Can an offline company achieve success in a digital world?
“Digital transformation” is a buzzword used by many people in the IT industry. In short, it means that an offline company applies modern technology to improve its processes inside the company, to increase their clients’ satisfaction, and to increase their revenue using new sales channels (like e-commerce) and many others.
According to the 21st global survey ran by PWC, 81% of respondents agree that technological progress will fundamentally change their organisation.
Below you can see a guide for successful digital transformation from PWC:
How did we start a digital transformation for one of our clients?
We met Ireneusz, the CEO of INDOS when we were conducting interviews with interesting people for our mentoring startup, LIFETRAMP. We were interested in hearing more about his career and the success story of the company he was leading. From conversation about business strategy we jumped to our number one topic - software development and companies’ transformations with new technologies. Irek was curious. We started analysing the business and discovering some tech ideas that could be valuable for the end clients.
Pani Ala - Your finance assistant
INDOS is a company that has existed since 1991. They started by offering debt management for clients and extended their services to factoring and loans. For the last 28 years they have served more than 5000 satisfied clients. They did have a low-scale variety of existing IT systems but they needed some new innovation. After some discussion, we finally discovered their needs and value proposition for their end users and we decided to build a smart AI/ML assistant in the form of a chatbot that can help you choose the right financial product based on a conversation with you. That’s how Pani Ala was born.
Challenges along the way
Digitalisation is not easy. It’s very risky. With an R&D approach you never know what the outcome will be. It’s like building a startup next to your organisation – there are hundreds of hypotheses to be proven so you need to start small and iterate fast. We used SCRUM methodology to quickly deploy pieces of software and test it with users. The budget was limited so we had to focus on the most important parts of the software. Another challenge we faced was communication. The product owner has to be fully engaged and work closely with the tech team because unclear messages can result in unwanted software. We had to work hard on a framework that made our job much more efficient.
Moreover, the team was distributed not only across the whole country, but also the world which was quite challenging to manage. Thanks to SCRUM, daily meetups and regular planning we were able to have a fully functional workflow. We also implemented some technologies in projects like Ruby on Rails and NodeJS.
Advanced digital products require proven technologies – that is why we decided to use the German engine called RASA. It’s used by a large community of more than 3500+ developers and 300+ contributors. It works very well for many industries such as insurance, banking, telecoms. One of our developers is also a contributor in this project.
We have customised it and created two more products in addition:
Humanized – This is an advanced contact center platform with Omnichannel and advanced BOT integration. You can manage your agent, supervise the bot and interact with you end users. This tool collects a vast quantity of stats such as waiting time, the name of the agent, response time, number of tickets solved and so on.
Wellbot – This is a set of tools for developing the bot and managing users intentions and actions. It’s an essential tool for every Chatbot designer. Conversational chatbots understand written text (using NLP – Natural Language Processing) by adding slots. It allows the creator to make some conditions such as gender and dependably on the outcome can completely change the conversation. The data is validated in real time.
Advisero - Beyond the product: the outcome of our cooperation
After some time, we realised with regards to Ireneusz that it made sense to create a separate company which was fully focused on chatbots for the contact center - this is how Advisero was born. Pani Ala is still a separate project and Advisero is the tech company working on automation in the contact center. The system manages around 1000 conversations daily and was further developed based on the feedback from end users. The team currently has more than 10 people and is growing rapidly. The first POC were released in 2019 and the launch was quite successful.
The future is bright
Cooperation between LEOCODE and Advisero is long-term - we work hard to deliver products that our clients really want and we make sure that we build the right software. The team is growing and there are more and more interested companies enquiring about our chatbot system.
We have learnt a few valuable lessons along the way whilst working with out clients. Some of them include:
- Building a new venture usually takes more time than expected.
- Communication and proper validation of the business model are key to the success of the project.
- You need to iterate fast and change according to the clients requirements - flexibility is key.
- You need to be focused and have a strategy for your digital innovation - as well as clear goals, milestones, and the right team.
- As a business owner, it’s best not to use the product in the BETA phase for commercial use.
- Don’t create a software in the garage - start talking to your clients as soon as you can to collect valuable feedback such as their needs, expectations, most important features etc.
- Having a tech company (Advisero) increased the value of the mother company (INDOS)
- Not using beta solutions for commercial purpose