Chapter 4 Summary : Look at who is winning

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What is DevOps?

What is DevOps?

DevOps is the continuous delivery of prioritised value to an organisation. For more click here.

Atlassian Fastrack

This is a Summary of the fourth chapter of a book Daysha DevOps published titled 1Faat (one feature at a time). The book is an ongoing summation of our consultants' experience as they help our clients to transform digitally.

Change does not just happen. In fact more often that not it does not happen leading to the demise of well established businesses. One way to build appetite for change is to consider the challenges in your market and in particular it’s competitive forces. All organisation’s should foster a long-term vision and a key element of this will be your competitive posture. Big tech companies have a penchant for picking just one enemy – Bill Gates and Novelle for example. The idea here is that a singular focus on one common enemy will help you to recruit colleagues from different departments and garner support from the C-suite to build a ‘coalition of the willing.’ People you can trust to make change happen.

To envision excellence, leaders often look to market frontrunners. If your organization is already a market leader, continual enhancement is imperative or there is a danger of falling asleep at the wheel. In either case, assessing your fitness relative to competitors should be an ongoing task. Target not just the market leader but find the most agile competitor; and seek out their vulnerability e.g. a weak digital presence may offset a strong brand. Investigate competitors by engaging their customers through loss reviews. Understand what attracts customers and causes churn, both to and from competitors. These insights can be used to compel non-customer-facing staff to align with market realities, fostering organizational improvement.

Has your competition drifted from their founding visions, rendering the original mission less relevant. Past successes may not guarantee future progress, especially if reliant on aging revenue streams. Companies balanced with both older dependable and newer innovative revenue sources tend to be more resilient. Reflecting on the market consider competition in categories; digital rivals, Gorillas, low price/low value etc. If there are start-ups in your world are they minor nuisances or potential medium term threats? What can you learn from them? Try to establish if competitors encroach intentionally on your products or services. Within your organization, identify those looking for answers to these questions, most likely they exist in your a function. If no one is found, take the initiative yourself.

As regulators enact legislation to safeguard consumer rights and promote market accessibility for small to medium-sized enterprises, the once impervious proprietary mechanisms securing customer loyalty are dwindling. For example the UK’s Open Banking initiative serves as a prime illustration, compelling major banks to open their intra-bank networks to fintech start-ups. Lethargic responses to competitive pressures not only jeopardize your market share but also weaken organizational morale.

To assess competitors’ technological prowess, evaluate whether their capabilities are reaching their limits or if there’s room for advancement. A crucial metric is their responsiveness to market changes – does their speed in introducing or mimicking offers surpass yours? Determining how swiftly they adapt to emerging trends provides valuable insights into their agility. Understanding the competition’s technical competence involves various ‘listening’ strategies. Engaging with their clientele and partners, interviewing key executives for your ‘own’ positions, and monitoring their online presence, including websites and social media feeds, are proven techniques.As you deepen your understanding competitors, avoid inhouse long held views or snappy tropes. Instead, focus on acquiring hard data thereby avoiding biases that may arise from personal justifications.

To gauge a competitor’s “digital fitness,” thorough research into their team’s skill profiles is imperative. Scrutinize whether they have dedicated personnel for crucial roles such as Product Owner, User Experience (UX), Release Automation, and Agile Coaches. The mere existence of these roles in job listings or LinkedIn doesn’t guarantee competence; assessing the authenticity of team members is crucial. Dive into the profiles of key team leaders, especially those with titles like Product Owner, as some may disguise themselves as experts when in fact their job description is aspirational. Examine their professional history to understand their tenure and scrutinize job descriptions for alignment with customer value realization and Agile methodologies.

Gaining insights by becoming a customer of your competitors is an invaluable learning method. Engage them through opening an account or buying a product and evaluate their offer vs their reality.How does your organisation compare?

Organizations sometimes struggle to retain good technical talent because they resist adapting to new ways of working. Early hires, crucial for transformation, should be sponsored by a C-suite member to ensure alignment with organizational goals. Changes can emerge in isolated areas and these “pockets of goodness” must be nurtured by sponsors to prevent them from succumbing to historic dysfunction and loud naysayers. The key lies in fostering a culture that not only embraces change but actively supports and promotes it.

Use ongoing competitor analysis to persist your organisations desire for Change.

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POSTED IN: Agile, Agile Best Practice, DevOps culture, Fintech