How to introduce advanced engineering techniques into your application development process


by Stan Leong and Dar Suy

If your organization’s back-office business processes need serious engineering help, you’re not alone. Many enterprises have processes that no longer execute as designed, requiring time-consuming and costly manual adjustments and corrections. Other processes have grown so complex that they’re causing bottlenecks.

Your organization may also be generating huge amounts of “dark data.” This data, generated by core business systems, is invisible to systems administrators and others. For some organizations, dark data can represent as much as 90% of all digital information.

That’s a serious issue, because dark data can make legacy systems difficult to upgrade. Dark data can also help form unwieldy processes and system silos. These problems can be expensive. By one estimate, process inefficiencies caused by dark data now cost global businesses billions of dollars a year.

Moving quickly

Once the business processes that need to be updated or even replaced have been identified, organizations can find success by taking an engineering approach to application development.

This can make a huge difference. Projects that might have involved 100 or more of your people and taken years or longer, you can now complete with small teams in a matter of weeks or months. That time issue is vital. If a project takes you years to complete, your industry will likely have moved on by then.

This new approach also involves what’s known as “design thinking.” This means acting like a startup within the confines of your larger organization.

The first thing a new startup does is to identify its “pain point” — a business problem that’s urgently in need of a solution. Your corporate development teams can do this, too, by first determining the needs of your users.

One effective way to do this is with role-playing. Members of your team can assume a persona. For example, you’re the 35-year-old manager of invoice payments for a food and beverage distributor based in Poland. Now, what are your biggest business challenges? What’s not working? What new tools would you like?

Getting lean

Once it’s time to start coding, your team can benefit from approaches borrowed from Lean and Agile software development. Essentially, these approaches involve rapid prototyping, quick iterations based on user feedback, and a willingness to learn from failures. These are powerful ways to bring startup thinking to the enterprise.

Team-building is another important element of innovative engineering. At its best, an agile team can operate within the bounds of a large enterprise with much of the speed and nimbleness of a startup.

To be sure, moving quickly in a large enterprise can be challenging. Hiring, an important element of building a team, can take months. But it’s worthwhile.

Culture is another element. The value of failure is a common and valuable concept among agile developers; but among corporate leaders, not so much. This will require a cultural change, not only among your core development team, but also throughout the organization. The idea is to expect some missteps on early prototypes, learn from those failures, and then innovate again with the latest technologies and methodologies.

Developing like a startup

Your organization may be large, global and diverse. Yet with the right approach, you can apply design thinking and speed to updating and streamlining your business processes.

Don’t let dark data keep you in the dark. Apply innovative engineering approaches, and move with speed and strategy.

Ready to engineer for agility? Learn how DXC Technology can help you.


Stan Leong is director of emerging engineering with DXC Technology.





Dar Suy is director of emerging products at DXC Technology.






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