At Control Group, we help some of the biggest brands leverage technology to solve complex business problems and build engaging customer experiences that activate new sources of revenue. Over the past year we have been working with a Fortune 50 national retailer to transform their marketing operations and position the organization for future agility and growth.
In speaking with key leadership early in our engagement, it became evident that in order to be successful and deliver meaningful and lasting results, we were going to have to solve for a key problem that is common amongst many clients we work with: tension between enterprise IT and the business. On the one hand enterprise IT has traditionally focused on implementing policies and controls that provide security, minimize risk and ensure that technologies are ready for the enterprise environment. The business, on the other hand, is commonly tasked with finding the best solutions to increase the speed of bringing new ideas to market. While these two forces can often seem contradictory and at odds with one another, strategies can be employed that harnesses the entrepreneurial spirit of the business to innovate and try new ways of doing things and maintain the necessary organizational controls – solving for a seemingly intractable problem and bringing about the best of both worlds.
Sustainable innovation requires inherent tensions to be managed appropriately, and for this client, we developed an innovation framework built on some core principles:
Staged Innovation Process. The culture of innovation at this client is particularly vibrant but it required focus and an outlet for creative ideas to be acted upon and executed. Control Group spent time understanding existing business processes to identify what worked well, pinpointed opportunities for improvement and crafted an innovation process tailored for the client and rooted in methodologies Control Group has used successfully time and time again. This process clearly articulates how new ideas progress from concept to prototype to limited pilot to scaled production launch and incorporates key stage gates and departmental sync points along the way to ensure the appropriate controls are in place.
Strategic Alignment. With an innovation process defined, we worked to build support amongst the client’s key leadership as well as their strategic partners to galvanize the framework and unite all stakeholders around the shared vision for the future. From executives to managers to line staff, we ensured a consistent message about the significance of work ahead, the value to be gained and the importance of each employee’s engagement was being delivered.
Controlled Experimentation. To promote inclusiveness and employee engagement, Control Group built a sandbox environment to allow the business to evaluate new technologies, simulate and test future in-store interactions and replicate incumbent technology ecosystems. The environment was built leveraging the organization’s approved technologies, is aligned with the enterprise IT’s preferred technology stack to ensure future compatibility and support and incorporates best practices from enterprise architecture, integration services and agile Software Development Life Cycle principles. This environment will serve as the rallying point for marketing innovation and toolkit for getting new ideas to market; allowing stakeholders to remain hands on in the innovation process, providing full visibility into early wins for the business and customers and functioning a staging ground for production planning and readiness.
Managed Implementation. At Control Group we understand the complex issues that exist with enterprise deployments and believe that success is not simply a system implemented to specification; it is a great user experience for customers and employees. To ensure that this client reaps the full benefits of their innovation framework and platform, we’ve brought to bear our comprehensive program management approach to manage change through strategically aligned work streams, established roles and responsibilities and formal governance processes.
Through working collaboratively with our client and understanding their core needs, we’ve found a way to harmonize the aspirations of the business with the requirements of enterprise IT. Together, we are building a platform to reach more people, more inventively and more effectively. And beyond the technology transformation, we are helping to develop a sustainable innovation practice within the organization that will unlock future growth opportunities for the business for years to come.