Mikro Yazılım (Part of Mikrogrup)
2019 – 2021
This is the story of designing an employee-led journey to initiate and sustain customer-centered transformation within a 30-year-old software company.
Customer centrism is the new hype within all sectors, yet taking customers to the center does not equate to solving their problems; it is more about being proactive than reactive. Thus the shift requires a fundamental change in the organization’s core. Together with Mikro Yazılım, we initiated a customer-centered transformation road map which we have co-created with the employees. Our dialogic approach has allowed us to co-design a model tailored to the organization’s needs; not made for them but with them. A committed task force was created by members from every department who worked with incredible rigor and effort to co-create the blueprint of a long transformation journey.
The Mikro Yazılım story showcases how a collaborative project design can trigger and sustain a company-wide, one-of-a-kind transformation on every level.
How might we initiate and sustain a customer-centered transformation that is unique to the organization’s core?
Creating a Customer-centric Model
As a 30-year-old software company with 300 partners and over 100 thousand customers in Turkey and abroad, Mikro Yazılım is one of the fastest-growing companies in Turkey’s institutional business software market.
In late 2019, our paths crossed with Mikro when we kicked off a pilot project to discover opportunities and barriers to its customer-centered transformation. As an outcome of this initial project, the teams found that to make the transformation constant, Mikro needed to restructure itself around the customers and build the necessary mechanisms. For a company-wide transformation project to work, we needed an internal task force that would work together to map the company’s needs, co-ideate for innovative solutions, and create an authentic model to scale across the company.
This was how the MOM project (Acronym for Customer-Centered Mikro in Turkish) was born. In June 2020, we kicked off the project together with the Board members and the MOM Task Force, a multidisciplinary team of Mikro employees.
The Ultimate Goal: Accelerating Mikro’s Customer-centric Transformation
MOM Project’s ultimate goal was to create a unique model to transform the company from top to toe in a customer-centered outlook. To monitor our progress, we drafted a Theory of Change and identified four levels for achieving this transformation.
– Understanding the customer
(Daily actions based on customer data, not assumptions.)
– Customer-centric product development
(Continuous listening of customers needs and developing products/services accordingly)
– Customer-centric Innovation
(Projecting customers’ future needs and responding proactively)
– Customer-centric Mikro.
(Integrating customer-centric outlook to all processes)
The MOM Task Force consisted of 16 employees from various departments including sales, software development, support, product management. As part of our Theory of Change, one of the main preconditions for this project was the executives’ support and encouragement. So, we also took them on board as the Advisory Board.
We designed a project trail of:
1. Mapping the current situation
2. Conducting a Gap Analysis
3. Designing Concept Idea
4. Activating MOM Agents
5. Prototyping and Testing
Let’s See Where We Are At: Current Situation Analysis
In the first phase of the project, the teams split up into four subgroups to map the current state of Mikro Yazılım: (i) access to data & data use, (ii) cooperation and working culture, (iii) product management and product development process, and (iv) corporate strategy. They carried one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders, rolled-out surveys, reviewed strategic documents. The teams then identified the gaps between the current and ideal scenarios. They presented their findings and their focus areas to the advisory board, where the board members prioritized actions in line with the company strategy for 2021.
Time to Generate Concept Designs
The teams with their focus in mind started working in groups to co-ideate on ideas to be prototyped. At every step of the way, we facilitated ideation sessions, delivered the necessary tools, and supported them to come up with innovative and authentic ideas that they can roll out throughout the company.
In October 2020, the teams also identified key employees of Mikro who they can get insight and support from: “MOM Agents”, who quickly became an active part of the task force.
In the concept ideation phase, the teams came up with five innovative concept ideas tackling various gaps within the company regarding product development processes, HR processes, data management, and insight generation mechanisms.
Prototyping and Testing of the Concepts
After presenting the concept ideas to the ‘advisory’ board, all concepts were green-lighted to the prototype phase. In this step, teams have developed detailed prototypes to see how their concepts affect the transformation initiative. To make sure their analysis was in line with the Theory of Change, we have identified key success metrics and developed different monitoring & evaluation methods including surveys, observation, and interviews with the teams.
Imagining 2022 and Beyond
As of January 2021, teams now had prototypes with proven effectiveness on transformation. It was time to find an answer to the question of how to embed these mechanisms in daily practices. Teams have developed an action plan for how they will be rolled out to be implemented across the company.
As part of our Theory of Change, we observed the MOM project as a whole to analyze to what extent each prototype supported the desired outcomes. Our impact assessment studies showed that there was a significant improvement with regards to two key outcomes. Moreover, the project had a remarkable effect on the task force and other unintended consequences (projects born out of MOM but not necessarily planned at the beginning, including redesigning of OKRs, generating CPIs, and redefining company principles).
Through our analysis, we developed an action road map for 2021 and 2022 that would allow Mikro’s transformation to go to the next level.
During eight months, we organized 26 status meetings, over 70 small group meetings, and four advisory check-in meetings together with the MOM Task Force. The MOM team as a task force experience a hands-on transformation process where they were actively involved in research, ideation, design, prototyping, and testing. Not only this experience allowed them to gain new skills, but it also allowed them to work together with their colleagues from other departments and enhance their way of working.
The story continues…
Putting Product Culture at the Core of Customer-Centric Transformation
The MOM Project allowed us to dive deep into the current situation and create concepts with proven effects. In 2021, our next step in the journey was to design critical interventions to accelerate this transformation. Knowing that product teams are the ultimate driving force behind an organization’s customer-centric transformation, we teamed up with them to create a customer-driven product culture that would shift the mindset, transform the practices, and change how we serve our customers.
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