The discovery service from scandiweb is based on Systems Engineering principles, with a few of our colleagues completing the course at MIT. We start with defining your business goals and those to be achieved during the project, and in the process engaging your company stakeholders, our solution architects, and our executive team with 19 years of experience in digital technologies and commerce.
Once the goals are defined, we look into your current ecosystem of tools and processes to see what it lacks or if it requires changes to achieve your goals. It is defined as a target system to be implemented and supported. The target system is expressed in platforms we can use to get to the market faster—be it Adobe, Magento, or Shopify Plus for commerce; Akeneo or Pimcore for PIM; or any other platform for marketing automation, data collection, storage, and analytics. We can work with any platform that is a good fit for your organization and matches the requirements of the target system.
Once the target system's big pieces are identified, we split them further into components and modules each having its requirements and low-level design. Additionally, we look into the data pipelines existing within your organization, detail data profiles, and link them to the sources and destinations along with the data update scenarios.
Getting a full view of the systems, their requirements, components, and modules—along with low-level designs for each of them—significantly removes uncertainty from a project's potential service provider and thus reduces any risk buffers for some “unclear scope." We have quoted project ballparks before discovery and these usually were up to 30% more than the budget we arrived at after the discovery was completed.
Granular understanding of the target system split into platforms, components, modules and sometimes even features instead of a “project monolith” also allows for smart phasing of the delivery, like delivering Phase 1 with critical features faster and with lower costs than scheduling subsequent releases in the succeeding months or quarters.
An end-to-end view of the project, its requirements, and its implementation recipe also enables you to launch a large-scale RFP process and get informed offers globally. Discovery helps to increase your buyer power and leverage better prices.
Sometimes “just do it” is a good recipe for project delivery, but the larger the organization is, the more systems and parties are involved, and the more planning and expertise are required to keep quality, cost, and timelines under control.
Discovery helps to achieve quality through our methodology borrowed from the Systems Engineering discipline—it changes your and our view on the project allowing us to see it as a whole and focus on big business goals as well as have a structure to zoom in on components, modules, each individual feature, and even the smallest tasks. Management of attention is a key skill to take care of each element and its integration into your project.
Furthermore, such an approach allows us to set business-level acceptance criteria on the project level, individual large component level (e.g., ERP integration or checkout), and also on each module (e.g., product labels). Such quality management keeps the project delivery aligned with the vision expressed in the acceptance criteria by your key stakeholders for each project component.
We have this saying at scandiweb that reads “Nothing would ever be delayed if what was required was asked in advance”. The secret to our timely delivery is simple—we foresee things that need to occur in the future and schedule their implementation in advance, but it requires the full power of Systems Engineering methodology to manage this on a large global project scale.
Among other things, we help to schedule meetings between stakeholders, department leads, and 3rd parties to define expected deliverables from each of them to unblock project evolution. As well as ensure cross-service alignment between teams during user research, design, technology, customer lifecycle, traffic acquisition planning, and more.
Discovery culminates with the roadmap expressing your project delivery across multiple streams, with visibility on when each stream is engaged and which milestones were agreed to be delivered on a particular date. What can be more calming than moving confidently along your project roadmap toward a successful go-live!
The project is as successful as the business case and ambition we can define. It is the key stakeholders who hold this vision and we have a methodology to identify and engage with them to elicit the needs and goals of your business that we can achieve together with technology enablement.
Our North Star in guiding the project, the DNA that will shape the eventual ecosystem and its processes. These are the business results to be achieved by the target system we would build. Our Business Development team will have Business Analysts working to prepare the vision, align with you, and even have an executive team participate to ideate, shape, and define this asset of top priority for further project success.
Your current business goal is an advancement from where you are now. We have to figure out the system that powers your business now to understand what needs to be changed or how it needs to be complemented to achieve your business goals. The resulting increment in the ecosystem is called the target system and we proceed to detail it further.
The target system scope may include capabilities such as eCommerce, PIM, OMS, content management and personalization, data and analytics, data gateways to connect to internal systems such as ERP, CRM, WMS, authentication, and authorization services such as SSO, marketing automation systems, among others.
Looks into how customers usually reach or can potentially get to the site, how they evolve from awareness and intent to purchase, and how they can be reengaged later, then nurtured and converted into promoters and brand advocates. We look into potential touch points onsite and offsite across display networks and channels. Furthermore, we see how marketing automation vision and ambition should be further integrated with the data layer to gather necessary data and BI tools to visualize results.
Once we've defined the structure of the ecosystem to handle customers and commerce as well as established how customers get engaged and continue to be engaged, we look into how to make them happy and how to make their experience different. Our CX team can start from heuristic research insights and then move further into user testing, wireframing, and prototype building to A/B testing and receiving informed feedback. Our methodology allows for the efficient embedding of the CX team throughout the whole project lifecycle to monitor the CX component of the delivery as well as to monitor and improve it after go-live.
If we simplify the interface, then it is data we are exchanging—be it content, product data, prices, stocks, and customer data for registration and payment. UIs have gone a long way from the command-line interface to touchscreens, but at the core is still data that is now richer than ever, with all the new data collection abilities available and heightened focus on 1st-party proprietary data. After the discovery service, we will have a clear list of data objects, their profiles, a map of the systems where the data is originating from and is consumed, and data update triggers.
In taking care of the customer, we also need to look into the experience of those serving them. We look into the roles of content managers, customer support, warehouse operators, marketing teams, creative content creators, and order processing teams to make sure they have the right tools and capabilities to achieve all the business goals that have been set. After all, only part of the elevated customer experience is the sleek and modern UI and a high-performing site. Great customer experience largely depends on your internal team's ability to deliver fast and accurate service.
Once we've understood the project goals, the target system that will support them, your customer lifecycle, the desired overall site experience as well as the needs of backend users, we can map these requirements onto a platform or set of platforms to support them. We are a partner of the platform providers that deliver proven solutions across personalization of content and commerce, PIM, OMS, data and analytics, and marketing automation.
Where the ambition is one of a kind, we build custom middleware or no-code apps to deliver a unique experience or functionality and embed it into the overall ecosystem. Platform and licensing selection happens subject to timing and budget constraints, optimizing the total cost of ownership.
Once a platform or platform(s) are selected each needs to be decomposed into a few smaller parts or components, which each has its isolated and focused nature but together represent the combined value and expectations from the platform. Management of attention from an entire platform to a component that is smaller but still significant in size helps in directing necessary resources to identifying solutions and defining outcomes.
Once components are defined, we iteratively repeat the exercise—further decomposing them into modules alongside low-level design and implementation for each of them on a technological level. This way, we have clarity on how we get from the idea to the platform and its implementation and can accurately calculate the budget and timeline.
Now, requirements are decomposed and defined from the high-level business goals onto the platform, its components, modules, and their implementation. Acceptance criteria and guidelines on how to test low-level cases (detailed tasks) have also been established. To capture them all in one system and track the implementation of features and test cases, we use RTM that captures JIRA tickets for to-dos and TestLodge test cases for quality assurance.
Originally developed by NASA, Systems Engineering is used today by Ford, Tesla, SpaceX, Siemens, and other organizations for its most complex missions. At scandiweb, Systems Engineering light version coupled with experience in Digital, Commerce, and Customer Experience helps us to set the right goals, plan their execution, and control each part of the delivery using this modern and efficient methodology. We are proud that our team members have successfully passed the official Systems Engineering course at MIT along with their peers from Fortune 500 companies.
Discovery results are practical. These are never standalone materials but ready-to-use assets in our delivery process. We usually look into contractual details in parallel and can kick off hands-on work and development immediately after discovery is performed.
We make sure each new discovery repeats the success of all the previous ones and builds on top of them. You get a methodology that has proven successful in many years across global implementations and a team that has been trained and has been practicing in the discovery service for several years. We believe that the start and planning are the most important parts of the project's success and concentrate our best efforts to ensure that.
It is not only the methodology and processes but also the years of experience delivering complex projects that shape skills and a sense of vision. We are lucky and proud to be involved in projects for the automotive industry powering retail for the top 5 brands in Europe and, globally, in projects working for many publicly listed and Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart.
We indeed handle high-load challenges and complexity well, and we are also fresh and creative when it comes to exploring new venues for the business. From the integration of AR for watch retailers to building a metaverse for a sports fashion brand, we not only see opportunities but also have what it takes to deliver them and achieve business results.