Case Study
Using Lean Thinking to Revolutionize Hotel SaaS

>>Using Lean Thinking to Revolutionize Hotel SaaS
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Abstract

The hospitality industry’s leading provider of hotel accounting and analytics software wanted to accelerate new value and modernize functionality to deliver novel levels of value, usability, and quality.

The SDLC Partners team was able to help this client gain a clear picture of the patterns and practices necessary to reliably deliver value to their hotelier customers nationwide.

Collaboratively, we were able to create a customized development lifecycle built on industry-standard techniques. This gave them the flexibility and power to create a more aligned software product, faster.

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The Challenge

This first-time client had a lofty list of improvements they wanted to get into the hands of end users, which meant they needed to take a re-reinvigorated approach to their development process and systems.

Although they had used other outsourced help and consulting, they wanted to enhance their speed-to-market alongside output quality to align with what their customers wanted.

In addition to product modernization goals, they also had the desire to improve the following:

(1) improved communication and reduction of silos

(2) increased collaboration between business requirements management and engineering teams, and

(3) reduced rework.

For any organization, especially one built on a SaaS model creating technology for a niche industry, it’s critical to develop what you promised and ensure old and new customers find increasing value from the web-based, subscription service.

“Our employee survey results give me tangible evidence that our development improvements have increased satisfaction by 39% over last year for executing well. Now, we manage our development process efficiently and with excellence.”

Casi Johnson, Chief Operating Officer
M3 Hospitality Accounting + Analytics Software (M3AS)

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The Solution

The SDLC Partners’ engagement philosophy was of particular interest to this client. We didn’t come in and tell them what they ought to do. They had gone that route with other firms, and it took them further away from their goal.

Instead, our model involves looking at the plethora of best practice models available to and suggesting an approach that met the client’s specific challenges.

In this situation, the Value Stream Mapping tool, derived from lean thinking, seemed like the best way to bring the team together and uncover the gaps in value and process. Essentially, we met them where they were and helped their team create a custom development lifecycle that addressed their identified needs and those of their expanding, global customer base.

Together, we helped them identify five decisions that they believed were paramount to changing direction and making up for lost time, including:

  1. Fostering a more collaborative requirements management process: Bring appropriate stakeholders and SMEs in at the beginning of the process, helping to decrease wasteful rework.
  2. Keeping the business analysts engaged in the development process: Engage them more frequently and throughout the product lifecycle to provide valuable, timely feedback to the engineering teams, helping to steer teams more effectively before tangential work accumulates.
  3. Formalizing their standards to establish clear, well-controlled execution patterns and practices: Initially created for the core product team, ultimately this will be done for the entire organization.
  4. Developing standardized operational metrics: These will help them objectively manage product lifecycle execution.
  5. Significantly ramping up their quality automation investment: The goal is to massively decrease regression testing workload over time while increasing quality throughout the product lifecycle.
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The Results

Global surveys of the IT/development organization revealed that the development improvements increased satisfaction by 39% over the previous year regarding execution efficiency. Today, their software development process is now more efficient and executed with excellence.

In just this first engagement, they gained much clearer visibility into the state of their process and created a future-state model to represent their desired custom development life cycle.  Through our work, they could fully evolve the organization’s process from idea to product release.

Additionally, through various evaluations of specific technical aspects of the product architecture, we designed a roadmap to achieve their future-state milestones and, through these improvements, help the organization expand their product to the United Kingdom.

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“With ever-growing customer demands and market competition, it has become paramount that we improve our delivery lifecycle and SDLC has ensured that
we have done that.”

Casi Johnson, Chief Operations Officer/Innovations Leader, M3 Accounting + Analytics