Many midsize companies face challenges stemming from growth, organic or via merger, that stress their IT systems, operations and personnel. And while any number of consultants offer their mid-tier clients solutions to data and software problems, one Florida company discovered it needed something only OZ Digital Consulting could deliver: a comprehensive digital transformation built from the ground up, from strategy to execution.
In this case, OZ developed a strategic plan to help its client integrate or replace its antiquated legacy systems with modern upgrades, build scalability and flexibility into IT to ensure the client could meet changing business needs and regulations, increase operational efficiencies and even help upskill its employees. Because digital transformation encompasses the entire operation, so did OZ’s plan. It identified areas in need of improvement and addressed tricky issues including cybersecurity, objective measurements and staffing so the company could increase the speed to market of its products while also offering clients better quality and lower costs.
Leveraging its time-tested design-thinking approach, OZ first developed a 16-month roadmap of projects to help the client modernize and optimize its business. It then created a list of resources and tools required to drive that road map, complete with a list of potential speed bumps to be avoided. The eventual eight strategic initiatives focused on modernization and optimization, with a return on investment (ROI) and value benefit assigned to each one. The OZ team also worked to find quick wins and execute them immediately.
The company wanted to modernize and optimize its processes, IT architecture and product development, and get more return on their IT investment. It also needed help prioritizing the various initiatives to drive maximum value and speed to market. Specifically, its user experience (UX) needed modernizing while its data de-identification, automated regression testing and ingestion and app monitoring all required optimization. The company’s portfolio management, data ingestion, data services. and service-oriented architecture (SOA) needed both modernization and optimization. The company also wanted to implement robotic process automation (RPA) to replace manual repetitive processes.
OZ’s plan, developed with design thinking, beat out a number of significantly larger consulting companies for the job. The OZ team realized that an out-of-the-box solution wouldn’t work. Instead, the client needed a highly customized set of initiatives — ones that wouldn’t break the bank. OZ started by spending time learning about the business from top to bottom — before ever submitting a proposal. “It would have been impossible to create the detailed road map they needed without fully understanding how they worked, how processes were falling behind and how the business was failing to meet expectations,” said Murray Izenwasser, OZ’s vice president of consulting and design thinking.
Once the objectives were identified, OZ held a collaborative workshop with the company’s own steering committee to shape its strategic road map. Together they investigated how to get the maximum ROI from each initiative, evaluated the ease of implementing them and projected the transformational impact each would have on the organization. OZ worked closely with the client and continued to meet with the steering committee throughout the project.
How OZ helped
1) Using a combination of company-wide surveys and one-on-one interviews with executives, management and employees, OZ conducted a complete organizational UX assessment. This led to the creation of a modern UX function for the organization. The new UX increased the client’s competitive advantage and sales, as well as increasing customer satisfaction and retention. At the same time, the new UX decreased customer-generated bugs, required training and call-center costs, for an ROI of 629%.
2) Using Informatica Test Data Manager and Informatica PowerCenter, OZ developed a process for the client to de-identify 100 TB of protected health information (PHI) so it could use that data in development and test environments and still maintain referential integrity. In doing so, OZ limited access to PHI by internal and external resources, reducing the client’s risk of a data breach and increasing its HIPAA compliance. De-identifying the PHI also allowed the client to use a lower-cost mix of nearshore and onshore development resources. Overall, this initiative is projected to have a 584% ROI.
3) OZ expanded automated quality assurance coverage to include regression testing using Robot framework and Selenium libraries. This led to gains in testing efficiencies and reductions in overall defects while also reducing manual regression testing time. It allowed the client to run a full regression test prior to every release, strengthening its overall functionality and reliability. These enhancements improved customer satisfaction, reduced call volume for performance support and other teams and offered a 75% ROI.
4) For ingestion and app monitoring, the OZ team helped the client install log aggregation tools New Relic and Securonix and created a centralized dashboard to monitor data ingestion processes and daily 100 GB application logs. OZ added new logging to existing processes using a comprehensive logging framework with verbosity control. This proactive monitoring improved customer satisfaction because many issues now can be identified and resolved before the customer even notices. Internal problems also are discovered faster, so there are fewer support requests and easier root cause analyses. This had an ROI of 213%.
5) OZ used Portfolio for Jira to create a new portfolio management process to create an enterprise view of what work is being done, by whom and when. It allows executive management to see the impact of adding new projects or changing the priority of existing ones. This established a prioritization process for projects and requests and created measurable quality and performance objectives. It reduced shifting priorities and context switching, thereby improving productivity, predictability and measurement, while also improving overall quality. It also led to better accountability and improved employee morale, and had a 288% ROI.
6) OZ replaced obsolete data ingestion technologies with a new suite of Informatica processes, including Informatica Power Center, Informatica B2B Data Exchange, Informatica Test Data Manager and Informatica Data Quality. OZ then configured the ingestion process for all new clients going forward to improve speed and efficiency. This initiative eliminated the need for custom code, reduced risk and increased data throughput. In part by reducing staffing costs, it had an ROI of 31%.
7) Using Informatica PowerCenter and UiPath RPA tool, OZ developed a process to automate data service configurations from staging to production. OZ used RPA to automate previously manual checklists. This improved accuracy and resulted in a shorter time to market. It also reduced costs and had an ROI of 383%.
8) Finally, OZ replaced the existing two-tier architecture with a service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework, increasing scalability and maintainability. It also gave the client the ability to add new features and perform quality testing. It improved quality and performance, allowed for easier and better testability, sped up development and improved development staff retention.
This highly detailed, strategic road map created using OZ’s expert design thinking and suites of state-of-the-art tools allowed the client to pinpoint exactly where it was, where it wanted to be and, most importantly, how to get there. “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this project,” said Izenwasser. “Working collaboratively with the client, we were able to solve their legacy issues, modernize their processes and procedures and position them for continued growth.”
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