By NearForm

A proven discovery process for taking digital products from idea to build-ready at speed

In 2022 more than half the global economy will be based on or influenced by digital, with 68% of CEOs planning a major investment in data & technology and 61% planning a major new transformation initiative according to a recent study from EY. Often, taking the first step can be the hardest part for companies looking to build a new digital product or service or modernise a legacy solution.

At NearForm, we focus on designing and delivering strategic software solutions whilst building client teams’ digital culture and capability. The starting point is Ignite – our proven discovery process which has helped major public and private sector companies identify:

  • The customer problem they were looking to solve to drive business impact
  • The process by which to solve it, factoring in product design and user experience
  • The technology required to implement a scalable solution

We sat down with Kevin Devine, our Design Director, to find out more about how we help clients identify these issues and the benefits that our Ignite discovery process can provide when creating a prototyped solution.

Kevin, what do you recommend to companies who are in the early phases of planning to build a new digital solution?

  1. Crucially, during the discovery process it is important to understand what it is that you want to build:
    • What problems does the solution aim to solve?
    • What already exists, if anything?
    • Who will the target users be?
    • What do these users want from a solution?
  2. Secondly, be aware that every organisation has existing business or technical strengths and constraints. Identifying these is critical when designing an optimal solution. Ultimately, no matter how innovative, every solution must be feasible and optimal within the organisation’s context.

How can companies identify what is the right solution for the problem they are looking to solve?

Choosing the right solution for the problem, and identifying the right way to build and run that solution is often quite a complex process and requires more experience than is available within a single enterprise. Many organisations struggle to get past this stage, often due to a lack of internal alignment or a lack of expertise in choosing the most viable way forwards.

Oftentimes, bringing in an external partner who can help with driving alignment on both the problem and the solution can be the missing piece of the puzzle – and a critical accelerator.

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What would you say are three main areas that companies need to look at to minimise risk when creating a new digital product or modernising an existing solution?

  1. Firstly, take the time to make informed choices regarding modern technology platforms and practices. Having a partner with deep expertise and a tech agnostic perspective can de-risk this process.
  2. Secondly, focus on alignment. The internal teams and sponsors need to have an aligned view of the problem to be solved and the proposed solution to ensure success on the journey.
  3. Finally, customer research is not enough to guarantee success. Building a solution that meets customer needs requires actionable insights. Background research is a good input in the preliminary stages, but the real key to success lies in having stakeholders collaborate in defining what the research means and how to apply it to a solution – and critically testing it early and often with users..

How does NearForm get involved to ensure that the preliminary stages of a product build or modernisation are set up for success?

Our Ignite discovery process is a rapid, product design-led engagement that is proven to:

  1. Close the gap between strategy and delivery
  2. Create consensus between stakeholders
  3. Deliver tangible assets to accelerate implementation (e.g. user journeys, prototypes, plans, architectures)
  4. Validate and de-risk proposed projects
  5. Set up the delivery phase for success, bringing in momentum from the discovery phase

Our collaborative process is a blend of product, design and technology, where NearForm comes in as an expert external voice to drive and facilitate the discovery process over a series of workshops.

After initial workshops, we create high fidelity prototypes and wireframes to ensure that our clients have everything needed to develop the product, whether it be developed in house or by NearForm.

At its core, we bring a breadth of industry knowledge and experience to the process, producing a large number of outputs in a very short amount of time.

What does the team enjoy most about the Ignite discovery process?

Digital transformation is shaping our lives, and a lot of enterprise companies are only just catching up with all the new developments. This is exciting for us as we get to be a part of some of the amazing and innovative things being developed by public and private sector companies across the globe.

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