Posts

Every business is a software business

 “Every business is a software business”, as Watts S. Humphrey, the father of quality in software and CMMI, said two decades ago.

The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, repeats the message: “all companies are software companies”. “Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company.

To this change of vision, to this metamorphosis of the companies and to all its implications, we call Digital Transformation.

Software is the ultimate source of capacity, competitiveness, innovation, quality and agility of companies. And it is the continually updated repository of our knowledge.

If your organization provides services, the software probably coordinates the entire workflow, supports customer service, builds loyalty, manages the treasury, or aggregates indicators for management decisions. If your business is industrial, the software probably controls the acquisition, production, stock management, marketing, sale, or distribution. When more than 95% of your organization’s operations cam be supported by software, it is undeniable that your business is a software business.

Your organization is a software business, even if your activities are not yet managed by software by software. It is enough that they can be. Because your competitors, particularly the most innovative and disruptive, are taking steps to digitalize all the activities that cab be digitized. Or they are born digital, with all their activities already executed or supported by software. In any case, the possible inattention of your organization pays dearly.

Activities carried out and supported by software include activities that, until now, were reserved for knowledge workers. Like software programming, which is automated at Quidgest.

As it is ultimately the software that determines the quality, speed and scale of your activity, it is the competitiveness of your company that is concerned.

Over the years, the relationship between software and the management of organizations has not been peaceful. “I see software everywhere except productivity statistics,” said Nobel laureate Robert Solow in 1987 in what became known as the Productivity Paradox.

For years, information technologies have taken advantage of the business, more than they have served the business. With the technological diffusion, with the emergence of technologically better prepared decision makers and with constant innovation to remove technologists from their pedestal, this situation has been reversed. However, the cases where the software and the infrastructure supporting it (hardware, networks and communications) take up too much of the organizations’ budgets, giving little to the business in return, are still rare today. That is, it does not provide competitive advantages, productivity increases or better experiences for the organization’s customers. There is a very significant potential for change, while reversing these cases and divesting these suppliers.

The trend of software serving the business has also been enhanced by the contribution of more conscious and committed software producers who have developed and followed approaches such as Agile, DevOps or Model Driven Development.

But digital transformation goes further than just serving the business. Digital transformation is putting the software at the center of the business, in the center of the organization’s activity. Software and business are no longer distinguishable from each other. The vision of one is the vision of the other. It is impossible to separate what is software and what is business. Any management measure applies through software. Any learning is done collectively by integration into the software. There are no areas of the business that are not covered by the software, nor software features that are not required by the business. The pace of software and business change is identical, and very high.

Applying the concept to our reality, what is the future of companies, in which we work or with whom we work, as software companies? What is the future of organizations such as CGD, CEMAH, EDP, Sonae, ADENE, CP, SIBS, INA, CCDR, Galp, Competition Authority, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Águas de Portugal, Secil, Autoeuropa, Brisa, Civil Protection or Quidgest as software companies? Are you, or are you going to, succeed in defining your strategy as software companies? What about your culture? Are they thinking of themselves, not as banks, training providers, service providers, shopping centers, transport companies, firefighters, construction materials producers, but as software companies?

 

Digital Transformation of States and Companies

The strategic challenge of companies and states is to rethink their in the digital era. It’s not about buying a technology. It is about putting technology at the heart of the activity they develop.

Digital transformation is a strategic competitive advantage. But it is also unavoidable. If the economy is digital, all businesses are bound to be digital. It is not about updating technology, but about updating the vision of the business. A bank (like n26) is not a business that uses technology, but a technology that comes in the form of a bank and is inseparable from a bank. In “our” Farfetch, it is also impossible to distinguish software and business. With digital transformation, the essence (the business) of an organization becomes your software and just the appearance is your previous business.

All changes are difficult. But this transformation is particularly difficult to accept. Most leaders and employees of a company or public institution do not see their organization as essentially software.

If this is the case, if it is also difficult for you to design your business as a software business, think about scenarios. Imagine that your business is a digital business. What changes? Or imagine a scenario in which a new competitor, fully digital, threatens it. What weapons would be used by this competitor? How would you allow you to gain advantages over your company?

Like metamorphosis, digital transformation is a process, a sequence. It is not done from one day to the next. It requires strategy and a strategy map (possibly a Quidgest BSC).

There are new opportunities in the digital economy. But they are more open, accessible to more players and on an international scale. Without the weight of the legacy, a new entrant often has an advantage and can pose a serious threat to already established companies. The scale of digital and the absence of barriers to expansion make it impossible to be safe anywhere. Bookstores around the world felt this with Amazon.

Pre-digital companies are not doomed. A bank like CGD will not necessarily fail to enter fully digital fintech companies. But there is a threat, which has to be taken very seriously.

Digital is both a disruption and the new standard. This may be more evident in some sectors than in others, but no industry is immune. Citing the author of “Digital Vortex”, Daniel Pink: “Name an industry, and odds are it’s being disrupted by competitors deploying digital technology.

And if today’s companies do not endow themselves with technological vigilance and the ability to closely follow what digitally-owned companies can do, they are doomed. Activities properly supported by software multiply dramatically, by the thousands or millions, their productivity or their effectiveness.

However, this capability is far from easy to achieve. For cultural and organizational reasons, of aversion to change. Because of difficulties in bringing together technological skills, with resources with increasingly scarce and expensive software skills. And for lack of strategic perception.

Often, following is not enough. The former benefits from an advantageous position because it is the first, which is difficult (but not impossible) to overcome.

The key is to learn how to merge business with information technology in a way that is truly transformative.

The software will not remain unscathed to this change. The software has to change radically. It is not the old software (the typical financial management package, in particular) that will support digital transformation. But flexible and powerful software production technologies that automate the application of human knowledge, such as Quidgest’s Genio, which have the capacity to promote and dynamize digital transformation.

Digital transformation requires innovation, it is the current way of designating innovation and applying all the benefits (and risks) of innovation and creativity. Digital transformation is the innovation supported by the technological revolution of our time.

What is not digital transformation is also easy to understand. Removing information systems from organizations and expecting them, absurdly, to work better. Exclude organizations from thinking about their digital future. Denial of the possibility of digital transformation is an (effective) way of destroying an organization.

Digital transformation consists of rethinking what is the leadership of your industry, for your company and for yourself.

In strategic terms, software has gone from being neutral to being the main weapon of leadership attack strategies, and has been used in every industry by well-known companies, like Amazon (books and all) Google (advertising), Uber (transport), Booking.com (hotel reservations).

Software, used as a strategic offensive weapon, enables you to identify and deliver new revenue streams, transform customer experience, dramatically reduce costs and response times, increase efficiency and production capacity.

If it is not used by your company it will certainly be used against your company. If it is not used by our country, it will be used by other countries for its benefit and to the detriment of our development.

Business management and country government do not produce immediate, positive or negative results. However, delaying digital transformation for a sufficient length of time will certainly result in a continuous deterioration in the attractiveness of companies or countries and in the desertion of customers, investors or citizens.

 

The human element and education in Digital Transformation

Societies are stratifying into two groups: digital skeptics and digital transformers. The latter include, even if they are not fully aware of it, the digital natives. It is not just a generational issue. At Quidgest we have often supported, over the past 29 years, projects promoted by digital transformers not fully understood by the digital skeptics surrounding them.

The new millennial generation is entering the job market and their thinking is already global. Without great fears, the most competent learn and succeed in any country or culture.

In corporations and governments, a new generation of decision makers, managers and entrepreneurs, already born in the digital world, is causing a wave of change at an amazing rate. This generation knows, better than any previous generation of decision makers, the power and shortcomings of information technology. It takes advantage of the benefits and circumvents the limitations of technology to put into practice new forms of service delivery, wealth creation and well-being.

It does not blindly follow the technological leaders of the previous generation (it even completely ignores them), challenges deep beliefs, and creates new business models, sometimes complementary to those that already exist, sometimes completely disruptive. The internet and the breakthrough in computing power and digital storage, available from smart mobile devices, coupled with widespread use as well as new developments in science and engineering, are the main basis of this new economic revolution.

Instead, business or government leaders who say, without any embarrassment, they don’t know anything about information technology, will disappear, become irrelevant. As will their organizations, if the breakdown of ties is not quick enough.

On the jobs side, the threat “What if people run out of things to do” is not a topic that scares us. Digital transformation will create new types of employment. Even the global trend of “automation of knowledge work”, of which Quidgest’s Genio is a good example, allows us to create a new profession of Knowledge Engineer capable of creating the demanding solutions required by Digital Transformation.

The human element requires change management. Transformation is more than change, but Digital Transformation can use and inherit all the knowledge gained from change management. Concepts such as Hype Cycle and the management of the expectations of the interlocutors. The distinction between Early Adopters and Laggards. The need to give organizations some time to adapt to the new age and new rules of the game. A map of strategy execution. Your organization’s successful digital transformation will require the application of all these and other change management tools.

 

Digital Transformation on a global scale

Digital is global. It has no borders, although states begin to realize, and societies begin to accept, that being on the Internet will not continue to exempt digital businesses from paying taxes.

Two key concerns arise when we think of digital transformation on a global scale.

On the one hand, how will the digital transformation of societies, governments and companies contribute to the global sustainable development objectives (ODS) reflected in the United Nations Agenda 2030?

On the other hand, what new international economic order will emerge from this revolution? In fact, industrial or technological revolutions are not neutral. All have created leaders on a global scale. But they have also led to the exclusion of countries and regions. In particular, what position will this transformation bring to Europe, Portugal and each of the countries in which Quidgest operates? What companies can we support to be leaders on a global scale?

The vicious cycle nature of our growth also continues to worry. After a period of recession, the current growth has already triggered imports (notably software). The economic awareness of IT decision makers has not made much progress.

During the first half of 2017, growth in the positive balance of services, which includes revenues from tourism (and expenses with the acquisition of software abroad), was already insufficient to compensate for the increase in the balance of payments deficit assets. Our financial position vis-à-vis the exterior has worsened. From this point of view, essential for our future, was a lost semester.

Durante o primeiro semestre de 2017, o crescimento do saldo positivo da balança de serviços, em que se integram as receitas da atividade turística (e as despesas com aquisição de software ao exterior), já foi insuficiente para compensar o aumento do défice da balança de bens. O nosso posicionamento financeiro face ao exterior agravou-se. Deste ponto de vista, essencial para o nosso futuro, foi um semestre perdido.

This is enough to consider that the digital transformation of the Portuguese economy is also very necessary. The competitiveness of our producers of goods and services (and also of our tourism) depends on our software.

Can digital transformation be an engine of expansion of national technology companies? Can tourism be a facilitator of technological exchange? How to promote the Portuguese language as a vehicle for economic development? How can we immediately help developing countries and put national technology to support the achievement of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals by 2030?

 

Be the business: Computer Science and technology in Digital Transformation

In his book, “Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT,” Martha Heller quotes Mark Settle, CIO of Okta: “Large enterprise CIOs used to function as traffic cops regulating the selection, implementation and use of information technology. To be successful in today’s world, they need to serve as a concierge of IT capabilities, providing the advice and suggestions their companies need to leverage new and emerging technologies. ”

With software, it is not enough to serve the business. It is necessary to be (the soul of) the business.

In the last decade, three trends have marked the role of computer scientists in organizations. First, there was a movement from the “back office” to the “front office”. That is, from business applications to customer-facing initiatives. Second, there was a movement from “software as a support” to “software as a strategic resource”. What it meant to directly relate revenues to software costs, rationalize expenses and stop thinking about software as a cost, but mainly as a potential source of revenue, with a big impact on revenue. Third, a move from “technology” to “management”, with a focus on performance, quality, information security, adoption of better methodologies (Lean, Agile or DevOps), extension to other areas of management ( digital marketing), automation, industry 4.0 and time to market.

As a result, we moved from a closed, self-focused technological area to the elimination of barriers (which existed in both directions) between information technology and all other areas of the organization. In digital organizations, the general movement in society is reflected: digital technology has been democratized. Today, it is more easily accessible and belongs (a little more) to everyone.

Major security challenges also apply to organizations and people in general in this Digital Transformation course. The path of digitization has already overcome major obstacles in the last decades, although some are still not completely resolved as digital preservation. The transformation is raising other issues for discussion and regulation such as privacy and cybersecurity.

Only the most flexible and easy-to-use technologies will meet the requirements of constant change. Many organizations are hostage to rigid, obsolete, and poorly interoperable software solutions that are totally incompatible with the new pace of mobility and change.

This pace, implicit in Digital Transformation, is a huge challenge. The balance of agility, reliability and security, applying the principles of continuous integration and DevOps, enables top performing digital companies (such as Google, Booking.com, Amazon, Uber, Facebook, Netflix) to install dozens of new software solutions daily. Just like Quidgest customers.

 

João Paulo Carvalho

Senior Partner at Quidgest

 

Quidgest Software Engineering at the base of the Five Year Development Plan of the Government of El Salvador’s success

Quidgest Software Engineering is at the base of the success of the Five Year Development Plan of the Government of El Salvador . Graphs presented in the news are the Business View solution that runs on the BSC, a software solution for strategic and top management by Quidgest. Congratulations to the Technical Secretary of the Government of El Salvador for their excellent work and for this international recognition.

Q-Day 2016 | Conference
Portugal: Sun, Sea & Software

The Q-Day Conference 2016 under the theme “Portugal: Sun, Sea & Software” will be held on 22 September between 9am and 6pm, in Lisbon.
It is an annual conference of public interest, on strategic, innovation, entrepreneurship, decision models and internationalization promoted by Quidgest, with the support of several entities.
Has achieved over the years, renowned speakers and a great level of audience, very interested in the subjects. It is aimed at managers, public officials, politicians, IT directors and opinion leaders.
“Portugal: Sun, Sea & Software” is the theme of this year’s conference. Besides sports, Portugal is a European reference, recognized worldwide for its sunny weather, its maritime extension and tradition, as well as its tourism potential in general. It has all the conditions to be also a reference in the field of new technologies especially in terms of software management.
We will disclose our technological merit, attracting skills and combining our valences, and our environmental and cultural heritage, the ability to take an important role in the global digital transformation.

Jamaica Government Human Capital Management System powered by Quidgest technology

Quidgest and the Government of Jamaica signed a contract for implementing a Human Capital Management Enterprise System (HCMES) Software across all Jamaica Public Sector, a project led by the Ministry of Finance and The Public Service. This solution, jointly promoted by Quidgest and the local partner UHY Dawgen, is powered by Genio, one of the most advanced technology for Public Administration agile software development.

Quidgest and UHY Dawgen Chartered Accountants established a partnership in 2014. Since then, UHY Dawgen has been working with Quidgest to expand the projects in the Caribbean market.

By the end of 2015, the contract between the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) and Quidgest was signed. The aim of the current project is to implement an integrated system to manage the GoJ’s Human Capital. Focused on shared services with an integrated and unified vision, HCMES Software includes functionalities for both Human Resources (HR) Management and Payroll.

As well as other international projects developed by Quidgest, this project is funded by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the Public Sector Efficiency Program of the country.

Quidgest’s experience in similar projects, such as SIGRHARA – the Azores Government HRIS, and Genio, the platform for rapid application development of complex information systems, were crucial for choosing its system.

“It´s with great expectation that we embrace this project. There are significant challenges such as the current processes or the local legislation, for example the salaries can be processed fortnightly, we are confident that we have everything to succeed, in particular, thanks to our HR team, our local partner, and all the enthusiastic people from the Government we have worked with”, says Hugo Miguel Ribeiro, Quidgest VP North America and Caribbean, who is also the Project Manager.

The project is divided in several phases, the initial 2 with an estimated length of 2 years, to cover all HR processes for 26,925  employees and the next 3 phases to cover the remaining 120.000 Jamaican public sector employees. The HCMES Software will then be continuously adjusted to the local continuous legislations changes and reality.

 

Quidgest certified as “Bicycle Friendly Company”

The “Bicycle Friendly Company” seal already attributed to Quidgest since 2013 was renovated for 2016. This initiative, organized by MUBi – Association for Urban Mobility in Bicycle, is based upon the defense that creating cyclability conditions is everyone’s responsibility.

Thereby, MUBi in partnership with Lisbon Municipal Council and EMEL aims to recognize and distinguish institutions that offer cyclability conditions in their quarters to its employees, clients or visitors.

To be a certified entity by MUBi is necessary to meet conditions previously established by the association. However, they allow the companies to develop new actions afterward.

The seal has annual validity and it can be required on the association website.

Quidgest’s system speeds up the Parliament new member’s reception

The Parliament Integrated Management System (SIGAR) developed by Quidgest is the technological support for the process of receiving the 230 new members of parliament on October 4th.

The Quidgest solution enables to streamline the Parliament new member’s reception process, updating information of all deputies in SIGAR. During that process, the deputies can introduce or update directly their data and biographic information in the system through the form released by the organism.

Performed safely within a short time, the process automation ensure a greater reliability to the SIGAR data and a closer approach between the deputies and the #AR and the system that generates the administrative, financial and patrimonial information.

It is an evolutionary system inserted in the scope of administrative and legislative simplification policies that aims to contribute to increase the internal efficiency of the public services. Since 2009, when it was implemented, the system integrates the Parliament new member’s reception process.

The Parliament such as Portuguese Institute of Quality, Institute of Registration and Notarial Services, Tourism of Portugal, Azores Regional Government Vice-Presidency and the Institute of Financial Management of the Social Security Service belong to Quidgest’s Public Administration clients’ network.

Hugo Miguel Ribeiro reassumes Quidgest’s Human Resources Department Direction

Hugo Miguel Ribeiro, current Quidgest’s VP North America and Caribbean, reassumes the direction of Human Resources Information System Department of the company, position that he had hold between 2009 and 2012. The consultant will maintain his current role with the International Consultancy department, where he is responsible for the generation of business and strategic partnerships.

Since joining Quidgest in 2008, Hugo Miguel Ribeiro has stood out for his extensive experience in implementing ERP solutions, consultancy and project management in the fields of Human Resources, Financial and Strategic management. Hugo Miguel Ribeiro is internal auditor of quality in Quidgest, since 2003. He also participated in the implementation of the evaluation of level 3 of Maturity of CMMI – Institute Capability Maturity Model.

Besides that Hugo Ribeiro is Quidgest’ Internal Board Advisor for HR, Organizational and Change Management. Among other projects he is responsible for the implementation of the Performance Appraisal System and Careers Management.

“For me it means the retake of a project, a team and an universe of clients and partners, with a new approach and a new perspective after working in other business and geographic areas. Moreover, it is a huge challenge to maintain the team commitment on a quality and efficient service and also respond to the current technological transformations, such as mobility solutions, User Experience and Design concerns. Those concerns are seeing the light of day right away with the next system version.”

Hugo Miguel Ribeiro has a bachelor degree in Human Resources Management and has an Executive Master in Business Management by ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.

Quidgest strengthens its presence in El Salvador by implementing a management system to support the community of War Veterans

Quidgest is currently implementing a management system designed to create a centralized register to support the community of War Veterans in El Salvador. The project is divided into two phases, focusing on the census of the target population and the development of features and services that identify their needs, with the most appropriate and effective response.

To perform a project with such an impact and relevance, Quidgest decided to partner the company Soluciones SST, a reputable Salvadoran company specialized in the field. This project is also part of the growth strategy adopted by Quidgest in countries of the region, which has also developed projects in Nicaragua.

The first phase covered the census Veterans, a total of more than 30,000 former combatants. Once the community was identified, proceeded a stage of analysis and data migration of existing records. The information collected thus allows immediate access to the history of each war veteran, as well as printing ID cards. This history contains relevant data on the damage suffered during the conflict, the characterization of the current household and their health status, employment, income, and other related information of all ex-combatants.

At a later stage, it is planned to implement a pension system and scholarships for survivors and their families, based on decision support information provided by the initial system. This project arises from a donation made by the Republic of Taiwan – China to the Department of Citizen Participation, Transparency and Corruption in El Salvador.

Furthermore, the project reinforces the presence of the technological company in the country and the region, after the implementation in 2013 of a Balanced Scorecard system in the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic of El Salvador. This system was adapted to enable the Government to improve management of public policies and better use of funds received from multilateral agencies, by creating a monitoring system by indicators (social, political and economic).

In 2014, Quidgest was also selected by the National Electrical Transmission Company (Enatrel) in Nicaragua to provide, a management software that allows to monitor continuously the organization’s performance, in partnership with a Latin American brand.

Quidgest and W.Space join together to develop a Facility Management innovator platform

Quidgest and W.Space established last month a partnership agreement to develop an innovator web platform for the Facility Management market – called WebFM, which will support the available services to the real estate assets owners, occupants and managers.

This digital platform aims to support the Facility Management activity, to guarantee the application registration and monitoring. These applications arising from Facilities contacts network that are managed by W.Space in concordance with its client’s strategy.

This solution main features allow to monitor and to control the operations in buildings in real time, to obtain updated and affordable information anywhere, which will ensure an effective services’ integrated management and will provide the appropriated support to decisions.

W.Space will be more efficient thanks to this new platform because it will automatically manage the occurrences lifecycle and it will continually evaluate the service providers’ quality. Furthermore, the system concede to identify and to monitor the KPI’s eligible in each organization strategy. This is conceded by the definition of the services evaluation criteria and by the implementation of control mechanisms of the service providers’ performance. Supported on SLA’s and KPI’s indicators, the system will foster the Facility Management good practices, the contractual transparency and the benchmarking.

To Pedro Branco Ló, W.Space FM Managing Partner, the design and development of a facility management and service-desk platform “contributes to the innovation of processes and management methodologies and it will also be structuring operational improvement for medium and long term. This aims the processes’ efficiency and the improvement of client’s services as well”.

Carlos Costa, Marketing & Partnership Business Development Manager, says that “this new project is a step forward in the business development through our partners’ network in a web and cloud logic. The company technological experience in this sector allied to W.Space “know-how” aims to identify and develop essentials functionalities to optimize a solution with this dimension.

W.Space FM is a Facility Management consulting company. Founded in 2011, the company has implemented since then integrated solutions of Services and Patrimonial Management – Property Management, Maintenance Management and Automation and Energetic Management. W.Space FM recently extended its FM services activity based on Monitoring and Management Facilities Platforms to increase the incurred costs and the achieved results visibility. This FM extended services activity has the purpose to improve the stakeholders’ satisfaction rates.

Quidgest is one of the most recent members association of TICE.PT

This month Quidgest became a member of The National Portuguese ICT Cluster – TICE.PT. The National Portuguese ICT Cluster was formally recognized by the Portuguese Government in August 2009, with headquarters in Aveiro.

It aims to place Portugal in the top 10 ranking countries of the European Union regarding the weight of TICE in the GDP, employment, RDT expenditure and in the total volume of exports.

TICE.PT was created to be the concertation platform that ensures and promotes the interfaces between the academic and the business world. In addition to this platform it was developed the 560 Business Platform to contribute for the Portuguese Economy internationalization.

This Platform connects the Portuguese companies and entrepreneurs working both in Portugal and abroad.

Becoming part of the TICE.PT network, Quidgest has the advantage of having access to its “Mirror Platforms”, but also contribute to the development and international growth of the Information Technologies, Communication and Electronics area.