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How is Ness different in its Approach to Digital Platform Engineering

Digital Platform Engineering

How is Ness different? We often face this question as people asking this question have already experienced a wide range of IT services or technology partners and want to ascertain where we fit in this spectrum.

Here are some reasons why our clients say we are different.

Many companies carry out their internal initiatives to define the technology solution they believe is needed to address a business requirement, often resulting in a series of use cases or functional specifications.

Suppose they decide not to build the solution themselves (for time, cost, or lack of relevant skills). In that case, they usually run a competitive tender to select an implementation partner to build what they have defined.

Not only does this process of defining a solution and then deciding how to build it consume precious time from the internal participants, but it also results in a requirement definition limited by their inward perception of the local problem statement.

This also impacts the likelihood of the solution enabling “innovation.”

Every company board is looking for this, and companies often try to “make it happen” during the implementation phase of each initiative.

Still, Ness sees most real innovation during the problem definition and business solution Envisioning stage.

Companies suffering from a lack of innovation (impacting their market share and revenues) often look to their technology implementation partners to generate this innovation – without realizing that they have probably constrained any innovative thinking by how they have defined the requirements.

Innovation is like Quality; you can’t just add it at the end.

Ness is different because it always starts by fully understanding the problem statement – even if brought in at the implementation stage.

Ness collaborates with all stakeholders across a business to define (or review and assess and frequently challenge) the problem statement holistically.

The Ness-Client partnership captures every aspect of the problem definition from an outside-in perspective that imports best practice learnings from experiences with other companies (often in other industries) and proven techniques for exposing latent needs, which can help identify innovation gaps and opportunities.

Ness always conceptualizes an overall solution in terms of a software platform with product-like attributes: it will be designed to have longevity and naturally evolve through subsequent releases.

Ness helps rapidly Envision a solution to the problem statement to give participant stakeholders an early version of what “this digital platform strategy could feel like.”

By constantly validating possibilities using prototyping techniques to de-risk subsequent implementation, Ness ensures the solution defined has the best chance of success and sets expectations with all stakeholders regarding the optimum platform to be implemented.

Ness also identifies what key data to collect once the platform is operational that will inform the subsequent platform roadmap.

Ness leads these Discovery and Envision activities, resulting in far less time being lost by senior stakeholders than if they tried to manage this process themselves. It also helps mitigate the limitations of inward thinking.

Once Envisioning is complete, a company could tender the implementation work out; however, by then, Ness is routinely trusted to continue and use all the aggregated knowledge to deliver an optimal solution.

Key team members from the problem definition stage continue to influence and direct the work during platform implementation to ensure that the user experience and functional capabilities agreed upon during Envisioning persist through to implementation and work how they are supposed to.

While Ness can use any development methodology to implement the digital platform envisaged, it usually employs an agile scrum approach.

This ensures that new capabilities and functionality are released in satisfyingly short cycles with maximum transparency, with each new cycle delivering the highest priority business and customer value.

It also enables Ness to be highly flexible as needs change. Customers love this focus and clarity.

To support this overall method of working, Ness has some specific organizational expertise it brings to bear:

  • Ness has innovation and design thinkers that provide ideation and customer experience engineering to help ensure that platform requirements have been fully captured in Discovery, to consider new ways of doing things, to define the solution UX during Envisioning usually at the wireframes level, and to instantiate UX capabilities and considerations during implementation.
  • Ness has a CTO Office and many CTO associates, each with technical expertise in a specialist area that can be leveraged to define a new platform. They are an excellent source of additional insight and forward-thinking. A Ness client benefits from the collective technical expertise held within Ness at critical junctures during platform definition, to ensure that the latest technologies are accessed appropriately to deliver best-in-class platforms.

Together these two organizational capabilities ensure that the platform definition and subsequent implementation deliver an overall solution that looks and feels great and works well while still being efficient in implementing technically and within budgeted costs.

This avoids the typical expectations/cost gap between what a design agency would conceptualize and what an IT services firm would be able to build.

In this era of the digital economy, users and customers won’t put up with new capabilities that don’t work the way they want them to, and companies can no longer afford to get it wrong and start again.

The approach that Ness uses ensures that the right platform has been defined and implemented correctly.