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Strategic Disruption: How can we reduce risks when change is needed?

Paul Silva: "What started as an internal tool designed to improve workflow for dozens of engineers transformed into an enterprise tool with thousands of delighted users."
Falling dominoes on the left blocked by a hand, and a character with a suitcase jumping over the hand to the dominoes that haven't fallen, indicating reducing risks when aiming for strategic disruption

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A large sustainability company had a solid business in audits and compliance consulting for sustainability, but it could only scale linearly by hiring more people, which is a common limitation in the services industry. New management wanted ideas to improve EBITDA and increase multiples by implementing digital workflows.

Partners knew that a good digital tool could drastically improve revenue, but a failed tool could end up being a total loss, not just in terms of development dollars, but also in lost revenue from Subject Matter Expert (SME) time that could be billed to a client. How could they reduce these risks?

A typical digitization business requests requirements from their client, and then they work together to build and test a solution. This process comes with many risks:

  • Digitizing requires significant SME time

  • Lack of experience can result in a product that no one uses

  • The development cycle might take months or even years

  • Communication between the SMEs and the developers eats up valuable billable hours

PixelEdge Solution

PixelEdge did things differently. For companies where profit is directly linked to consultant and partner time, PixelEdge created a program to minimize upfront time and risk to the company. PixelEdge uses a mix of industry best practices to maximize success in the field and align with company values:

  1. Identify strategic opportunities and develop business cases with only a few hours of SME time

  2. Develop software with a focus on immediate impact, so that users can test functionality in the field in a few weeks

  3. With data from the field and stakeholder input, optimize the product for positive ROI

  4. Roll out the software to the all users to maximize impact and ROI


The success snowballed. Initial rollout of the tool included only one internal group at the company, but when that team was successful, adoption caught on beyond expectations:

  1. Internal adoption of the tool is spreading to more of the company’s key teams

  2. The company’s clients now use and pay for the tool directly, doubling the EBITA of any project by generating high-margin subscription revenue

  3. The company’s clients also require their third-party partners throughout the supply chain to purchase and use the tool, which increases project volume and profitability

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