Denmark-based Gavdi Group delivers advisory services as well as design and development solutions for a roster of clients ranging from fashion retailers to car manufacturers to companies specializing in renewable energy.
“We’re advisors first and foremost,” says Gavdi Group CTO Henrik Secher Jarlskov. “SAP Business Technology Platform is the tool box that allows us to quickly and directly get to the value of digitally supporting business processes for our customers.”
Jarlskov and his colleagues go into “discovery mode” when customers come to them with an issue. They delve into what the customers believe to be the reason behind one or more broken business processes.
“What you don’t want to end up with is something that will slow a business process down or which focuses too much on the tech,” Jarlskov explains. “Instead, we prototype on potential solutions where our customers can see the impact. We make what we do data-driven, that way it’s not just based on a gut feeling but based in reality.”
One of the core tenets of SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), according to Jarlskov, is it allows Gavdi to connect multiple different platforms together for customers that are at different stages of transformation — from those using old enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to others using SAP S/4HANA, to those that are fully cloud based. Very often it is a hybrid situation connecting cloud, on premise, SAP, and non-SAP.
“The business processes need to go across everything and seamlessly bridge the gap among all the different underlying platforms,” Jarlskov says. “SAP BTP is often the glue that helps to bridge that gap.”
Jarlskov shares that Gavdi actively seeks out “fast” projects: “We ideally want projects that last no longer than two months, and that’s for two reasons. One, we want to ensure that what we embark on ends up being used, because if you invest in tech and then you don’t use it, it’s just a cost. So we want to get our prototype into the hands of those who will be using it and who understand the business values. And the sooner we do that, the quicker ROI you get on it. Secondly, anyone working on an IT project knows that there is plenty of energy at the beginning of the project. After four months, that energy has gone. So instead of having a project that drags on and results in people losing interest, we focus on making small iterations and ensuring that what we’re doing is reflecting reality and adding real value.”
“We have an exercise with our clients, where we ask them to list the 10 most important features they’re looking for from the new solution, and we ask them to prioritize them,” Jarlskov explains. “We start by adding the first two features, then stop and ask someone to use it. Four weeks later, we re-assemble and we go through the same process. I’ve done this 50-plus times and have never been in a situation where all of those first 10 features appear in the final solution. That’s because they were theoretical features without any insights in reality. Going through our process means that we know we’re adding features that will really help. It’s really important to get as close to reality as possible.”
This is why Gavdi’s role as an advisor is so vital and a requirement.
“Before 2011, there weren’t that many options — customers were in a world with one choice,” Jarlskov says. “Now, they’re faced with a multitude of capabilities and options and they need support navigating through that, to understand what the value drivers are, when they can use them, what the cost is, how much is maintenance, and what’s the value. Because now, the right solution is going to be there for 10 or 20-plus years. That’s where the advisory role comes in: customers need to understand how all these different capabilities add value. They need that insight, which is an ongoing thing. Because despite today’s technology being interesting and exciting, it doesn’t all make sense for all of our customers.”
Jarlskov shares for some customers the new world of tech can be overwhelming, which is why SAP BTP becomes part of the package of delivery. Instead of forcing customers into an existing infrastructure, Gavdi takes them through their unique “Customer Innovation Cloud” offering, whereby they develop the solution on SAP BTP and then allow the customer to get it as a software as a service. This becomes part of the process and avoids anything road blocks to value.
It also means the solution can scale. However, this approach is not always straightforward with customers.
Jarlskov says Gavdi dares to challenge the status quo: “We’re not interested in implementing the same thing over and over again, so one of our approaches is called ‘Pay 1 – Get X,’ whereby we offer solutions up to other customers — we ask them to pay for one and then they get access to all the solutions that we’ve developed for other customers. We don’t want to re-implement the same, we just want one that adds value and allows others to benefit too.”
Gavdi’s advisory role runs into education and training initiatives too. “By training and teaching our customers, we help them to take ownership and control of the platforms and technologies we’re applying to their processes,” Jarlskov says.
This approach has become a natural extension to Gavdi’s own graduate program, which the partner has been investing in for the last seven years. It gives graduates a chance to get hands on with SAP tech. As they say at Gavdi: “You do not become a racing driver by looking at cars.”