Connecting the whole system

Connecting the whole system in a larger room


One of the big challenges for the CIOs and business managers we work with is how to ensure effective cooperation within the ecosystem of developers, suppliers, and partners. How can this diverse mix of individual experts, with unique technical and domain-specific knowledge, be motivated to work as a true team with shared interests and goals? The changing needs of our customers have inspired us to move from simply 'being an expert' toward help building relationships, while remaining an expert. For us that feels familiar. After all, our company became successful through the commitment of 100% reliability and continuity in technology, by working together as a 'whole system in the room'.

Ten years ago, customers chose us because of our unique promise to take responsibility for the functional availability of the whole mission-critical application landscape. That is still the case, but the world has changed a lot since then. Customers are changing direction more frequently — and faster — to remain competitive, and the range of directions and technologies available as solutions has become much broader. The success of companies is therefore more and more determined by teams of experts that are able to work together and use the available technologies to tackle the business challenges.

By origin, Schuberg Philis is an engineering company, with a focus on delivering 100% quality in mission-critical environments. Our success comes from customers' confidence in our technical skills and judgment. While doing things right is still very important for our customers, in recent years doing the right things has become an important competence. In the process we have increased our contribution in the value chain: from a focus on management and control to development and adaptation. From acting in closed to sharing in open ecosystems, and from working in separate stable teams to dealing with flexible roles. Customers expect IT providers to become partners who work with them, creatively and proactively, in finding best solutions, partners who grow and evolve with them and who can function well in ecosystems with large numbers of other contributors.

Together 'in a larger room'

The field in which we work has also become more diffuse and more extensive: it's no longer limited to working on a customer's total environment, which is kept under control from our own data center. Nowadays we don't just work for one customer with a few dominant partners; we participate in the customer's broad ecosystem with a broad range of solution providers.

The success of companies is determined by teams of experts that are able to work together and use the available technologies.

An important characteristic of the digital transformation is that long-term predictability and traditional borders have evaporated: the technology and personnel dimensions of organizations are more cross-functional and distributed. Flexible cooperation with the separate specialists within ecosystems is, in our opinion, the second success factor. Innovation in ecosystems will increasingly be determined not by technology but by the capacity to learn, to create trust in one another and to cooperate well.

Share the load

The increasing importance of effective cooperation is already tangible for us. We experience it quite literally every day, because we are working in our customers' premises not incidentally but as a normal practice, and we share code and work in one another's production environment and infrastructure. That requires a good deal of alignment and collaboration, which is promoted through open communications about one another's expectations and capacities, by listening well and probing for the question behind the question. In sync with these developments, we see a fit with our way of working in partnerships. Our self-steering teams, which are about taking responsibility, sharing and openness, in which authority doesn't come from above but from within, resonate with what is needed. There's a natural atmosphere here in which people feel they have the freedom to do the right thing, where they seek to increase their impact, and do not lose sight of common interests. These are useful values within DevOps teams that are working together to get into the right flow. More attention is being given to business goals rather than IT solutions, and the emphasis is shifting from being 'the expert' to enabling successful relationships while remaining an expert.