18 August 2021

To-Increase Innovation Week-2 ― Why innovation is important, what we achieved, and what's next!

Helping customers address their most pressing challenges is one of our prime objectives at To-Increase. We strive to constantly improve and find new solutions by trying new approaches to help our customers achieve their business goals. And how do we do that? One of the things that we do is that we take time out for innovation. Every quarter, our professionals belonging to different personas, including Technical Solution Architects, Product Managers, Software Engineers, Scrum Masters, and Product Developers, set aside an entire week to solely think, research, and generate ideas for potential innovations. To-Increase's second Innovation Week brought to the fore many breakthrough ideas across the themes of ERP, Azure, and Data Lake, Microservices, and Chatbots.

In his LinkedIn post, Martijn Botje, Release Director at To-Increase, shared his key thoughts and insights on the second Innovation Week that he played a critical role in. He then goes on to nominate Sheetal Arya (Lead Architect), Roxana-Maria Voicu (Software Engineer), Sakshi Dhakad (Product Manager), and Diana Sukhinina (Scrum Master) to elaborate on what innovation means to them, their roles in the event, what they achieved during the week, and the roadmap ahead.

Here is what unfolded during their interviews with our marketing team:

What do you enjoy the most about Innovation Week?

Sheetal, Lead Architect: I enjoy seeing the energy and collaboration in the teams. The most exciting thing about Innovation Week is that we can move out of our comfort zones and seek out something new to bring value to our customers and products.

Sakshi, Product Manager: As a product manager, it is amazing to see ideas come to fruition even more rapidly during Innovation Week! Since I drive the Analytics and Business Intelligence domain, I was also happy that more than 50% of our innovation topics involved some analytics elements. It not only indicates massive potential in the analytics domain but also highlights the team’s aptitude to embed it seamlessly within other innovation themes.

Roxana, Software Engineer: The time and liberty to research the latest technologies and how we can use these technologies for enabling business are the things I enjoy the most. I firmly believe that information technology can make the world a better place. For that, we have to align with the latest developments in the technology space. When we are stuck in our daily routine, we lose focus on learning and trying new things. Getting an entire week focused solely on gaining knowledge and building our information technology brand is a privilege we use to the fullest extent during Innovation Week.

Diana, Scrum Master: I enjoy Innovation Week because it gives us the freedom, the time, and the instrument to experiment with new ideas. People usually are their productive best when they have such freedom. I enjoyed seeing the DynaRent team introduce breakthrough solutions ― Chatbots and Microservices ― in ERP.

What was your role?

Sheetal, Lead Architect: My role was to facilitate and come up with ideas, along with the team, based on customer pains, roadmap backlog, and new trends. I ensured that my team members had easy access to all the tools and resources required to execute their ideas. During the week, I mentored the team and coached them for delivery.

Sakshi, Product Manager: As a product manager, I provided the team members with meaningful business problems to explore based on unmet customer needs and market demand analysis. Following this definition, a cross-functional group comes together to brainstorm and solve the problem and demonstrate results. I leverage these findings as inputs to the domain vision and roadmap so that we can convert these ideas, learnings, and proof of concepts to packaged platform products for our customers and partners.

Diana, Scrum Master: Primarily, scrum masters are involved in preparing agendas, collaborating with teams, making them more focused on innovation, and organizing their time so that they can exclusively work on learning, researching, and innovating without any distractions. In addition to that, while developers develop new solutions during the week, scrum masters usually collaborate with managers or stakeholders to finalize the plan for the next Product Increment.

What does Innovation Week mean to you?

Sheetal, Lead Architect: As a Lead Architect, my job is to identify the problems faced by our customers and develop solutions to solve those problems. For me, Innovation Week is the platform that allows us to think of new ideas and test "proof of concepts" to see how we can use these ideas to make our products even better.

Sakshi, Product Manager: From a product management angle, innovation is about exploring approaches to solve a problem and trying them out rapidly to test their viability. Sometimes it also leads to identifying problems and niche areas where we could add value and make an impact in the market.

Roxana, Software Engineer: As a technical solution architect and IT specialist, I believe our primary focus should be innovation, continuous learning, and enabling business through technology. I think we can always find a solution in technology and that innovation has no limits. Innovation is not easy, but with the right focus and the right attitude, everything is possible.

Diana, Scrum Master: I believe that innovation is infinite. It's not something you achieve in three or four weeks. As a scrum master, it is more important to figure out how to make this infinite nature of innovation more applicable. That's what I value the most about Innovation Week. It gives me time to re-evaluate, reconsider, rebuild, and rediscuss ideas because the participants get an entire week to develop and innovate without any other distractions. For me, innovation is a sophisticated process wherein we reflect on how to make new ideas more applicable, more innovative, more intensive, and more productive for the team.

What did we achieve, and what's next?

Sheetal, Lead Architect: Everywhere, people face problems posed by the exponential growth of data. IT companies are constantly working towards building technologies to deal with data volume. During the Innovation Week, we focused on the themes of Bulk Copy Data for Data Insights, Data Lake Connector, Chatbots, Microservices, and Power BI connector for Business Central and explored techniques to solve data-related problems. In addition, Innovation Week provided us the space and time to do self-study on the latest technologies.

As the next steps, we aim to start developing solutions based on the "proof of concept" we did during Innovation Week and apply our learnings to make our products ready for the next-generation technologies. We have come up with some ideas that we can go to the market with.

Sakshi, Product Manager: The team built and packaged end-to-end analytics lifecycle ― from business & data understanding to data preparation, cleaning, transformation, modeling, and visualization for a pressing business problem. We will be launching an offering powered by this concept soon.

Roxana, Software Engineer: Innovation brings enthusiasm. During Innovation Week, we discovered the immense possibilities of Augmented Reality and how we can use Microservices. I wish to learn more about these topics and ideate how we can use them in the business world.

Diana, Scrum Master: The team members demonstrated the next steps for making the ERP system simpler, more user-friendly, mobile, and fast. The best part of this Innovation Week was that stakeholders, such as sales representatives, attended the demo to see the kind of innovations our build team could bring to the ERP systems and gained an insight into our abilities in developing breakthrough technologies in ERPs.             

What makes Innovation Week stand out at To-Increase?

Sheetal, Lead Architect: Innovation Week gives us the time and space to invest in new technologies. Technology is changing rapidly! It's all about the latest in the market – Cloud Native Architect, Data Lake, Azure. The question is ― how can you develop the best-of-breed products? For that, you need to think outside your existing products and solutions. And that's the opportunity Innovation Week provides! We reflect on what's available and how we can embrace the latest technologies to make our product even better ― that's what innovation is, and that's what makes it stand out at To-Increase.

Sakshi, Product Manager: Our scale-up DNA ingredients ― collaboration, passion, and enthusiasm ― come even more to the fore during such times. It is a pleasure to be part of such an exciting event.

Roxana, Software Engineer: Each person involved in the Innovation Week had the freedom to learn or build on ideas with no limitations. Innovation Week energizes us to delve deeper into various topics, brainstorm, and share ideas that will ultimately bring value to our customers and company.

Diana, Scrum Master: Innovation Week provides an opportunity for team building through collaboration, learning, and sharing ideas. The excitement is palpable in the way colleagues come together to congratulate each other on their discoveries and the eagerness they show to learn from one another. Innovation is something that we really care about at To-Increase. One idea leads to another and then another, creating a ripple of ideas ― and that's remarkable!

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Lucas Doornhein,
Lucas Doornhein,

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