Author Archives : Magnus Särnevång

Fredrik Cederquist konsult

Fredrik Cederquist konsult
Date : 3 maj, 2018

Denna vecka börjar Fredrik Cederquist som BI-konsult på vårt Stockholmskontor. Fredriks BI-resa startade i början av tiotalet och har pågått sedan dess. Cognos-sviten har varit hans hemmaplan och då främst TM1/Planning Analytics. Detta har lett till att finansiell planering är Fredriks melodi, men också att han har stor erfarenhet av budgetering och planering inom en rad olika branscher.

Fredriks främsta drivkraft är att hjälpa kunden hitta en gemensam linje från budget till utfall, för att fatta bättre beslut. De hänger faktiskt ihop, eller borde i alla fall göra det. De senaste åren har Fredrik arbetat främst som lösningsarkitekt och utvecklare i olika budget- och planeringsprojekt.

På fritiden är Fredrik en ölbryggande orienterare som ofta lyssnar på bortglömd musik tillsammans med familj och vänner. Om ni vill ha ett exempel på Fredriks favoritmusik kan han varmt rekommendera den finska artisten Frederiks fullständigt horribla tolkning av Kung Fu Fighting vid namn Kung Fu taistelee (finns på Sportify).

Varmt välkommen till oss Fredrik!


Bli redo för mikrotjänster

Date : 18 april, 2018

Jag var på plats på Øredev 2013 när Fred George höll sin nästan legendariska dragning Implementing Micro Service Architecture. Jag hade inte hört begreppet förut men skulle snart höra det överallt. Det tog inte långt tid för mikrotjänster att bli IT-världens nya silver bullet.

Vad innebär då mikrotjänster?

I korthet innebär det att man styckar upp ett systems logiska delar i tjänster som tillhandahåller sin funktionalitet genom ett API. Varje tjänst utvecklas, versioneras, lanseras och underhålls som separata applikationer.

Vad är då fördelarna med att skära elefanten i mindre bitar? Det är givetvis flera men några är att

  • En buggfix till produktkatalogen betyder inte att du måste lansera all kod på nytt. Du behöver bara uppdatera produktkatalogens kod.
  • Varje enskild tjänst kommer vara mindre komplex än vad den stora monoliten kommer vara.
  • Att göra varje del i monoliten till en tjänst, tvingar din kod till bättre design och tydligare gränssnitt.

Kort sagt, programmerare älskar det här, men det innebär också en hel del utmaningar.

  • Stark koppling mellan tjänsterna kan innebära att du ändå måste uppdatera samtliga tjänster varje gång du gör en ändring.
  • Det finns en frestelse att dela kod mellan tjänsterna, eller att dela definitioner som ”vad är en order”. Det är en farlig fälla att gå i.
  • Tjänster som anropar andra tjänster blir snabbt en pyramid av tillgänglighetsproblem, där en tjänst kan sänka hela systemet.

Vad kan man göra för att bli redo?

Man måste inse att allt jobb man idag gör för sin monolit måste gå att kvantifiera och automatisera för att man skall kunna hantera 20 – 50 – 100 mikrotjänster. Att sätta upp en ny miljö eller göra en ny deploy måste reduceras till ett par knapptryckningar. Detta går och göra tack vare ett antal tekniska landvinningar det senaste årtiondet

  • DevOps. Se till så att du minimerar avståndet mellan utveckling och produktion, så att kod ”flödar” ut i produktion och användningen återkopplar tillbaka med instrumentation. (Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Provisioning, Monitoring)
  • Testdriven utveckling hjälper till att kvalitetssäkra kod som inte har tid att sitta fast i UAT (user acceptance test) i 3 månader.
  • Dokumentation. Det duger inte att lansera 100 mikrotjänster utan att förklara hur de är tänkt att hänga ihop. Varje tjänst måste tydligt beskriva sitt syfte och sitt gränssnitt, och du måste ha koll på vilka tjänster som används.
  • Versionering. Du måste bli expert på att versionera tjänster, men också att ha koll på bakåtkompabilitet. Skall du lansera en ny tjänst för att du bryter kompabiliteten? hur länge skall du då supportera den gamla tjänsten?
  • Protokoll. Du kommer snabbt upptäcka att komplexiteten flyttar från de enskilda tjänsterna till kommunikationen och kompositionen av tjänster. Det kommer krävas urtydliga sätt att kommunicera med tjänster, men också för tjänster att kommunicera med varandra.

Det bästa tips jag har till dig som funderar på att ge dig i kast med mikrotjänster är att göra det med ett lagom mått av planering. Det går inte att skapa en massa tjänster och tro att de skall självorganisera sig. Då slutar det med att du sitter där med en ny slags monolit vars kodkomponenter kommunicerar över HTTP.


Everybody (?) is talking about Design thinking

Date : 14 april, 2018

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve come across the buzz words Design Thinking, Service Design and an increasing amount of variations of words containing the letters UX (User Experience) or CX (Customer Experience) more and more. And gratefully, the more I study it, the more I realise that design thinking fits very nicely with the tools and methodologies like business model canvas, value proposition canvas and Jobs-to-be-done that I already use on daily basis.

So what is Design thinking?

Design thinking is about understanding the needs of a customer, the behavior, the drivers and the context of where/when/how the customer tries to solve a job, and bringing that knowledge into a solution or product. Design thinking shifts the focus from a business-centric engineering solution (where we invent a product based on a number of assumptions and hope it will work for the customer), to a customer-centric solution based on exploration and understanding of the customer needs. The result being a much higher probability of actually delivering something that the customer will care strongly enough for, to hire/buy and use. Putting more effort in understanding the customer, will make you less dependant on luck for success.

Will focusing on design affect your business results?

In 2013 the Design Management Institute (DMI) decided to start measuring the difference in performance between design-focused companies and S&P over time to study whether investing in design brings value. For the third year in a row, as you can see in the graph below, the DVI-value shows that design-focused companies outperform S&P 500 by as much as 211%, good design drives shareholder value. Read here to learn more about the DVI.

Design Value Index 2005-2015

Whether you’re a CEO, a marketer, or a designer, here are three reasons why your company should invest in design thinking:

  • Improving your UX saves you money
    • A little up-front UX research can save you hundreds of engineering hours and thousands of dollars
    • Decreases the cost of customer support
  • Focusing on UX increases your revenue
    • Increases conversion rates
    • Improves customer retention and loyalty
  • Insisting on great UX drives competitive advantage and affects the bottom line. Just look at Dyson, Uber, Mint, Apple, IBM, and Intuit.

The empowered customer

My background is within marketing and sales, specifically within direct marketing and e-commerce to consumers, where successful business results always required delivering something the customer wanted/needed to be able to both get conversion and retention. The more I now work with B2B-companies, I realise that thinking about and focusing on the customer – or actually the end-user – is not done nearly enough. Bringing design thinking, and applying the methodologies surrounding it, to the B2B-world, could potentially have a huge impact on both new products and solutions as well as business models. But how do we get management to understand the value and need of it?

The empowered customer is slowly creating the shift within B2B as well, and with the growth of B2B e-commerce there will be an increasing understanding of other relevant KPI’s to measure – be it conversion, retention, shopping cart abandonment and so forth. It’s an easy area to apply design thinking and the results of optimising accordingly are visual and quick. This is one way of increasing the knowledge and importance of design and UX.

McKinsey is launching concept design sprints

Another sign of the increasing focus on design thinking, is when McKinsey and the likes are bringing the concept of design sprints to the market. McKinsey recently published an article on how concept design sprints could increase the customer experience innovation. It’s a concept based on how companies within 5 days can go through the steps of identifying a problem, coming up with a solution, prototyping and eventually, on the 5th day, testing it with real customers. An agile way of quickly testing out an idea and solution, learning from real customer feedback to be able to (with or without pivoting) launching a solution more likely to succeed. McKinsey is basing its concept on Google Venture’s design sprint concept, which in my opinion is brilliantly described in the Sprint book by Jake Knapp. McKinsey is thus not the first to bring it to the market, but the significance is that both the knowledge and the importance of design thinking is spread to much larger community, bringing credibility to the buzz word.

I look forward to participating in future design sprints and love the fact that it will be easier and easier to get our customers to understand and try out being more customer/end-user focused!


Basem Sallenman konsult inom Business Transformation

Basem Sallenman konsult inom Business Transformation
Date : 12 april, 2018
Denna vecka börjar Basem Sallenman som konsult inom vårt affärsområde Business Transformation. Basem är i grunden systemvetare och har jobbat med Business Intelligence i 12 år, senast som Teamchef för Analytics på Acando. Det har alltid funnits ett brinnande intresse för ny teknik, och han tycker det är spännande med disruptiva teknologier och delningsekonomi.
 
I konsultrollen jobbar Basem helst nära kunden under hela resan, och framhåller vikten av ett stort kundengagemang. Han försöker tänka stort och långsiktigt, och är därför en stor supporter av ‘Fail cake’ – magi skapas inte när man är rädd för att göra misstag.
 
Mindfulness utövas helst på snabb MC för att rensa huvudet och hitta fokus. Han har ofta nån bok som ska läsas men som mest ligger och dammar, det blir istället mycket serier och film för nedvarvning. Som sexåring fick Basem ett 8bit NES och blev frälst – där lades grunden för problemlösning och vikten av tålamod. Som tur är har sönerna tagit vid intresset så de spelar en hel del tillsammans – hur kul som helst! 
 
Varmt välkommen till oss Basem!

Are you solving a job your end-user cares strongly about?

Date : 9 april, 2018

If you are a traditional B2B-company, chances are you are getting most of your input for product development from your customers. And with customers, I mean distributors, partners, retailers and others to whom you sell your products, and who then distribute and sell them to your end-users. So how do you know if your products are solving a job the end-user cares strongly about? And are you positioning and explaining the value you deliver to them in a way that is relevant to them?

An example

A company I recently worked with, GCE Group, is developing a new product, which with the help of IoT, will bring them closer to the end-user than they have been so far. They might not want to sell to them, but they definitely want to communicate with them and turn them into advocates for their product. The end-users are patients with respiratory problems due to different diseases. The buyers, i.e. customers, however are hospitals. And they have completely different jobs, pains and gains.

Jobs-to-be-done perspective

The Jobs-to-be-done concept is based on the work of among others Tony Ulwick, and was made popular by the known Harvard professor Clayton Christensen with his research around what job a milkshake is hired to do. In short, the theory explains that a customer  will hire a product or service to help them get a job done. The product or service hired is merely a tool or technology to help them solve a particular job, and is strongly influenced by the context of where and when the job is being performed. In the milkshake experiment mentioned above, it turned out that commuters were buying milkshakes when driving to work, mainly to have something to do. The milkshake fit well in one hand (the other being on the steering wheel) and was filling enough to keep them from getting hungry before lunch. Once the fast-food restaurant, who ordered the research, had understood the job the milkshake was hired to do, product development could be focused on making the milkshake thicker, chunkier and with a thinner straw. Thereby solving the job even better than the previous solution.

Back to GCE Group

As many other manufacturing B2B-companies, GCE was really proud of their new product with tons of nice features. The communication was based around these features, without actually taking into consideration the job that the recipient of the communication was actually trying to solve. Using the Value Proposition Canvas from Alexander Osterwalder’s toolbox, we looked closer at the jobs, pains and gains of the different target groups; the hospital who is the buyer (and from GCE perspective the customer), the patient who is the end-user and the clinician who is the prescriber.

The hospital’s main job is to provide care and to lower operational cost – so GCE needs to describe how their product can help lower operational cost while at the same time offering good treatment and care. Conveying this message by describing product features is maybe not the optimal way, but rather requires messaging explaining e.g. the total cost of ownership of the product compared to current solutions.

The patient is really just trying to live a normal life for as long as possible. Meaning being able to socialize with friends, maybe being able to continue working or taking small walks. Things we take for granted when we are not suffering from a disease. Hence the communication has to highlight which features of the product that helps the patient solve this job. And finally, looking at the clinician, he/she is focusing on delivering a treatment that will help their patient, but at the same time has to consider the number of patients he/she is able to see during for example an hour. As the IoT in the product makes it possible to give treatment remotely, the value that this feature delivers might be the most important to convey to the clinician.

Concluding, the same product can have several different value propositions depending on the target group and what job that specific person is trying to solve. By focusing on understanding your target group’s actual jobs, you can improve your sales just by being able to communicate the actual value you are already delivering to them. My experience so far has been that few B2B companies actually speak to end-users to truly understand what difference you can make for them. Are you among them?

Do you want to learn more about the work we have done with GCE Group, download our customer case from our web. Do you wish to have the customer case in English, contact me at kim.hedberg@stratiteq.com.