Big Bang? or Bang for Buck

If you hold the budget for technology, you must be weary of the phrase ‘Digital Transformation’. It is the default headline for every conference, article and project description. It means so many different things to so many people that it has lost meaning. Large organisations are often under the most pressure to ‘transform’. Ironically, they are most likely to struggle to transform as they will be carrying the weight of technology debt.

Many transformation plans ignore the realities that budget owners face. A Big Bang replacement of systems and processes is risky and expensive – Forbes estimate that up to 84% of Digital Transformation projects for large enterprises flat-out fail. At the other end of the scale, tinkering with shallow changes can waste time and effort. The world is littered with mobile apps that are pretty, but unused.

Working with clients in diverse sectors, we have found consistently that there is a third approach that delivers real change, without the drama and risk. New technologies, smartly applied can enhance and extend legacy systems and build a bridge to the future.

We call it Digital Evolution. 

Let’s look at some real-life lessons from leading Irish companies.

Forbes estimate that up to 84% of Digital Transformation projects for large enterprises flat-out fail.

An Post – Ad Mailer

In this internet age, the postal service is frequently written off as outdated. Not only has traditional personal post been reducing, there has also been a switch in focus to on-line digital marketing at the expense of postal marketing.

In this challenging environment, An Post spotted an opportunity. 

Consumers are so saturated with on-line digital marketing, that getting physical material into their hands can have a higher impact now. In addition, trying to compete for attention on-line is more and more expensive – anyone running a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising budget knows that. What if businesses could micro-target segments in their homes? What if it was affordable even for small businesses and as easy to set-up as an on-line campaign?

This is where smart digital evolution comes in. 

An Post has unsurpassed information on physical addresses and recipients, matched with a delivery capability that can be literally on your door-step every day.  The challenge was getting a range of legacy back-end systems to feed into a modern consumer-facing experience.

TEKenable worked with An Post to integrate disparate back-end systems, expose the wealth of data and make it available to a new, secure, user-friendly front-end. Importantly, this did not interrupt normal operations or necessitate a ‘rip and replace’. It did build an accessible platform for An Post to exploit in the future.

We engaged TEKenable … From the outset the working process was  clear, milestones were efficiently delivered and their people showed clear understanding and passion about building the right solution …

Fiona Heffernan – An Post – Commercial Director 

The solution is the Ad-mailer portal that allows businesses to design, configure and launch postal campaigns to highly targeted segments at a very reasonable cost.

An Post - geogrphical segment

It leverages An Post logistics, geographical data and reliability, by layering smart API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) over existing systems. It is a huge success for An Post and their clients and a testament to the digital evolution approach.

The new Ad Mailer platform for An Post has been a huge success, so much so that there has been significant international interest in licensing the platform from An Post

Ad Mailer – An Post

For information on our off-shoot service with An Post called ‘Publicity Post’ see here

TAKEAWAYS

Our strategy for clients is, where appropriate, to get more business value out of legacy systems while building a new, more flexible architecture in practical steps. 

Modern low-code/no-code frameworks are ideally suited to this. See how a financial services company used digital evolution to have a dramatic impact on throughput and customer experience, here

This article was written and published by Ger O’Shaughnessy – Client Director at TEKenable.

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