Digital transformation is a process that many companies have had to painfully undergo in the last decade. CI&T has been at the forefront of the lean digital transformation that helps companies leapfrog into the digital era. We spoke to Bruno Guicardi, President, CI&T, to learn how companies can use Lean Digital Principles to further their growth.
MTS: What is your role with CI&T and what does the company focus on primarily?
Bruno Guicardi: I am one of CI&T’s founders and lead their operations in North America and Europe, We’re a digital technology partner with over 20 years of experience designing and building impactful digital initiatives for companies across the globe such as Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, AB-Inbev, Motorola, and more. Our claim to fame, if you will, is our expertise in applying Lean principles and design thinking to digital transformation initiatives helping our customers achieve speed at scale. In a nutshell. – we help giant companies move at start-up speed.
In the 20 years since founding CI&T, we have seen epochal technological advances, how has CI&T managed to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of where technology is heading?
There is no silver bullet, but we can say that with our 20+ years of experience and hard-earned success working with some of the world’s leading companies one of the most important lessons we learned is to make continuous adaptation integral to your business model. We don’t do major reorgs or “transformational” programs, but every time one of our female employees return from a 3-month maternity leave I hear the same comment – “Oh my goodness, which company is this? I barely recognize it!”.
The other lesson we learned was that it is preferable to make a greater number of smaller bets, and be ready to fully-fund the few that show potential for success, rather than concentrating on one “big bet/plan”. We find this to be a better recipe for dealing with the increasing uncertainty and complexity in the tech landscape.
MTS: What is lean digital transformation and why should companies know about its importance?
Bruno: Let’s start by building some common ground. I think we can easily agree that what really changed in the last 10 years was two things: decision power shifted to the consumer and the speed of change itself accelerated. Digital natives don’t even know what I am talking about, there were born into this new reality. But traditional companies are struggling to adapt their legacy (technology, structure, processes, and culture) to this new digital ecosystem. For decades, they have optimized for risk avoidance, predictability, and reliability. And they know they now need to optimize for customer-centric design and speed. Those who learn and respond the fastest to the ever-changing external environment are the new winners. What they don’t know is how to change the airplane engines while in flight.
Those companies should look at Lean Digital Transformation, which is an unprecedented translation of the Lean Principles into the Digital context. That not only provides insight into what your technology, processes and structures should look like, but most importantly it establishes a transformation “roadmap”. This is not necessarily a prescriptive recipe as each company will have its own roadmap and end-state. But the underlying principles that guide the roadmap are always the same: establish a long-term goal but plan and execute only the immediate next step of the journey (we advise 3-month “sprints”); introduce change gradually, at a pace that is respectful of people’s ability to incorporate new learnings; each change is measured to check for effectiveness and learnings are incorporated for future steps; every step must deliver real business value, in short, get you closer to your desired end state.
Can you give some examples of how CI&T has worked with Fortune 500 companies on their digital transformation on the macro-level and highlight some of the specific campaigns at the micro-level.
On a macro-level, I can mention how we are helping Itau Bank, one of the top 10 banks in the world with a large number of customers (60+ million), go through their lean digital transformation. A massive effort that involves the work of almost 10,000 people. After less than 18 months into their journey, they were able to achieve a fourfold increase in their speed and, more importantly, as they experience a different way of doing things their culture started to change towards more collaboration and customer centricity.
As to more specific projects I can mention the work we’ve done for Coca-Cola on the 5by20 program, an initiative we are most proud of. Women comprise approximately 50% of the world’s population and perform 66% of the world’s work, but only earn 10% of the world’s income. So Coca-Cola decided it wanted to empower five million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020, so 5by20.
Prior to CI&T getting involved in this project, the early versions were web-based. The problem, however, was that the sites were unable to support the initiatives in certain countries. For example, the lack of access to computers was a major problem – one that slowed the level of adoption. Lack of mobility was another stumbling block. When field teams would try to demonstrate the program in remote locations, they needed something that was more mobile-friendly.
I should point that while the app created by CI&T was not Coca-Cola’s first digital tool for the 5by20 program, it does represent the latest solution to a range of challenges Coca-Cola faced when trying to bring this project to life on a global scale.
MTS: How does CI&T differ from some of the other digital consultancies and solution partners?
Bruno: We have always strived to be an end to end solutions partner to our clients and help them realize the vision of being able to accelerate the time-to-market of their ideas. We took one step closer to realizing this vision with the recent acquisition of a customer experience design and strategy agency called Comrade. Now we have strengthened the set of capabilities we offer clients, and our goal is to turn ideas into new digital experiences in less than 90 days. But I should point out that there’s a difference in our approach. Often, when consultancies integrate new agencies into their business, they simply begin offering a slew of a la carte services for clients to add to their shopping cart. We all know that simply adding new companies doesn’t automatically improve the learning cycle. Instead, we are totally integrating our processes to leverage Comrade’s thoughtful approach to design and strategy along with CI&T’s expertise in cultural transformation and technical deployment. In short, we’re uniquely positioned to support our customers in their own transformation.
MTS: What are some digital technology trends you see coming toward the end of this year and into 2018?
Bruno: Increasingly, companies are learning to appreciate the importance of design in building trust – a necessity if you intend on winning the hearts and minds of today’s consumers. For example, Brazil’s Nubank is turning its attention to a new generation of digital-savvy customers using visually appealing interfaces, fee transparency and friendly language that people actually use in their daily lives. In today’s fast-paced digital environment, it takes 0.05 seconds (or 50 milliseconds) for people to form an opinion about your website. No company can afford to lose the confidence of consumers because of poorly conceived design thats confusing and not user intuitive. While we see the capabilities of digital transformation for the end user, what is complex on the back end must translate into ease of use on the front end.
MTS: Many say the role of CIO and CMO are merging? Do you agree and if so why is this happening and how can both CIOs and CMOs adapt to stay afloat?
Bruno: Gone are the days where a brand’s perception was controlled solely by the CMO, the days of “perception is reality”. In the brutally transparent world of today with bi-directional communication, “reality is perception”. In this scenario, there are a much great number of things a brand must “do” (and not only “say”) to nurture the desired perception. And this obviously leads to a enormous amount of overlapping with the teams that are responsible for building those customer interactions. Our most successful customers are the ones that are directing their energy away from turf wars to learn to work more collaboratively. With more autonomous and multidisciplinary teams chasing shared high-level business goals, instead of their own local/departmental goals.
MTS: You recently acquired Comrade out of SF? What was the strategy there and how will this expand your capabilities using design thinking, and lean methodologies leveraging advanced technologies?
Bruno: We’re thrilled to have Comrade join the CI&T family and we look forward to providing clients with a totally integrated experience. More specifically, we can leverage Comrade’s design thinking expertise to identify which are the right problems to solve. This also enables us to apply our expertise in Lean Digital methodologies to bring ideas to market quickly and at scale. On a strategic level, Comrade also helps us expand the field in terms of companies with whom we work. Over the years, they’ve worked with organizations in every sector from financial services and retail to consumer goods and life sciences.
MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Bruno.
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