Engineering excellence in digital transformation

Balaji Srinivasan,

Senior Vice President

Published: December 2, 2020

The world is changing rapidly for end users as they experience the world through newer ways of doing businesses, business models, products releases and service models – all of which were born to satisfy the need for speed with reliability. 

Enterprises have been driven to become more digital in reaching out to their customers, employees and stakeholders, without which they cannot sustain their position in the market. The opportunity to reach out to any stakeholder at any place, on any device, at any time is of prime importance to enterprises. We see these trends pushing enterprises to spend trillions of dollars in digital transformation. Any transformation of this scale requires a strong core of engineering excellence to be disruptive.

Going back to the definitions, what is software engineering?

Software engineering is the systematic application of engineering approaches to develop software.

What is digital transformation?

 Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.

Then, what is software engineering enabled digital transformation?

Using a systematic engineering approach to develop software, which could transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. At Virtusa, we often call this ‘digital engineering.’

Why is engineering important for digital transformation?

In this competitive world, for any organization to be on top of the game, it is important to consider that technological debt has been accumulated over the years and to plan for heterogeneity in the futuristic environment. To come out of technological debt is a very slow and time-consuming process during which the organization may face the risk of losing market value. 

Statistics show that companies with good engineering rigor can transform their technical debt into more reusable interoperable assets that can be fused with the newer heterogenous technology models of cloud, applications, devices and channels within a shorter span of time. 

So in other words, engineering buoyancy (i.e. the art of using engineering to develop new products by reusing legacy to deliver new functions, services or products) is what organizations need to stay afloat and mitigate this risk.

Factors which determine engineering buoyancy are:

  • Heterogeneity: Can be in data, infrastructure (cloud, data centers, third party hosted), applications (home grown, SAS, COTS), processes (waterfall, Agile, mixed model) and many other diversified technologies and business parameters

  • Time to market: Organizations need to be innovative and should be able to assemble their products faster, which requires perfect synchrony of the engineered components

  • Customer experience: The need to provide consistent experience through multiple channels for the customer to have a seamless transition and continuity across devices

  • Non-functional requirements like quality, scalability and reliability

  • Versatility

The more buoyant the capabilities of the engineering team, the greater the chances to sustain and grow even in turbulent ecosystems of technology, business and other market conditions. With good engineering practices, organizations are able to create and release new products at a faster pace. 

Using standard engineering practices and creating products for the future is the way forward for software engineering teams in enterprises. In other words, the concept of design documents and architectures that were practiced for long are still the need of the hour, but with a caveat of being vulnerable to change and evolving frequently unlike in the past.  

This also requires a cultural transformation in the ways of thinking and working, where silos need to be broken and open minds to adapt to newer technologies that form the new standards. As a part of this new engineering culture, teams need to shift their mindset from reinventing the wheel to making use of existing pre-engineered components that serve the purpose from either citizen developers or open sourced mechanisms.

We have experienced a lot of mindset shift during this pandemic which has accelerated the need for digital transformation. Enterprises with higher engineering buoyancy adapted and responded well to deliver value at a faster pace. 

For many organizations, this time was used as an opportunity to change traditional ways of working and bring in new engineering practices like Dev Ops, SRE, automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence into mainstream. So, for organizations looking to drive effective digital transformation, is time to evaluate their engineering buoyancy.

Balaji Srinivasan

Balaji Srinivasan

Senior Vice President

Balaji Srinivasan brings deep Techno-domain IT experience with Fortune organizations in Banking, Finance, Insurance, and Hi-tech domains. Balaji has been involved in multiple roles like in setting up Architecture teams, setting up captive centers and scaling them, being a strategist to execute large transformation exercises, mentor for startups and colleges and also teaching in some reputed institutes. He is a specialist in application design, application development and Next gen platform engineering all with innovation as the core. At Virtusa he leads the Application and Platform Engineering as core competency area along with Architecture and platform and Next gen solution development.

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