Delivering Impactful Digital Transformations in Software Engineering
Digital transformation strategies must be based on a comprehensive understanding of an organization's software engineering practices. Learn how top consulting firms (like Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, EY) partner with customers to gain a comprehensive view of their practices to drive most effective transformations.
May 10, 2023
Digital transformations reshape how organizations create software and compete in today's fast-paced, technology-driven world. To be truly impactful, a digital transformation strategy must be based on a comprehensive understanding of an organization's software engineering practices. In this blog post, we'll discuss how top consulting firms (like Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, EY etc) partner with customers to gain a comprehensive view of their practices and drive the most effective transformation initiatives that align with their customers' goals to drive lasting, positive change.
Focusing on consulting firms is insightful because they:
1. Have the expertise to identify areas ripe for transformation and align them with customers' goals.
2. Are incentivized to demonstrate the actual impact of their work.
Let's explore the key metrics that consulting firms consider when driving digital transformations.
(Spoiler alert: most of these metrics cannot be extracted from Jira!)
Key Metrics to Enable Digital Transformations:
1. Deployment Frequency, e.g., number of deployments to production per week or month.
2. Incident and Downtime Metrics, e.g., Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR) or number of incidents per month.
3. Development Methodologies, e.g., percentage of projects using Agile vs. Waterfall methodologies.
4. Code Quality, e.g., test code coverage, static code analysis scores, or defect density (number of defects per thousand lines of code).
5. Software Security, e.g., the number of high-risk vulnerabilities found during security assessments or the OWASP Top 10 compliance score.
6. Development Velocity, e.g., the average number of user stories or features completed per sprint or month.
7. Automation and DevOps Maturity, e.g., DevOps Maturity Model score (1-5) or percentage of automated test cases.
8. Technical Debt, e.g., hours spent on maintenance or refactoring per sprint, or SonarQube Technical Debt Ratio.
9. Team Collaboration and Communication, e.g., the usage rate of collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
10. Skills and Training, e.g., percentage of team members with relevant certifications or completed training courses.
Example 1: GreenEnergy Solutions, a renewable energy company
GreenEnergy Solutions faced challenges in multiple aspects of its software engineering practices. The firms began by collecting and monitoring the key metrics above and noticed that a few were below industry benchmarks: development velocity (average of 3 features per month), deployment frequency (quarterly deployments), and automation and DevOps maturity (Level 2 out of 5).
Armed with these insights, GreenEnergy Solutions initiated a digital transformation project with the consulting firms, focusing on adopting Agile methodologies, implementing a robust CI/CD pipeline, and embracing automation for their DevOps practices. As a result, GreenEnergy Solutions increased their development velocity to an average of 8 features per month, improved deployment frequency to bi-weekly releases, and raised their DevOps maturity to Level 4 out of 5.
Following the successful completion of this transformation, the consulting firms identified the next bottleneck in DevOps as a lengthy Time to First Review in Pull Requests, caused by most reviews being conducted by tenured engineers.
Example 2: RetailRevolution, an e-commerce company
RetailRevolution struggled to ship new features of its flagship app on time. When the top consulting firms started to collect those key metrics, they identified issues in software security (5 high-risk vulnerabilities found in the last assessment), technical debt (30% of development time spent on maintenance), and team collaboration (low usage of collaboration tools). They recognized the need for a digital transformation project to reduce toil.
This project involved implementing automated security testing through a software vendor, creating a plan to tackle technical debt, and adopting modern collaboration tools. As a result, RetailRevolution reduced high-risk vulnerabilities to 0 in the following assessment, decreased the time spent on maintenance to 15%, and increased team collaboration with a 90% adoption rate of the new tools.
These improvements led to better predictability in when major features shipped, a critical factor in aligning Engineering with its peer functions (such as Marketing) for coordinated launches. And as the former example, the firm was able to leverage those metrics to find the next area ripe for change to keep making their customer more efficient.
A 360-degree view of your software engineering practice is critical for successful digital transformation strategies. Organizations can gain valuable insights and support to ensure their digital transformation initiatives are both effective and sustainable. Top consulting firms can facilitate the definition and implementation of these strategies, in collaboration with software engineering intelligence platforms such as Faros AI. It's time to start measuring and setting your organization on the path to digital transformation success!
About Faros AI
Faros AI is a Software Engineering Intelligence Platform that provides a single-pane view across velocity, quality, goals, and more! The power of Faros AI comes from its flexibility; it works for all types of data, all types of questions, all types of roles. Whether you are a senior engineering leader trying to better understand your entire engineering org, or a team member looking to play around with specific data to answer your own questions, Faros AI can help you move beyond guess-work and start making data-driven decisions for better outcomes.
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