Towards corporate innovation

e-Business is changing the way of doing business around the world and providing numerous opportunities for corporate IT in order to create competitive advantages. In this exclusive interview, Julian A. Weber, CEO, SELISE rockin’ software talks through the importance of e-Business development to corporate innovation.

 

How do you assess the e-Business sector globally?

I don’t see e-Business as a sector, it is more of a very unique way of doing business. You would notice that one of today’s trending buzzwords is “Digital Transformation” which states how conventional business processes get replaced by digital ones. Thus, e-Business is everywhere, in every sector and every organizational unit. My current focus is mostly directed towards the managerial frameworks behind successful Corporate IT.  Here, I see a big gap between the traditional understanding of e-Business and modern e-Business.

 

How does modern e-Business differ from traditional e-Business?

Traditionally, companies manage their IT as a decoupled department. The principles that traditional CIOs apply follow objectives such as cost and quality management. The modern approach, however, decouples non-creative IT from creative IT. In other words, in modern e-Business we separate the concern of innovating through IT from the concern of managing IT as yet another commodity. We allow for lean management on the IT backbone but at the same time engage business strategists into a “boundary free” application development process.

 

 

What is the importance of e-Business development to corporate innovation?

E-Business dictates how innovative a company gets to be in the long run. If IT priorities shift away from increasing internal efficiency and customer happiness, companies are at risk. Thus, I believe e-Business must not be a CIO’s concern only. CEOs of multinational corporations, however, often struggle when trying to innovate through their IT departments because the managerial mindset in IT departments often contradicts the principles of Corporate Innovation.

 

How can organizations prepare the managerial mindset to innovate?

Managers have to first understand which parts of their IT are commodities and which parts are leveraging their business. Furthermore, IT decisions should not be taken from a top down but rather from a bottom up approach. End users are to be considered the final source of truth when evaluating any organizational process. I am not only talking about end-consumers here. Literally, every individual who engages with the organization through a digital interface is focal to providing inputs for innovation.

 

What is the current focus for SELISE?

SELISE helps Multinational Corporations and Government Agencies to achieve Innovation through modern applications. We constantly draw on the best practices from the New Venture industry such as the ones in Berlin, New York or San Francisco. Our toolbox contains C-level consultancy as well as cutting edge software engineering. We recently incorporated our branch in Dubai in order to serve the growing needs of our Middle-Eastern and Asian customers better.

 

How do you help businesses make better software?

Better software results in better business. When we build software we help businesses to achieve their business goals rather than following rigid requirements. Our strong advantage is that we constantly work with startups who are pushing the limits in terms of technology, user experience and time to market. This requires a strong understanding of latest market trends, which again is of high value to the established businesses that engage us.

 

You say: “In IT, you sell business not technology.” Could you elaborate more on this?

An IT vendor in modern e-business either sells commodity by saying: “I assure you 99% uptime and this will cost you X Dirhams.” or the vendor sells innovation by saying: “I provide you with a solution that reduces the enrollment time of a new customer by an average of 30%.” In real life, those statements may be more complex, however, this is to say that the time of product vendors that sell features is over. When we specify the scope of a software development project, we provide our customer with a set of so called “user stories”, that clearly reflect the software’s actors and their goals.

 

What are the new trends expected within the industry?

I could speak for three hours to explain small trends in e-commerce, marketing, recruiting or even in mobile gaming. Looking at the big picture tells us that the current wave of Digital Transformation lets century-old value chains fall apart. Thus, services and products are built and consumed in a world where there is no more dependency on the location of market participants. This allows millions of new people to contribute to the global e-Economy. Today, all you need is an internet connection and cheap payment facilities in order to be part of it.

This, by the way, is also a big economic opportunity for the UAE which already provides a great regulatory environment for new digital businesses. In my opinion, the only blocker for the UAE to become the Silicon Valley of the Middle East is related to their connectivity issues with regards to VOIP and payment, and I believe they will soon be overcome.

 

 

About Julian A. Weber:

 

 Julian A. Weber is the Founder and CEO of SELISE rockin' software, a group of companies that develops cloud based enterprise software, web portals and mobile apps for multinational corporations. He established SELISE right after finishing his studies in 2010. Today he employs more than a hundred employees in four different locations.

Julian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Business Innovation, both from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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