With digital transformation, is speed a value or a curse?

Illustration of a speedometer
September 10, 2021


Slow and steady wins the race, right? Not in digital. With the current speed of change, digital transformation needs to keep up.

The relative speed of digital production

Look at the way many people consume TV now. Or shop. Or listen to music. Or communicate with friends. The list of activities impacted by the ubiquity of digital technology is notably long.

We’ve been developing products and experiences to keep pace with this digital transformation of society for the past two decades. New coding languages and organizational structures have supported efforts to keep pace. Speed has become the most important aspect of any project. 

Why speed should be your number-one priority

At The Collective, we support speed as a value pillar. We see speed within every request for proposal. The desire for speed among our clients has never been more prevalent. After all, you know there’s a clear change in the market when the acronym MVP gets thrown at you in kick-off meetings.

Regardless of this cultural switch-up, we endorse the value of going fast. Getting a website or application in the market quickly is now the status quo — especially now when more of the world is online than ever before.

Uber’s dominant market presence originates partially in its position as the first rideshare app to reach the market. Its first incarnation may have had laughably poor UX and functionality, but it was out there, gathering all-important user feedback and quickly updating its experience. The same applies to our clients.

Illustrated icon of a scooter

How to develop products quickly (and successfully)

In years gone by, I would have pushed clients to audit their peers, iterate the UX and plan roadmaps. By contrast, we concentrate our discovery and define phases into a few short weeks, punctuated with workshops where we draw low-fidelity wires and iterate taxonomies and journeys on virtual boards. The idea, of course, is to get something into the hands of our client within weeks — a proof of concept that is malleable and that can be iterated with their input. After all, we know digital and they know their industry better than us.

There are many benefits to this process.

  1. The customer experience is better with the client’s input. 

  2. There's less frustration in terms of stakeholder management, as they don’t need to wait until the end to understand what they’ll get. 

  3. Developers get to chime in with their valuable suggestions. 

  4. The end-product is ready within a few months. 

The tools you need to move quickly

The Collective knows what works for our customers, and we know how to choose the right tools for the job. Not everyone needs a sledgehammer; some prefer — and clearly need — more versatile tools that support the company’s speed and priorities. A headless approach with a content platform at the center allows for third-party integrations on a cloud-ready set-up. Not surprisingly, we are seeing an increased trend in the tools that tick these boxes.

Here’s just one example. We recently worked with a bank in Saudi Arabia to redevelop their digital presence with this headless architecture using Contentful at the center. Seeing the smiles at the board-level reception of its demo has led to larger discussions about applying this solution across other projects. This means the team can get projects live within months of kick-off, move more quickly than other banks to market and validate the ideas on its product development roadmap. 

Read more about how agencies can support your company’s journey to digital-first operations and increased revenue. 

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