fbpx Skip to content

How people like you and me change business forever

A few years ago, Gartner coined the term ‘citizen developer’. This renowned research and consultancy company predicted that software will increasingly be developed by people from outside of the IT department. People with specific knowledge in a certain field, who have basic technical knowledge and simply want to improve and accelerate company processes to get better results.

Citizen developers

When we designed Triggre, we had these people in mind, people like you and me. We wanted Triggre to be straightforward and ready for practical usage. After all, technology is interesting for technicians, but not for somebody who wants software that ‘just works’. In Triggre, technology is completely abstracted: you just make your application without noticing the technological aspects. Triggre itself as an application is never complete. Every release introduces new functionalities that everyone can use, without technical knowledge.

Currently, new users need six free of charge  dayparts  to learn how to use Triggre,. We target to reduce current necessary learning curve and aim to make Triggre self-explanatory. Of course we assume that you have any clue in what your application should look like and that you have expertise about your profession and/or organization.

Mistakes allowed

Triggre offers many blueprints. You can use these blueprints directly to build your Triggre application or to get you inspired. For example, in the leave application all the leave regulations are already implemented. You can use these as a starting point and expand them at your desire. Mistakes are allowed, because it is impossible to make software in Triggre that does not work. You can compare this mechanism with building a house: Triggre checks whether you can open and close a door, but not where you actually placed a door. Since you’re the expert, you’re the only one who should decide if a door should be placed.

(R)evolution

We improve Triggre continuously. Moreover, Triggre is already 50 times faster than regular programming. So the only question left is: do you want to work 50 times faster with at least 80 percent of the possibilities, or do you choose yet again for a long and costly implementation process with just a little bit more options? Because not all exceptions are currently built into Triggre. But we’re aiming on a full 100 percent, that’s for sure!

We ensure that your application is compatible with newer versions of Triggre. This makes that there’s always just one version of Triggre, the newest one, that is available for everyone. Some will ask: ‘why didn’t you wait with releasing Triggre until you had developed the application so far that all exceptions are available?’ This question is understandable. But we believe in a Lean startup approach and we are already adding value to companies. Not to everyone. But to those people who do not longer accept the status quo.

Press the CC button in the bottom right for English subtitles.

We believe that times are changing in the IT world. IT will become easier and people will become less depending on IT professionals. The world is changing and organizations should get ready to change as well. An increasing number of companies see IT flexibility as the most critical component of competitive advantage. Triggre facilitates people like you and me to create tools that really help our organizations to make a difference.

Playmobil versus Lego

When I was young, my grandfather used to take me to the toy store on very special occasions. Which, as I learned later, was translation for “I just feel like spoiling my grandson”. Anyway, I would be staring at the immense wall of Lego boxes for what felt like ages. Lego for me meant infinite possibilities…

Imagination

The thing that all kids seem to naturally have, is vivid imagination. Haven’t we all been astronauts, fire fighters, police men and pirates? And how real was that imaginary world when we were younger? It surprises me therefore that there are such differences in the way that kids use that imagination.

Playmobil

Next to the Lego boxes in the toy store were the Playmobil boxes. There was a strict separation, you were either gazing upon the Playmobil boxes or the Lego boxes. I could fully understand those kids that were dreaming of the biggest and latest Playmobil toys. They do look cool, don’t they?

The most interesting thing about Playmobil is that it has so much detail. It leaves little to the imagination of how things look because everything is crafted in a specific way. A pirate ship is a pirate ship, no doubt about it.

Lego

On the Lego side of the toy store things are different. These kids are not just looking at the Lego item that is displayed on the box. The pirate ship made from Lego is a less polished than the Playmobil one, yet for Lego kids this is not a problem. They are seeing more than a pirate ship.

Lego kids tend to want a certain Lego box not only because it is fun to play with the pirate ship, they also want it because they can build it into something else. They see a pirate ship, and a motor boat and perhaps even a space ship when they look at the Lego box.

What type of kid are you?

The following quote comes from a 2009 study on Lego:

Dr Nicola Pitchford, a Developmental Psychologist at the University of Nottingham says, “The toys that children gravitate towards help promote the skills they may draw on in their future careers. […] These sorts of toys also encourage the creativity that is key to the profession as the number of constructions children can build is endless.”

Are you a Playmobil or a Lego kid? Do you want solutions that look nice at first glance but are extremely rigid or are you a visionary that sees the spaceship in the building blocks of the pirate ship?

How to Personalize your Business

When I was in university, we had an interesting class on philosophy. The discussion at hand was about whether the progress of technology was a good thing or that it would ultimately lead to the destruction of the human race. Quite the topic on an early Monday morning class…

Technological Progress

The opponents of technological progress had a simple rhetoric that can most easily be summed up as rendering humans obsolete. Everything would be standardized, automated and there would be no need for diversity. As an example take the Ford Motor Company, where car making was standardized. These days mass-production is everywhere of course, not just cars.

On the other hand, the proponents of technological advancement argued that at first indeed technology would be used to standardize production. But ultimately the machines used to do production would be so advanced that they would be able to custom produce every single item. Instead of having machines that make the same thing every time, these machines would make different things each time.

Personalized production

I believe that what the proponents were arguing can these days already be found. For example, these days you can get a single print for the same price as five hundred prints. So whether you print five hundred different prints, all personalized, or a single standardized print five hundred times, it will cost you the same. Because the machines have gotten better.

Coca-cola used a similar technique when they made their ‘Share a Coke with …’ campaign. At first, they collected names on their site and then they printed all kinds of different names on the cans and bottles. They also differ per country, so it comes as close to personalized cans as currently possible.

What’s next?

Apart from printing, there have already been a lot of other fields that have personalized their product. Think of Spotify or Pandora for example, which is arguably personalized radio. If production and other fields are already going towards complete personalization, the question that immediately comes to mind is: what aspects of our lives are next?

It is my belief that we are on the brink of a huge change in the way we think about business processes. Business processes are rigid, demanded by the systems that support them and hard or very expensive to change these days. But that too, can be changed.

Personalized business processes

In the analogy of the machines becoming better at customization, can’t we make the software used to support business processes better too? What would happen if it was easy and affordable to change your business processes often, or to make your business process personalized for specific customers?

If business processes are no longer rigid, but instead can be fluid, personalized business processes are what we are going to see. We would adapt the process to the customer’s specific needs, instead of standardizing it for an entire market. Now that would be customer service, changing your business process to best serve your customers!

At Triggre we believe that this is where the world is going; more options due to better software. And in turn this is going to drastically change the way we think about business processes. Just like personalized printing changed how we think about printing today.

4 tips to turn change into opportunity

The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades. – John P. Kotter

Organisations operate in markets where technology, social trends, and economies change continuously and without warning. This makes predicting all the changes that will affect your business in 2015 near to impossible.

If you want to deal with all the changes that will affect your organisation, it is important to be (strategically) agile. Changing when markets change. Strategically agile organisations grab more opportunities and have proven to be better at dealing with continuously changing markets.

Boost the start of 2015 with these 4 practical tips towards more agility:

1. Perceive latent changes

2015 needs entrepreneurs to deal with a lot of unpredictable changes. Not recognizing the need for change is fatal. So developing antennas to perceive changes in an early stage is important. Customers, colleagues and competitors are the most important sources to identify potential changes. Staying ahead in the competition requires adequate action to turn changes into new business opportunities.

2. Company DNA

Companies who capitalize opportunities quickly and effectively are characterized by lean-and-mean decision making. Leaders and small teams make their decisions based on the right mix of knowledge and intuition. They also have a high velocity of starting something new or stop with something old. Embedding this way of decision making in your company DNA is an important step towards more agility.

3. Bring IT back to life

Gartner listed the need for a dynamic IT landscape as 1 of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015 (source). Reacting on changing circumstances requires dynamic applications. The latest generation of model driven software development platforms lowers the threshold for companies to create and maintain flexible business applications. Without completely restructuring the IT landscape.

4. The team will make it happen

Grabbing opportunities gets within reach fast when organisations work bottom-up. With small teams that have the authority to make their own decisions. Limited bureaucracy and the speed of trust will do rest. Lets make it happen!

These 4 practical tips are ready to incorporate in your day to day business. They don’t need structural changes in the way your company is organised. It all starts with your mindset and behavior in management.

Ditch your industrialized thinking!

Industrialization has undoubtedly brought the world a huge number of invaluable innovations. Assembly lines, advanced and cheap logistics and numerous other inventions from the industrial age have shaped the world as we know it. And with ever further advancement, obvious downsides such as environmental pollution seem to be solvable. So why should we ditch our industrialized thinking?

Industrialized processes

During the industrialization of our society, processes became more important. The reason is simple, processes can be optimized. And that is exactly what has made industrialization such a massive success. Efficiency and effectiveness of processes can easily be measured and because everything revolved around “more of the same” these processes were stripped to the bare essentials. Using as cheap a workforce as one could find, repeat the same thing over and over and over again.

Craftsmanship processes

Before the industrialization, in the age of craftsmanship, processes were different. They were used as a series of steps that had to be taken in order to get a certain result, but efficiency mattered much less than during the industrial age. Since processes were not captured in huge machines or factories, they were less rigid. Which meant they could be more easily adapted. This could be seen in the fact that no item made was exactly the same. And whether you wanted something custom-made didn’t matter, since in fact, everything was pretty much custom made.

Information age processes

Much like the industrial age brought major improvements in processes stemming from the age before it, so the information age brings improvements to processes from the industrial age. The mere fact that making a copy of digital information is pretty much free, for example, has driven a lot of the innovations that we have seen over the past 3 decades. But what about processes?

The state of technology nowadays means that we can actually combine the looseness of processes from before the industrial age with the efficiency and effectiveness of processes from the industrial age. No longer are processes captured in rigid systems. No longer are they expensive to change.

Re-program your process-thinking

I believe it was Elon Musk who said “I don’t believe in process. At a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking.” And he was absolutely right about the second part. However, I full-heartedly disagree about not believing in processes. We merely have to unlearn what we have learned from industrialization.

Industrialization has taught us that processes must be rigid. Since this is no longer true, we can now reap the benefits of processes being a series of steps that produce a known result and combine that with being able to cheaply and effectively change that process to yield a better result. The tools are already available. All we have to do is do away with our old-fashioned process thinking.

5 tips for mobile business applications

Many business managers struggle with creating mobile business applications next to their core systems. This struggle arises from the many requested apps, change requests and the growing challenge to find the right developers. But also because of the experience we have with apps.

Apps that match our lifestyles

In our personal lives we experience apps that match our lifestyles perfectly. We have apps to order food when we get hungry, traveling apps when we want to go somewhere and storage apps when we need to back-up our favourite images and files. Due to this mindset and the availability of technology with fantastic user experience people expect to get the same experience with mobile business applications as well. To take the next step in the consumerization of technology and create the same experience in business applications. I made a shortlist of 5 tips that will help you as a business manager with creating value adding mobile business applications.

1. Integrate

Make sure that the data you need is available. Using an application platform helps to unlock core systems once and re-use the data in multiple business applications. Integration also prevents the need to switch between mobile applications because there are different information sources.

2. Make it consistent

Key to meet your expectations is to get what you thought you should get. This is a golden rule when delivering mobile business applications. Buttons shouldn’t disappear from one place and magically reappear somewhere else. If your menu button is top right on your home page, it needs to be there on every page. Buttons, menus, forms and all other types of functionality need to be implemented in the same way in every business application delivered in an organization. This approach saves learning effort and increases acceptance of new functionality.

3. Simplify

Workforces that are mobile mostly have a few specific tasks. These tasks and processes are best supported with a mobile device which are easy to bring along. And because these tasks are specific, the mobile business application doesn’t need all the functionality and information that a PC version has, so why put it in? Easy to use graphical user interfaces with just the information you need for a specific role or task enhance user experiences a lot. Easy switching between grouped functionality, automated tasks and doing more with less buttons increases user experiences as well.

4. Speed it up

Broad use of (mobile) business applications leads to more questions and ideas from it’s users. It’s advisable to involve key-users in the creation of new functionality. By setting up an agile process, in order to continuously improve functionality and deliver it fast, key-users will keep their interest and commitment to support the project. The lean start-up method can help you get started, which I covered in a previous post.

5. Personalize

The great thing about apps for personal purposes is that if you don’t like them, you simply delete them and try another one. This is a great feature for consumers but doesn’t work in a corporate environment. Business applications, with often lots of users within the company need to be sustainable and reliable. With the wrong tools these conditions diminish user experience. That is why (mobile) business applications need to be adaptable to a person’s specific needs. Role based intelligence and a flexible platform to create light weight portals, released with out of the box HTML5 functionality, can help with this.

5 Simple Steps towards more Strategic Agility

In order to become a strategically agile organisation you need to determine your current level of ‘agility’. The Strategic Agility Maturity Model is a useful method to find out whether your organisation is reacting ad-hoc or adaptive. Discover your level and what makes a company strategically adaptive.

A few strategic agility facts

 

  • Strategically agile organisations grow 37 percent faster and have a 39 percent higher profitability.
  • 76 percent of top executives say that the ability to quickly change an organisation is critical in achieving competitive advantage.
  • Organisations with high agility are twice as successful in introducing new initiatives compared to low agility companies.

Source: Strategic Agility, by Mark Hulshof, Sjors van Leeuwen and Jesse Meijers 2013

Five level maturity model

The Strategic Agility Maturity Model is a good way to discover on what level of Strategic Agility you are. This model consists of five maturity levels. From ad hoc to adaptive. Experience shows that organisations usually start at level 1. Reaching a higher level depends on the amount of time, money and energy invested.

  1. Ad hoc: The organisation has no formal strategic process. The creation of a strategy involves little planning. The implementation is done through an array of individual projects. Directors and managers ‘fight’ for their own departments and projects.
  2. Defined: The strategy process is defined. All departments within the organisation have a good understanding of their role and duty. The strategy process and its implementation is structured well and takes place periodically. The implementation is done by allocating budget, management and change management.
  3. Strategic: The organisation uses its strategy as a (strategic) weapon. Strategies are updated frequently and implemented under the direction of senior management. Business unit managers are in the lead. Close attention is paid to business portfolio management, innovation and speed of execution.
  4. Optimal: On this level the strategy process is a continuous process based on detailed insights. Opportunities, threats, actions and priorities are set at an organisational level (both on business unit and department level). Implementation takes place by reconfiguring and reallocation processes, people, resources and money across different business units and departments.
  5. Adaptive: The organisation is continuously learning from its strategies, innovations and actions. Knowledge and experiences are continuously collected and shared. The strategy process is optimized by input from customers, suppliers and other network partners. The speed of anticipation, reaction and decision making is high.

Reach the highest level

Once you know on what level you are, the next step is to climb up to a higher level. If you are already on level 5, congrats! If you’re not yet there, how do you move up to the next level? The other posts about Strategic Agility I’ve written are a good starting point.

How IT-savvy People make Mobile Applications

According to research among 228 CIOs and IT managers. 85% of companies lag behind on the development of mobile applications (source: Computable).

Only 6% of companies have the capacity to create mobile applications. The other 94% of companies don’t have the capacity to meet their mobile applications need. They face problems with budget, time and knowledge. And most of all, with finding the right people with specific programming skills.

95% of companies have developed one or more mobile applications in the last 12 months

Demand for mobile applications is growing. And we need to address this need without relying on the problems mentioned above. Without overburdening our already understaffed IT departments. And without taking up the same time traditional development requires. But most importantly without companies needing an extensive amount of knowledge of mobile applications.

The next step

Making IT simple is the next step in the evolution of programming. The first computers were complex to program. An engineering degree was required just to operate one. So programming languages were invented. From assembler, to Fortran, evolving to Java and C#. Usable by more people around the world.

And now we need to take the next step. To move making applications, whether based on C# or using model driven development only programmers understand, into the realm of people without deep technical knowledge. IT-savvy business people. People like you and me.

Eliminating programmers from mobile application development

The impact of making IT simple and moving the development of mobile applications into the realm of IT-savvy people is enormous. It enables us to create business and mobile applications quicker, at lower cost and without the need of scarcely available IT knowledge.

Companies become more independent, stay up-to-date and are able to adapt quickly to a changing world.

Lean Startup Method & Strategic Agility

A strategically agile organization is not built overnight. It starts with establishing a common vision, strategic priorities and targets. Realizing the new set targets is easier if the targets are sliced in to ‘business increments’ (sub-projects). Realizing a business increment means realizing a next step toward the common vision and determined targets. This approach immediately boosts agility.

Lean Startup Method

Realizing a business increment works best by using the Lean Start-up method. This method allows to quickly respond to changing circumstances. The main principle of the Lean Start-up method is that each business increment, which is a small project, is executed according to 5 phases:

  • Phase 1: determine scope, targets and priorities of the business increment.
  • Phase 2: compose a cross-functional team with multiple disciplines and preferably also representatives of customers, suppliers or other external parties.
  • Phase 3: deliver a practical business case, project plan and go/no-go decision.
  • Phase 4: create a first ‘prototype’. In case the business increment contains an IT component use an easy create and adjust business application platform, like Triggre. Create, for example, a prototype of an organizational change, a product innovation or the design for a new IT system. During this phase, the prototype is subsequently tested, improved and made ready for production.
  • Phase 5: integrate, scale up and duplicate. For example, with a market introduction or duplication to other business units, departments, markets or customer groups. Use the experiences and best practices of phase four. And become a learning and strategically agile organization.

Why flexible IT is a must-have for Strategic Agility

Flexible IT is a must in achieving the Strategic Agility we have been talking about in the previous posts. It is essential for supporting your new processes, products and services. Flexible IT also allows you to constantly adapt your IT, to support changing processes.

Many companies use standard software. This software, standard as it is, doesn’t allow you to change it. Preventing you from becoming strategically agile.

No worries. You don’t need to throw away the software you have. You just need a different approach towards your IT landscape.

The figures

Organizations with a multidisciplinary and integrated business & IT approach, achieve better financial results than peers in terms of average growth (+0.4 percent), return on equity (+58 percent), return on assets (+47 percent), return on investments (+45 percent) and EBITDA (+1 percent).

Source: Strategic Agility, by Mark Hulshof, Sjors van Leeuwen and Jesse Meijers 2013

Process and IT flexibility

If you would like to create more process and IT flexibility, you need to divide the business processes and IT systems into ‘layers’, based on their characteristics and sensitivity to change. This approach allows you to develop these layers separately. According to Gartner (2012), every organization has three types of processes that are supported by IT:

  • Core systems: these support the core processes, like an ERP system.
  • Systems of differentiation: these support business processes that allow you to make a difference in the market, like marketing, customer service and sales.
  • Systems of innovation: these are the IT systems that support new innovative initiatives.

Core processes mainly require stable and efficient systems. These systems usually don’t require too much change and flexibility. As they are not a source of competitive advantage. Sources of competitive advantage can be found in the systems of innovation and differentiation.

Systems of differentiation and innovation need to be flexible. They support processes that are often subject to change and where strategic agility is needed most. To ensure this flexibility, you need a new kind of tool. A tool which enables you to quickly develop new and flexible IT software for business processes that determine your competitive position.

Triggre was created with that in mind. Triggre is a platform that allows you to create software that can be adapted easily. A platform that is easy to use and allows you to become more strategically agile.