IT is a strategic business partner
The motto for Ergon’s 2019 “Beer, Bytes & Beats” summer party was “A connected world: working together to boost value creation”. In the presentations, several heavyweights from Swiss business explored how cooperation and collaboration are changing in the age of digitalisation. Roman Hugelshofer, Ergon’s Managing Director Application Security and a member of the Executive Board, illustrates how companies can steal a march using Ergon’s domain knowledge, and why a good user experience is essential.
Do you remember the days when IT was in its own silo, miles away from business? Hidden away in some subterranean bunker, and dispensed everywhere via cables and little grey junction boxes? Thinking of IT as just another cost centre is old hat. “The future success of firms is increasingly ending up in the hands of IT experts,” explains Hugelshofer. IT is turning into a strategic business partner.
Every company is attempting modernisation and transformation projects, with a wide range of approaches to choose from. There are standard software suites and services for almost every problem; go a little further, and you will also find extendable, semi-finished products whose parameters can be adapted and, ultimately, entirely individual, customised software solutions. “There are good reasons why all of these approaches exist, but we at Ergon are convinced that the most efficient and effective way to secure the competitive advantage that firms are seeking is via bespoke software,” says Hugelshofer.
Modern technology is merely a tool
There are three considerations to bear in mind here. First, the people involved and their corresponding domain knowledge. Secondly, that modern technology is merely a tool. And thirdly, work done in collaboration with third parties must always be checked. Doing so brings additional customer benefits and is important as it ensures the necessary speed.
So which disciplines are critical to this kind of software project? A consulting team and a decoder should be on board during the first phase, after which targeted and honest requirements engineering is critical. Relentless focus on user experience is also essential, as user acceptance is the ultimate acid test of any project’s success. Professional testing and expandable security should be in the mix as well.
“Innovation and change require courageous decision-making.”
Stealing a march with domain knowledge
Hugelshofer points to the success of TrueWealth, an online asset management service for investors and selected investment strategies. After its first flush of success, the company turned to Ergon to expand its customer segment from B2C to B2B and open up these channels. Ergon helped TrueWealth realise the integration they sought. “Here, we were able to use our domain knowledge to steal a march. We are intimately familiar with banking as we have been handling projects in this area for more than twenty years now,” says Hugelshofer.
Everything revolves around people
When circumstances change, it must be possible to adapt software of this kind to new challenges – ideally with robust architecture. In addition, innovation and change require courageous decision-making. Cooperation is the best route to adding value. Technology per se is only a small part of any solution. In the end, everything revolves around people – they are a crucial success factor.
Roman Hugelshofer talks about the key role played by IT and how associated competitive advantages can be secured.