humans dealing with the challenges. The market is asking companies for innovative scenarios and if they are not on track, they lose out to the competitors who are already riding the wave. Business is developing ever faster, but on the other hand, we have standard processes, teams, the usual waterfall delivery and IT release...

Innovation: From Idea to Realisation

Experience No.: 70
Those who are not innovative lose out to the competition. The waves of innovation are approaching us with increased speed and magnitude. Today we bare witness to the emergence of new business models, products and services. Many companies are concerned due to the multitude of new technologies and the increasing likelihood of a disruptive business model entering the market. Establishing innovative approaches breaking up existing working processes can help to overcome this uncertainty. Innovation means creating ideas, selecting those with value-adding potential from the pool and realising...

Intercultural Collaboration

Experience No.: 69
Companies are capturing new markets. They are expanding, establishing branches, recruiting employees on-site and acquiring international customers. It is beneficial for the geographical and cultural mix of internal and external stakeholders to be proactively managed. This requires knowledge of the factors for success such as how to shape and promote multicultural collaboration. If a company recognises the challenges of knowledge transfer, communication and project management, the expected benefit can be better assessed and realised. One of the key factors for success in dealing with...

From the supplier to the partner

Experience No.: 68
More and more frequently, companies are turning away from pure resource procurement. They do appreciate being able to consult individuals for projects and still maintain their normal working methods. The big disadvantage, however, is that they also have the administrative costs and cannot hand over responsibility to their supplier. Ultimately, they benefit «only» from the expertise of the selected specialist; they miss out on the entire know-how that the supplier also has. Hence, there is an increasing demand for new models in order to convert a pure customer-supplier relationship into a...

Reaching new heights with the Internet of Things

Experience No.: 67
The Internet of Things spans every industry. A whole variety of application scenarios open up when you link « smart » objects to share data. Our fascination with this new trend makes it easy to overlook the following issues: How can you make money with the Internet of Things? What new business models do you need? And how can this be achieved in an efficient, customer-centric and successful way? In this issue of Experience, we will concentrate on a few aspects that could be crucial to the success or failure of IoT projects. Networked systems bring added value if they create greater...

Digital Natives - The customers of tomorrow

Experience No.: 66
Companies are currently grappling with two parallel trends: With the introduction of technology such as the cloud and big data, as well as digitisation more generally, an increasing number of  processes are moving into the virtual world. At the same time, people — both as customers and as employees — want a new means of communicating, connecting and collaborating: one that is personal, needs-based and tailored to the individual. A third trend is the increasing speed at which new business models are emerging and established models are being challenged. In order to succeed...

Evolving a competitive edge

Experience No.: 65
The digital transformation of the economy and society requires companies to raise their tempo. Thus, innovation, both from the outside and from within becomes the motto: doing so means meeting the needs of customers in a timely manner. This means that the processes and technologies within a company should be constantly optimised to remain innovative and competitive. With this in mind, the value chain should be put under a microscope on a regular basis: Which links in the chain are strong and viable enough for future success? What do I have to do to be better, faster or more productive? And...

Boosting Innovation

Experience No.: 64
«Faster, better, smarter» – Innovation management is just like high-performance sports. In the same way an Olympian gets fit for competition by avoiding setbacks and by being proactive, companies also need to be well-prepared for their next innovation. Also, just as an athlete must trust his/her trainer to guide them to their peak performance; companies can rely on partners to cover their backs. In this way they are free to concentrate on their core competencies and on strength- ening their innovative power. The first two articles in the current edition of EXPERIENCE are dedicated to the...

Success Factors for International Software Projects

Experience No.: 63
On one hand, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in Germany and Switzerland, and on the other hand, there are projects that involve multiple companies and frequently cross-national boundaries; software development has long since adopted international and intercultural dimensions. Correctly deploying onsite, nearshore and offshore resources and ensuring quality is a challenge with increasing complexity, but one that also offers significant potential. Customers must at all times be able to rely on the fact that a technology consultancy applies the...

From a Vision to Best Practice

Experience No.: 62
In October, ERNI celebrates its 20th anniversary; two decades at the service of «Swiss Engineering», helping our customers to achieve lasting success. The significance of software engineering as a key driver for digital transformation and continuous innovation has increased steadily over these twenty years. As an independent international consulting firm, ERNI focuses on the software disciplines of requirements management, software development, testing, project management and process improvement, and has continued to develop these disciplines, supplement them with new methods and incorporate...

Develop Innovative Software - But How?

Experience No.: 61
Software development is a creative process, comparable perhaps with the publication of a compendium: It requires an idea and content, work techniques, appropriate knowledge and the experts to compose the various chapters. The editor is responsible for ensuring coherence, but otherwise the individual authors should be given as much freedom as possible. But how, in the midst of predefined processes and methods, does a software development department foster more creativity that can be released on the market as innovation? Answer: by providing incentives throughout the entire development process...

Duty and Choice in Cooperation

Experience No.: 60
This issue of EXPERIENCE looks at how customers can transfer greater responsibility to their suppliers and the benefits this may bring. If a company brings in external support, it has to decide how much responsibility and risk it is willing to assume in terms of the cost and quality of the services being purchased. If a supplier provides only human resources, it is the customer's responsibility to decide how they are used and the level of scaling flexibility is extremely restricted. Consequently, the thought of being dependent on external resources makes many customers uneasy. We use specific...

Faster, Better, More Profitable

Experience No.: 59
The fine art of being effective and efficient. Businesses in all sectors are under pressure, with managers or shareholders all demanding the same thing: You need to be faster, better and more profitable. That's why, in this issue of Experience, we want to highlight various aspects of software engineering that contribute to achieving this goal. The first article answers the question «what type of organisation is the most effective?», while also illustrating how the correct use of agile methods can increase effectiveness within organisations. Article two...

Tapping Innovation Potential

Experience No.: 58
Innovation requires creativity and freedom based on a systematic course of action, appropriate methodology and technological leadership. Today, products and services are available around the clock and mobility continues to grow. As a result, customers are constantly tempted to change providers at the click of a mouse. For this reason, almost all companies, regardless of industry or business model, face two major challenges. First, they need to sufficiently innovative to stand out in their core business. Second, they must secure customer loyalty, as this is up to seven times more cost-...

Seeking the right kind of solution

Experience No.: 57
A lack of resources or know-how - the typical motivation for seeking external help - can come in many diverse forms, just like the many ways in which support can be provided. Possibilities range from the purchase of a complete solution to engagement of an external service provider at the customer's site or training of employees. Choosing the service type has an impact on success or failure that is just as critical as choosing the strategic partner. A good solution provider will have experience with the various service types and be able to give advice as to the type of support that is most...

The power of collaboration

Experience No.: 56
The half-life of products, the recovery and consolidation periods, the innovation cycles: in all sectors of the economy, these phases continue to become ever shorter. Accompanying this acceleration is a growing need for stable,strategic partnerships. For providers that you can rely on. For consultants with precise knowledge of the specific circumstances in companies and their environment and who can provide a correspondingly valuable contribution to mutual success.

Nearshoring and offshoring - agile and systematic

Experience No.: 55
Nearshoring and offshoring are powerful tools for actively addressing the continuously increasing pressures of efficiency and innovation. Well-thought-out outsourcing to Eastern Europe or Asia not only saves money and boosts flexibility, but can also significantly improve processes and product quality.

Know-how sourcing: It's the mix that matters!

Experience No.: 54
Methods and technologies are changing at an ever higher pace. In parallel, technical and organisational complexity is also increasing. The upshot for businesses is that they must invest ever larger sums in further training, while the half life of what has been learnt shrinks simultaneously. This growing imbalance can be reduced by a well thought-out mixture of internal skills development and the targeted inclusion of external know-how.

Simply better

Experience No.: 53
Although the complexity of development projects continues to increase, amazingly simple tools, methods and procedures are still adequate in many cases to achieve the desired results. The field reports in this issue of ERNI Experience clearly demonstrate this fact.

Take your time

Experience No.: 52
The systematic collection, analysis and documenting of requirements involves expenses. However, the time spent for requirements engineering is a good investment. The clear and comprehensive requirements guarantee that in software projects what has been delivered by the IT is what the business has ordered. Companies, which are good at this discipline, do not need any costly post-processing and their products reach faster the market. The time invested at the beginning is saved again multiple times. The already good investment/earnings ratio becomes continuously more attractive. The growing...

Four ways to smooth out scarcity of resources

Experience No.: 51
With a short time to market, Western European companies distinguish themselves on world markets. But it is becoming more and more difficult to realise the goal of being the first to launch innovative products on the market. The lack of expert staff and constantly increasing cost pressures present unfavourable basic conditions.

Custom-made Nearshoring

Experience No.: 50
The advantages of outsourcing development expenses to Eastern Europe are always the same: reasonable costs and available, highly qualified staff. But it depends on each project how Nearshoring needs to be adapted to use its advantages. Therefore, we would like to introduce totally different examples with this ERNI Experience at hand to show the optimum proceedings when outsourcing.

Sustainable Bridges Between Interfaces

Experience No.: 49
Interplay within requirements groups is decisive for success of projects in a large extent. Almost everyone has already experienced a situation when a project became uncontrollable because its organisation was stumbling. An ideal way to learn what methodical, organisational and personal bridges can be defeated to make interfaces become productive connection points, are successful examples from practice. Decisive for the sustainability of the bridges among organisational interfaces are the people involved. Along with the necessary know how, they have to have brilliant social...

Collaboration makes the difference

Experience No.: 48
Competition is fierce today in every business sector. Companies that enjoy enduring success are correspondingly fit. In a field with strong competitors, standing out from the other suppliers is no easy task. And yet one area still offers such an opportunity today: the improvement of collaboration between employees. It leads to a sustained competitive edge, in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. In this ERNI Experience, we show you the experiences, methods and tools you can use to good effect in your organisation in order to step up collaboration, thereby bringing about a sustained...

Agility as a formula for success

Experience No.: 47
Shorter time-to-market, better quality, greater flexibility and a more motivated workforce – these are the benefits of agile product development methods. It is hardly surprising that ever more companies are utilising Scrum or similar models. The concept of agility is not only useful in product development, however. Agile organisations also possess substantial advantages. Moreover, products can comply with the fundamental ideas of agility as well, provided they exhibit no more complexity than absolutely necessary and are therefore simple to maintain and develop. In this ERNI Experience, we use...

Long-term savings without an impact on performance

Experience No.: 46
In the light of the current economic situation, the pressure to make savings and cut costs is remorseless. In this context, cost reductions are not simply a calculation exercise, but a management task. They entail a long-term perspective and intensive communication with the workforce. What is now important is to harness the strengths to implement what needs to be done, in other words to act effectively. Subject to these conditions, it is possible to realise savings that do not impact on the quality of the services while ensuring that the employees continue to go about their work in a...

Taking cost pressure as an opportunity

Experience No.: 45
Cost reduction measures are seldom initiated in good times. And even if they are, they are not generally implemented with the utmost consistency. Yet consistency and pressure are called for if the measures are to bring about truly significant and lasting savings. By now, every employee is probably aware that only streamlined organisations, adapted to external influences, have a future. It is therefore a favourable moment to slim down corporate costs and realise those measures that will ensure a sustained competitive advantage. In this ERNI Experience you will learn how insurance companies...

Rising cost awareness

Experience No.: 44
As the business cycle is drawing to an end, it is increasingly important to pay careful attention to cost management. Of course, this does not mean that expenditures must be cut to the bone – good ideas should definitely not be stifled and quality must not suffer. Instead, it is critical to ensure that investments are specifically made in areas where cost savings can be generated quickly while maintaining the same level of quality. The focus here is on the anticipated benefit and ROI calculation. The articles in this issue of ERNI Experience demonstrate how you can achieve a major boost in...

Practical report

Experience No.: 43
Companies today have no shortage of clear-cut ideas as to how IT should work: business-driven, efficient, with manageable processes and high quality in the finished products. These objectives are absolutely achievable. There are many tools and methods that can shorten the path required to get there. In real-world practice, however, change is never a trivial matter. What is important is to employ the right methods along with systematic management of soft factors. In this ERNI Experience, we will show you how you can come closer to your ideals in the real world. Requirements engineering is...

Pragmatism pays off

Experience No.: 42
There are situations where organisations need a dramatic change in order to develop further. In many cases, however, it is also possible to significantly progress in the direction of greater efficiency and effectiveness by simply tapping into existing potential in a consistent, pragmatic manner. This issue of ERNI Experience presents a number of relevant options in diverse fields of endeavour. Customer relationship management is one typical area where such potential for optimisation exists. Every organisation has a large quantity of customer data. Using the right analysis techniques, these...

From knowledge to action

Experience No.: 40
Improving the development process has never been as easy as it is today. The reason is that the theoretical knowledge on the ideal approach is becoming ever more sophisticated. This represents a great opportunity for organisations that want to cut costs and boost quality. Turning theory into practice, however, demands not only the close attention of the management, but also the right approach if process improvement projects are to be completed successfully and with the optimum cost/income ratio. The articles in the current ERNI Experience show how improvements help you generate optimum...

Gaining stakeholder support

Experience No.: 39
Knowledge has become the fuel of the economy. Accordingly, the know-how accumulated today by personnel both in companies and in public administration is substantial. This includes not only technical expertise but also knowledge of processes or customer needs. The most successful projects are therefore those in which the persons concerned bring their entire know-how to bear. As a prerequisite, their enthusiasm for the project must be ensured. If the stakeholders can be convinced, however, and the project brought to an optimum conclusion, the stakeholders themselves will also ultimately be...

Mastering complexity

Experience No.: 38
Nowadays new products and services must satisfy many criteria, including the demands of the relevant market and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, the factors that must be considered during development are not only more numerous, but are also changing at an accelerating rate. This is particularly true with regard to technology. A growing number of parameters and accelerated change give rise to increasing complexity. The articles in this issue of ERNI Experience describe ways to master this challenge based on our experience. In the industry, development of equipment or software on its own...

Continual Optimisation

Experience No.: 37
In this issue, we devote our attention to several highly varied topics from successful ERNI projects. They all share the same objective: successfully fashioning the future of your enterprise by optimum use of existing tools and best practices. CRM is presently the standard for customer management in many organisations. But are you exploiting the full potential of your customers with CRM? CRM performance management gives you a clear indication of how successful your customer management activities are and thus enables you to set the right course for the future. Using ITIL helps you...

Closer to the customer

Experience No.: 36
Life is change - and that's true in business as well. Particularly with regard to managing customer relationships and customer value at the strategic level, constant openness to change is very important, especially in liberalized markets. It certainly won't tarnish the halo of any manager if he or she occasionally takes time to ponder whether the principles on the corporate home page are actually put into practice in everyday business activities. Here we present a set of processes that can provide answers to these questions, such as analysing how customers see your organization and...

Improving the maturity level

Experience No.: 35
The principal focus of this issue is improving the maturity level of organisations, such as technical, marketing, or IT organisations. An important topic in the technical department is requirements management: the process in front of the development process. The results of a benchmark study performed by ERNI show how much improvement potential is still available in this area in the financial industry. We investigate the question of how promising business ideas are selected and implemented in projects. In companies active in the international marketplace, the quality of the cooperation...

Fulfilling requirements

Experience No.: 34
This issue is dedicated to software testing. Unfortunately, developers all too often understand testing to mean finding errors in programs. They do not give testing the attention or time it actually deserves. However, responsible decision makers recognise the value of properly functioning software. Software testing has thus developed into an engineering discipline. Contemporary experts understand software testing to mean checking the actual behaviour of products against defined requirements, finding and correcting errors, and controlling the quality of the written software.