Business and Digital Factories


From the Digital Factory to the Business Factory

TThe digital revolution has brought about new economic models, with technological disruptions shaking markets and industries and new players offering innovative products and services in direct competition with the incumbents.

Many organisations try to reduce time-to-market, break silos and accelerate innovation in order to redefine their positioning. This quest for agility aims to achieve the increased speed of execution and capacity for innovation that these companies need.

An agile operating model promotes the integration of IT and business teams to design seamless customer journeys and a brand new user experience. To achieve these results, it is necessary to transform the way things work, as well as the required hard and soft skills. In industries such as IT, this constitutes a profound cultural transformation.

For several years now, this organisational transformation has found its expression in the digital factory model.

A Digital Factory is a new way of working that enables digital projects in agile mode to be delivered quickly. As an accelerator of transformation and a means to spread best practices, the digital factory drives the execution of agile transformation, impacting the entire organisation. Digital Factories evolve and gain maturity with use, taking advantage of three new sources of value and opportunity:

The transformation of the operating model

The digital factory can implement agile and use-oriented projects quickly. The emergence of this new software manufacturing function within the IT ecosystem has changed the traditional interactions between IT and business teams. Innovation, contribution to the vision and urbanisation of the IS, development, technical integration, release, and coordination are some of the aspects of the ecosystem that are being transformed through the association of the business teams, the IT department, and the digital factory. The digital factory is also an accelerator used to identify talent and support skills development.

It also contributes to solving the problem of multi-speed IT tool. As a result, it stands out as a tool that can associate the new agile operating models of different areas between them, even if they feature different constraints or requirements, such as HR and social planning, business team governance, and internal organisation. The trend for operating models is to apply an incubation approach to ensure the integration of business and IT aspects and unleash collective intelligence.

The transformation of the information system

Since digital factories specialise in predominantly digital projects, they allow the IS to be urbanised in a way that boosts retail and production functions considerably. They can implement high-value enterprise architecture services that help to build an agile IS, developing API backends, and unlocking agile activities that deliver visible business value instantly.

In the same perspective, other high-value services are also embedded in the digital factory, such as cybersecurity (e.g. code audit) and UX/UI services.

The transformation of business: the Business Factory

Although the digital factory drives the execution of agile transformation programmes, this is not enough for a growing number of organisations, since this transformation vector creates a new need, namely facilitating, accelerating and industrialising the business transformation that takes place upstream. The Business Factory emerged as a response to this issue, extending further upstream in the value chain and perfectly complementing the digital factory. Its aim is to promote innovation and develop new ideation processes in order to identify and implement new disruptive business models and new products and services for customers.

Stimulating innovation

The Business Factory is above all a tool for the industrialisation of innovation processes, including:

  • the exploration and generation of new opportunities (market-watching, strategic watch, research and development, records listing available knowledge, expertise, and technologies)
  • Ideation and incubation of MVPs (concept portfolio)
  • Feasibility assessment (preliminary designs)

The business factory relies on open innovation to foster collective intelligence, pushing the organisation to go beyond itself and open up to collaborate with external stakeholders and partners (schools, universities, startups, research laboratories, etc.). For instance, open innovation enables organisations to build privileged relationships with innovative companies, including startups, use co-working spaces, and organise hackathons. Internally, this approach encourages creativity and stimulates the capacity for innovation of companies that have opened up to the world around them. It also helps to unite teams around cross-functional projects, and support employees with intrapreneurial ambitions.

Optimising business practices

The business factory also allows business teams to host creative sessions to digitise, design, improve, and optimise their business processes and practices. Guided by its profound knowledge of customer needs, the community of business experts that make up the business factory focuses on use cases, seamless customer journeys, and omnichannel experience, following a service-driven approach.

Identifying disruptive business models

Beyond optimisation and improvement processes, the business factory aims to help companies to rethink their business models, that is, to identify and test new disruptive models.

In this context, the business factory becomes the place for « disruptive incubation » where the organisation takes advantage of disruptive ideas coming from the outside world and not from internal parties. This process is based on:

  • the creation of a task force team, made up almost exclusively of external stakeholders;
  • the presence in this team of experts from different fields and industries;
  • the existence of a place, called the « jar », to host intensive inspiration, immersion and brainstorming sessions.

The business factory is an extremely concentrated melting pot of collective reflection, fuelled by rich, external contributions that gradually build up, emulating the creative process. Since the approach mirrors the creative process, it includes the following 5 gradual steps: market research (document analysis, interviews), benchmark and innovation, immersion (interviews, external visits, etc.), analysis and valorisation of current strategy, and focus on strategic topics. These steps converge towards « disruptive ideation » workshops, which are concentrated collective brainstorming sessions held in the « jar ». Ideas are then iterated, compared, and finally adjusted with customers in the final stage.

This approach is particularly useful when internal thinking processes that focus on the continuous improvement of existing models are no longer sufficient. The business factory makes it possible to inject new energy into the system through an external view that is intense and creative at the same time.

In short, the business factory emerges as a key tool in the innovation process, helping business teams to conduct strategic visioning exercises, ideation sessions, and co-construction of new business models.

In the end, business & digital factories help set up the entire business transformation life cycle by redesigning and accelerating innovation, ideation, implementation, and deployment processes.

Auteur : onepoint

beyond the obvious