Building Tech Solutions to Solve Company NeedsBy Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 11/06/2020 - 12:30
Q: Why is corporate culture important in a digital transformation?
AB: We are specialized in several areas of technology, including software, data and anything else needed for the development of technology solutions. However, what we have learned over time is that ultimately, technology is there to help address people’s needs. This can be done either by taking the point of view of employees as the starting point in developing the solution or by identifying and breaking the silos within a company, moving away from separated areas in to a collaborative work culture. This creates the agility that is needed for a company to overcome challenges like this pandemic and come out stronger.
LB: Our mission is to improve people’s lives with technology. All digital transformations involve a cultural change and a change in mindset. For us, this means changing the way companies relate to people. We do not just develop an app and implement it. That is not digital transformation. Companies must integrate technology and people and in that process create flexibility to change. Ultimately, it is not the strongest species that survives but the species that knows how to adapt. Today, our challenge is the pandemic but tomorrow it could be a brute change in the rules of business or a radically different technology.
Q: What is an example of how you created agility in a client’s business?
AB: In early 2019, we worked with a company in Mexico that manufactured and sold products through physical branches. Baufest worked on how it could sell the product without these branches, providing direct delivery and installation at the customer’s home. We designed a business model around that. Then we carried out UX research, interviewing customers and non-customers of this company to determine how this process would best fit the customer’s preferences. We then digitalized the model employing cloud, mobile applications and a chatbot. The company was now ready to provide these services in one state of the country, with expansion possibilities on the horizon.
LB: We recently worked with an important bank in Mexico on a solution that would provide real-time notifications and suggestions to its clients. The idea, for example, would be that when customers go to an ATM, they would get a notification suggesting that instead of taking out money from this one card, they could have access to another with a better line of credit. Another example is that a customer might need a blood test and proactively the application would send them a location and offers that could provide a better deal.
The client had been working on this project for almost three years. We created it in less than a year, integrating data analytics and the bank’s CRM. Today, the system is helping the bank generate superior value by being closer to its clients and offering them visibility on their actions. Especially during this pandemic, the use of this notification app has exploded.
Q: Baufest has also built solutions for the primary sector. What projects have you had in this area?
AB: In the energy sector, we have implemented solutions that combine IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence to help generators and distributors in a large Latin American country become more efficient. They can detect faults remotely, finding problems in houses or with the energy grid. This type of real-time monitoring is very cost-saving.
We have also worked with manufacturers that provide products for the oil and gas industry. We developed solutions that track orders and report quality issues. In the mining industry, we developed a series of mobile applications for operators and transporters of a large Chilean mining company to optimize communication.
LB: We have also helped oil refineries with predictive and preventive maintenance through better monitoring. By optimizing the planning of maintenance operations, these companies can reduce downtime. Maintenance, particularly inefficient maintenance, is extremely costly considering that these companies are processing product worth millions of dollars on a daily basis.
Another company we worked with was a major tire manufacturer with a large regional presence in the US. Because of the pandemic, the company had to reinvent its near to 500 branches. In some cases, it needed to move them, while in others it needed to shut them down. In several cases, the company could open new branches. We conducted a thorough data study, focusing on the behavior of people during these times using tech such as speech recognition. We helped the company determine the best action plan for its branches.
Q: How do you overcome the challenge of scaling up tech solutions?
AB: We have been doing software for 30 years and some principles remain the same. The premise is that software needs to be well designed to have a solid architecture. Fortunately, tech has been evolving, making it easier each time. With the cloud, you have more facilities to mount new software. You can scale more flexibly while controlling costs. This goes both ways, depending on whether the company wants to add or remove space or capabilities.
LB: We have gained a great deal of experience in this matter. We built payment solutions for web companies that facilitate millions of transactions per second. Right now, we are developing a solution of this kind for various banks. We built the customer service of a major bank in Spanish-speaking America that allows an online response, not just through phone calls, to hundreds of thousands of requests a day. One of our specialties is building architecture for digital businesses. This requires a robust product that is tested, validated and fit for growth. We also modernize existing applications. We take an application that has been running for 10 or 15 years and construct a new version that does the same thing but with new functionalities and better performance. We can do this without shutting down the service to customers.
Baufest designs and builds technological solutions that transform businesses, allowing smarter and faster business decisions with simpler and more secure IT operations