Driving digital transformation in Denmark

KMD’s COO, Thomas Flarup, outlines how the leading Danish IT company has embedded agility into their business.

How fast is the application economy happening? To find out, just walk down any street at any time of day or night. You’ll see people endlessly staring into their mobile phones—booking a restaurant, searching for a shop, checking the weather, or simply socialising.

This is the application economy in action, and it is changing how we live our day-to-day lives. Everything from healthcare and learning, to banking and entertainment are impacted. To survive in this dynamic environment, your organization needs to innovate new services quickly, develop the next generation of apps that make life more convenient for your customers—and ultimately drive revenue growth.

We see it ourselves here at KMD. As one of Denmark’s leading IT and software companies, our systems handle the equivalent of 20% of Denmark’s GDP every year. Key social security benefits such as family allowance, maternity/paternity pay, sickness benefit, and state pensions are paid through systems developed by KMD.

We continually need to innovate these systems: modernizing business processes, applications, and infrastructure with next-generation technology solutions. The term for this is digital transformation.

Digital transformation has been used to describe anything from creating a website tuned to mobile users to developing an entire business strategy. But in reality true transformation needs to involve much more than just the end product.

The transformation involves new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhancing and supporting the traditional methods. What is driving this digital transformation? Three key drivers: changing consumer demand, changing technology and changing competition.

Agility is the name of the game now: just look how fast services such as Uber and Airbnb have emerged in cities around the world. Companies that are adept at accelerating the software lifecycle gain a competitive advantage by becoming increasingly agile in delivering new services to both external and internal customers.

KMD embeds agility into business process

In KMD we help commercial and public sector organizations drive their digital transformation strategy forward and embed agility into business processes. At the same time, we have an evolutionary approach to adopting agile methods. We allow for traditional methods where needed, while at the same time growing agile adoption to deliver on investments faster.

To a huge IT and software company like ours, the degree of agility depends to a large extent on the design of our planning processes and their link to governance. Key words are incremental and cohesive. In order to work agile and adapt to dynamic environments, teams and individuals must be able to plan in increments, gradually fine-tuning and testing the deliverables. In order to secure value-enhancing governance, plans made vertically as well as horizontally must be cohesive.

In 2015 we formed the vision of one cohesive planning process, allowing for incremental planning, ranging from our Boards overview on progress across KMD to the dashboards and tasks used by our teams in the daily huddle. The process should be supported by a cohesive tool-chain, effectively balancing agility and governance by connecting the work of agile teams to the enterprise portfolio. For this, we have chosen a unified suite of agile software planning solutions from CA Technologies, which we are taking into use in two steps.

Step one has been the implementation of CA Agile Central, a standardized platform of processes for working incrementally with deliveries. Today it is used across the organization, functioning as a bridge between team members working with each element in a software delivery, from requirements and estimation to development, test and reporting.

Step two will be the implementation of CA Project & Portfolio Management (CA PPM), which will happen in 2017. When joined with CA Agile Central and our SAP-based financial system it should provide a unified view across all our projects, helping portfolio managers optimise budgets and resources for maximum return on investment.

So, how is it going? Right now, in early 2017 and on the brink of implementing PPM, we can already see benefits from CA Agile Central. They come in terms of closer collaboration, less administrative work and a coherent overview and in-depth transparency for each delivery. When PPM is up and running, we will have taken yet a huge step further in our efforts to build a fast, responsive, and reliable software delivery engine, enabling KMD to accelerate time to market for our clients.

Agile is the future. Uber, Airbnb, and other emerging services are here to stay. The challenge for commercial and public sector organizations is to seize the opportunities presented by the application economy and disrupt the markets in which they operate.

About the author: Thomas Flarup, born 1974, came to KMD in 2015 as COO. Thomas Flarup is a qualified civil engineer from the Technical University of Denmark. After many years with the Danish Defense – in the military special forces, among others – he began his civil career with Boston Consulting Group in 2005. Then followed a further number of years with TDC. Thomas began as a strategy consultant in 2008 and has consequently held various director positions in a number of telecommunication company’s divisions. Most recently Thomas had the position as Senior Vice President for Solution Sales in TDC Business.

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