Companies come to us with very different questions. However, these questions have one thing in common, there is always a BUT.

For example:

• We are looking for a new ERP solution; but how do we ensure that we immediately organise our business processes more flexibly, so that we are agile in the market place?
• We want to invest in our omnichannel strategy, but how do we keep our application landscape manageable?
• We want to automate as many processes as possible, but how do we keep our applications and data clear?

These questions show that companies need a digital game plan, where their ERP transformation is the first move towards a flexible, agile IT landscape.

The HSO Discovery approach helps retail companies get to grips with their digital roadmap. We begin with the strategic objectives of the organisation.

We provide insights into where the bottlenecks are in the current IT landscape to achieve these goals. For example, we design an ideal application architecture, considering, for example, integration issues and data management.

The result of the HSO Discovery approach is the creation of a very strategic roadmap that provides insight into the benefits, risks and investments required, with feasible planning. You can read more about the approach in this interview with Teus Bouw, HSO Innovation.

How the HSO Discovery approach works in practice

Q. Teus, where did the need for this approach come from?

“In our project methodology we have a phase 0, i.e. the preparatory phase. In fact, our Discovery approach has emerged from this phase. For example, companies want to replace their ERP, or set up a platform for partners, customers and suppliers, but feel they are stuck within their current architecture. It may have too many technological limitations, or their IT landscape has become such a spaghetti of different applications, that it is no longer capable of being maintained and has become highly unstable.

We believe that it pays to start the conversation at that moment and to begin to ask questions about the vision and strategy of your company.

• What direction does my company want to take?
• How is my ERP system impacting change?

If HSO can begin to understand which direction a company wants to take, then we can also better understand what technology is required to achieve this. Often, you will find out that more than an upgrade or a single application is needed. But where do you start?

The HSO Discovery approach aims to help companies get to grips with their long-term IT roadmap plan.

HSO is a solution integrator, not a strategy consultant? We are not going to come up with the best retail strategy, our customers can do that themselves. But as solution architects, we take that business strategy as a starting point.

The HSO Discovery approach is all about this. With your business strategy as a starting point, let us look at the entire IT landscape and see what is needed to achieve your goals. This is how we determine your IT strategy and ultimately we create an entire roadmap on how to get there.”

By asking carefully about the strategy, so that we really understand the business objectives, we can better advise which IT solutions are needed to achieve this.”

Q. Can you explain the Gartner “pace layered” application strategy?

“For customers, this model gives a very quick insight into why they are stuck with their current landscape.

The existing ERP landscape often turns out to be far too heavy and too slow. We will then undress this to a large extent by putting all kinds of business processes outside the ERP application. This makes the base lighter and therefore more flexible.

We also do a deep dive into the so-called as-is capabilities: what are you missing in your current system, what are the bottlenecks? This gives an overview and helps enormously in determining the orderliness and setting the priorities.”

Q. The retail industry is changing rapidly. Does such a roadmap, combined with a multi-year roadmap plan, offer enough flexibility?

“As architects, we monitor continuity and the Retail team will continue to be involved throughout the roadmap. After each (sub)project, we link back with each other to double check whether the starting points and the fundamentals, are still current. In this way, we can gradually adjust the roadmap priorities. If we don’t visualise these needs in advance, there is a good chance that the customer will select the wrong software, set the wrong priorities and not get enough visibility into the dependence of all systems.

This approach does of course require an investment. However, what we see is that the outcome provides improved insights that customers can make much more informed choices and prioritise against. We avoid unpleasant surprises and delays during implementation, because we want to implement system X if necessary, when in the end we can’t talk to platform Y. For the IT manager, the Discovery approach often provides valuable support. The management is involved in solving the bottlenecks and obstacles, and afterwards he or she has a clear roadmap including planning, necessary investments but also an estimate of the benefits, i.e. the ROI that new applications will yield. We see that this can greatly speed up decision-making and get our customers to where they want to be – in front of their competitors.”

Download the e-book