A year ago I accepted a challenge to establish a new team in my IS/IT organization dedicated to defining and improving ALE business outcomes.
This team became known as Outcome Labs Engineering (OLE)* -- comprised of highly skilled professionals with the mindset of a lean startup organization. Their mission was to:
• Identify opportunities for innovative, new subscription-based business models
• Explore and define how ALE and ALE customers could leverage digital capabilities like big data, analytics, connected products and cloud services, and turn them into competitive advantages
• Act as network of change agents, helping federate new technology-supported initiatives across the organization.
At the time we created this new team, the entire IS/IT organization was dedicated with the task of separating ourselves from Alcatel-Lucent, our former parent company. As overwhelming as that process was at the time, I felt the need to prepare our next step, i.e. transforming our IS/IT into a business enabler for ALE product business divisions. The OLE team created a plan to develop a digital ecosystem, one that would benefit ALE customers and also would enable ALE to offer new models (i.e. cloud services) while transforming our business. The pieces of the digital ecosystem developed include:
• The business store - where services and users can be provisioned and then billed.
• A subscription engine - for this new way of selling services that handles the back office complexity of building and managing subscription offers and billing, as well as advanced customer relationship capabilities.
• A data lake - where service usage information is stored in an unstructured way, together with the corresponding analytics.
• The necessary hosting and infrastructure operations -- providing a 24/7 service.
Within a few months this new startup team was capable of demonstrating to customers the relevance of new ideas and capabilities via a few agile proof of concept projects. Their mission was to validate Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and demonstrate the market was fit for a new solution, doing so before committing significant corporate resources to producing products that nobody wants to buy. MVP is also a way to build and test solutions that provide tangible business outcomes to customers, ones which customers are ready to pay for and use.
The first prototype effort was around Voice and Network asset management. The team developed a cloud-based, reader friendly solution that provides assets and lifecycle status. As a CIO in charge of taking over 60 sites worldwide, I was very interested in knowing what I was inheriting, and this capability made it happen! At ALE we were able to build the first layer made of “e-everything” in nearly all business process domains with our external partners (customers and suppliers): an end-to-end e-quote-to-cash chain from order intake to delivery. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve been building our internal digital capabilities as well by implementing Software as a Service solutions in key domains like HR, Finance, Procurement and Sales & Marketing. Today, however, my most exciting challenge is for the IS/IT team to build the layer that supports tomorrow’s corporate revenues – by providing a digital ecosystem that transforms the legacy business models of selling boxes, to selling network and communications services based on user, usage, etc.
I’m proud of the above work my IS/IT team has developed to become a critical part of our business transformation. Customer feedback tested positively for the new business model offers that depend on these new parts of our digital ecosystem. I’m excited for their released during the year. In addition, by promoting the mining of big data -- crossing information coming from the field through products and solutions with the information embedded in our information systems -- our business divisions can create new advanced services and additional business opportunities for ALE and our partners by better understanding the usage and the adoption of the solutions by the customers. I’d be interested in hearing my fellow peers to share their own experience with building for their respective businesses.
* Outcome Labs Engineering is the brainchild of a few Digital Natives working at ALE: Pierre Yves Noel, Dominique Laporte, Jean-Luc Steffann and Sebastien Juras.