How companies can digitise particularly quickly and efficiently through prototyping
When digitalisation is discussed in companies, those responsible often immediately associate it with costly investments, elaborate tech gadgets or even completely new business models. However, it is actually more about optimising established business processes or even time-consuming recurring tasks with the help of digital technologies. Long before the factors mentioned at the beginning or similarly extensive unique selling propositions come to mind, it is necessary to digitally transform very typical analogue business-relevant processes, data, communication, etc. in a way that is as expedient as possible.
Today, it is undoubtedly highly relevant to proceed correctly, quickly and unerringly. Digital processes of all kinds determine more and more areas of private as well as business everyday life. As a result, (potential) customers and business partners increasingly expect to be able to complete certain processes promptly online (via smartphone or tablet). Furthermore, an optimally coordinated digital transformation naturally means an enormous internal efficiency booster for companies.
In this article, you can read how rapid prototyping helps you to digitise - to whatever extent - quickly and absolutely economically.
What exactly does rapid prototyping mean?
Rapid prototyping, also called software prototyping, app prototyping or simply prototyping, basically pursues the approach of providing a real prototype as quickly as possible, which on the one hand allows for sufficient testing under real conditions and on the other hand allows for a highly user-oriented further development.
Thanks to the trial-and-error method, the corresponding models are completely ready to function on the concrete object at the final launch and are extremely low in errors. However, they can even fulfil their purpose beforehand, as they already take over the tasks intended for them during realisation.
The great advantages of rapid prototyping or of digitisation solutions implemented using this method are therefore the incomparably fast availability of the respective product and its particularly good prerequisites for practical further development/optimisation.
In fact, there is never a lack of ideas and optimisation requests in companies. And it is precisely these concerns of real users of the company or also customers and partners that flow decisively into rapid prototyping. Put simply, it is a question of finding out from the users where adjustments make sense, what perhaps needs to be completely rethought or what works particularly well. Together, we work towards a solution that exactly fulfils its purpose.
In principle, the following applies to rapid prototyping: the more you integrate your colleagues or employees into such a project, the greater the potential for success of the resulting product and the faster you will arrive at an optimal solution.
How does prototyping work in practice?
Rapid prototyping is usually divided into four phases in practice, which do not only apply to projects with the goal of digital transformation.
1. Determining the need for optimisation
In the primary phase, you form an interdisciplinary team of motivated, open-minded colleagues or employees. Within this group, the processes that are particularly worth optimising are identified. These are usually initially simple, but perhaps time-consuming processes that have little or no contact with digital solutions. Finally, it is important to collect ideas and highlight the extent to which these processes are in need of improvement. Which relevant requirements could be better fulfilled digitally and where do the specific challenges lie?
2. Realisation of prototypes
In the second phase, the prototype is implemented. The central findings of the first phase are transferred accurately into the digital world. The developers of your solution should map the individual elements or the corresponding processes in the prototype exactly as you need it. The result should be a functioning product to try out, test and adapt.
3. Testing and further development
You now take your digitisation solution into test operation. Here you validate your prototype and continuously collect feedback on its function at all levels. This will give you a good overview of where acute adjustments are necessary and what you particularly like or where further potential may lie dormant. You should always proceed with a user-focused added value in mind: The aim is to optimise the workload for the user and to minimise the number of manual processing steps.
4. Launch of the digitisation solution
Once the test phase has been completed and the most important adjustments have been made, the launch of your digitalisation solution takes place. This can be an overall roll-out or a step-by-step launch - it is important to always keep the results already obtained during the test phase, which have visibly contributed to the optimisation of your processes, at hand for further adjustments. To ensure this, you should sufficiently document the feedback from colleagues or employees and, if applicable, recorded data resulting directly from the solution. This information forms the foundation for the efficient continuation of your project. You build on it in subsequent adaptation steps.