There is a lot of talk going on about digital transformation and digitization, but what do these processes actually look like in practice and what do they actually encompass?
Digital transformation was a business imperative in 2020. Literally everyone needed a transformation, whether it was a small business that needed their administrative jobs digitized or a large company that was growing fast and needed a more structured and organized operational management, CRM or a new e-commerce web. For Serengeti, digital transformation has led to a significant increase in workload, but it has also helped us upgrade our business. As a company, we have experienced exponential growth over the years – in the last 8 years, we achieved an annual revenue growth rate of 80 percent, an employee growth rate of 80 percent, and our first transformation from a one-man band to a company with five offices in different cities. Administration was piling up, and with it, human error. Thus, we felt first-hand how important it is to change our ways of thinking, from the startup-like everyone-does-everything model, to today's model, which is based on agile methodologies and shaped into clearly defined processes and structures of a medium-sized company. We responded to the challenge with FIYU, a rapid application development platform, our first product that we tested in Serengeti.
Serengeti used 2020 to gain momentum for 2021; we started this year off great, with new clients in Europe and America, new offices in Kenya and Serbia, and revenue that exceeded quarterly forecasts.
Benefits and Challenges of Digital Transformation and Digitalization
Serengeti sees digital transformation as a necessity that companies must implement in their ranks if they want to continue operating well. One of the determinants of a successful business is innovation, without which you simply cannot move forward. Just like our slogan says, we are here to accelerate business transformation, and that’s exactly where digital transformation comes in.
Furthermore, since transformation helps to better establish processes within the company, it also enables better decision-making, and – in the long run – ensures faster market entry, as well as better flexibility and scalability. The stumbling block in digital transformation is always the human factor, i.e., the culture of the company and the degree to which employees themselves are willing to adapt to the new system. Most people generally dislike change, even when it’s beneficial, because they simply do not want to spend time or are unwilling to adapt to a new, unconventional approach. It’s really important that a company has a clearly defined digital strategy and goals that should be lodestar in the process.
Trends in Digitization and Digital Innovations
The pandemic is not abating, and we are almost halfway through 2021. In Serengeti, we will certainly continue investing in digital transformation, i.e., in technologies that contribute to customer satisfaction, such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technology.
We believe that the strengthening of omnichannel retail, and thus a satisfactory supply chain, will continue, again for the purpose of a better end-user experience. Furthermore, I believe that the general investment in Cloud technologies will be intensified, because they are the basis for strengthening and connecting teams on a global level, and are now more necessary than ever, considering the already well-established remote working mode.
The transition to renewable energy sources – especially solar – is currently a strong worldwide trend. This is where we make a good conversation partner for our clients – we have experience and knowledge on how to integrate applications, cloud solutions, infrastructure, and data. The latter is in general essential for analysis, and for better decision making in the long run. We put our focus on technologies such as machine learning, IoT, the microservice architecture, legacy system modernization, low-code and rapid application development platforms and robotics, and methodologies such as Agile and DevOps.
FIYU – Shift into High Gear!
After two years of intensive development, we launched our RAD platform, symbolically called FIYU. This is our first product, and we are already working on implementing it with two clients.
The bold slogan “shift into high gear” is further supported by the promise that the platform accelerates application development by up to 80%. It is a kind of turnkey covering the frontend and backend, and its main feature is the accelerated time to market through shortening software development time, as well as better communication when defining requirements between business and IT departments. With the FIYU platform, we addressed the two biggest challenges in developing complex business systems.
The first is a clear harmonization of requests between users of the application – these are usually business departments such as HR, finance, sales, etc. – and those who develop the application – either an internal IT department or an external IT partner. The second challenge is shortening the application development time and thus reducing development costs. We see FIYU as a ticket to new clients and a new market, but also as a product that we plan to further develop and strengthen through additional innovations and modules.
We also use FIYU for our internal digital transformation, which is a continuous process. Since our core business is developing business systems, we are constantly facing challenges, so there is no lack of ideas on how to speed up and facilitate the development of new applications through the new functionalities of the FIYU platform.