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The pandemic expedited the implementation of technologieshttps://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/pandemic-expedited-the-implementation-of-technologies.aspxThe pandemic expedited the implementation of technologies<p>​​Petr Štros believes that this year’s technological trends will feature long-distance deliveries, automation and data-driven companies. These will help companies deal with the lack of manpower, says the boss of Cleverlance.<br></p><p>The last two years were, as far as the world of technology is concerned, a bit like “dog years” – each saw as much change as seven normal years. Or, at least that’s how the boss of Cleverlance, a domestic technology company, sees the pandemic’s impact. He believes the during the pandemic it was possible to successfully implement technologies into practice at breakneck speeds – the rate of changes in many companies was previously unforeseen. And so everything is moving ahead at an incredible pace.<br></p><p> <img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/45.jpg" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />In his commentary for CzechCrunch, the boss of Cleverlance – a company in Aricoma Group which recorded <a href="https://cc.cz/ceske-cleverlance-spadajici-do-kkcg-karla-komarka-hlasi-uspesny-rok-utrzilo-14-miliardy-korun/">1.4 billion Czech crowns</a> in revenue – spoke about the technological trends that we’ll see in 2022 and about what companies should focus on if they don’t want to get left behind or even strive to be part of leaders in technology.<br></p><p>Technology trends accelerated by the pandemic on one hand further deepen the lack of IT specialists on the job market who would be able to help implement new technologies. On the other hand, these can help many companies deal with the lack of experienced employees of many other professions.<br></p><p>Communication technology allows them to “remotely” make use of employees who are outside of the standard geographic range of their branch offices and plants. At the same time, it is possible to for instance “algorithmize” the key expert know-how of the organization which was previously held by now-leaving senior employees, and in this way make it available for the next generation.<br></p><h2>Remote delivery of services</h2><p>Working from home (and long-distance work in general) allowed companies in many professions to also incorporate employees into their teams even if they are from areas that would otherwise be out of the range of their branch offices. This “decentralization” of work is also accompanied with the ability to deliver services and products “remotely”, without the need to be physically present at a customer. IT and tech consultation companies from India, Vietnam, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, North Macedonia, Poland and the Czech Republic nowadays commonly provide their services to companies from Western Europe and North America.<br></p><p>The sale of clothing and groceries online is now also common, and based on the Cushman & Wakefield consultation company this is set to even double year-by-year. Car manufacturers as well as used car dealerships are introducing platforms for online sales, allowing customers not only to choose their vehicle but also to take care of financing, signing leasing contracts, paying the first instalment as well as agreeing on the method and location of the handover.<br></p><p>In 2022 the ability to make digital deliveries will also be indispensable for companies where previously one could not even imagine this development. That is why IT suppliers are currently dealing with, among others, a growing customer interest in e-shops connected with client systems and digital-marketing platforms that can customize their offers to specific visitors.<br></p><p>Demand in the area of tailor-made software is also on the rise, since companies need to create customer portals that would allow them to provide their digital services. However, it is well known that the IT job market is by now nearly completely saturated. So, is it possible to meet the growing demand for IT services?<br></p><h2>Automation and artificial intelligence</h2><p>The terms “automation” and “artificial intelligence” are most frequently used in the context of the digital transformation of companies. But another important role of these is the ability to “algorithmize” the key expert know-how of the organization which was previously held by now-leaving senior employees, and in this way make it available for the next generation.<br></p><p>It is worth noting that not only IT may need to deal with a lack of qualified employees. The boomer generation as well as a part of generation X are in the process of retiring. In 2022, the median age of the Czech Republic will reach 43 years (meaning that half of its inhabitants will be younger and half will be older). The rate at which experienced employees are being replaced by their younger colleagues is probably the fastest it has ever been.<br></p><p>Storing the expertise of departing experts and keeping it in the company so that it can be used in the future is something artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic decision-making can help with. One advantage of software with AI elements is that it is capable of machine learning. This allows technologies to help companies not only retain their know-how, but also to develop and use it much at a much quicker pace in turn leading to a competitive advantage.<br></p><p>Typical areas where these technologies are used include cross-selling and up-selling, assessing loan requests as well as maintenance planning and management. They are used for instance to flexibly adjust prices for individual groups of customers. In the last two years, they also expanded to other areas and this trend will accelerate further in 2022.<br></p><h2>Data-driven organizations</h2><p>Information systems for decision-making are a well-established concept by now. IT has long provided support for company decision-making through the introduction of ERP systems, management information systems, business intelligence and similar platforms.<br></p><p>In the past, systems for the support of decision-making were used primarily for easy access to data, “drilling down” and breaking down information into details and analysis from multiple perspectives. However, the conclusions were left up to humans.<br></p><p>Nowadays, the trend has shifted to “single-purpose” online dashboards that analyze the entrusted data and use knowledge models to provide users primarily with indicators, conclusions and recommendations based on the obtained values. These are applications that are capable of identifying anomalies, pinpoint them and recommend a suitable reaction without requiring users to search for these anomalies in the data themselves or to analyze their causes.<br></p><p>Examples of such services in 2022 will include, for instance, customer service management, real-time online sales monitoring, productivity tracking, stock management, appraisal of real property values and assessment of the current status of a software product in development based on an analysis of the timeline of results from regular tests. In 2022 the rate at which these cloud-based services start appearing on the market will see a considerable increase. For companies, this means they shouldn’t be afraid of providing their data to trustworthy third parties – parties which are already preparing for this today and are massively investing in IT security.<br></p><p>source: <a href="https://cc.cz/pandemie-zrychlila-zavadeni-technologii-firmam-pomohou-resit-nedostatek-lidi-rika-sef-cleverlance/">CZECHCRUNCH</a><br></p> ​<br>
For DevOps, it is important to completely change one’s mindsethttps://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/DevOps-mindset.aspxFor DevOps, it is important to completely change one’s mindset<p>​​​​The exact definition and delimitation of DevOps is a very difficult question, even for experts who have devoted half of their professional career to the field. In this short article, we will attempt to at least briefly explain what the role entails and on the other hand what it usually avoids. The main focus here lies on developers, system administrators and implementation managers (i.e., the so-called operations area).<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/DevOps_title.jpg" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" />In the early days of technological development, a project team making applications consisted of developers analysts, testers, system administrators, as well as network and hardware specialists. And half of the possible obstacles to success could be avoided by just having a coordinated team. Simply put: The people responsible for development created an application (the developers) and handed it over to system administrators, who then implemented it (possibly using automated tools) on hardware in the server room.<br></p><p>Then, not so long ago, we saw the rise of so-called agile development. This rapidly sped up the whole process, and the communication between developers and operations became increasingly complex. At that point, minor problems could lead to a product (or its update) not being delivered to a client who is anxiously waiting for it. Or, the delivered product (or its update) could have major issues. The reason for this was, and often remains, communication between various parts of the team.<br></p><p>As we said, there’s developers and then there’s operations. These two “camps” do strive to communicate with each other, but in practice it’s very complicated. Each of them speaks, in some sense, a different language or at least a different dialect. What might be simple from the perspective of development might not be implementable on the servers, where one needs to take the infrastructure into account. At the same time, things which are easy to handle on the infrastructure side could be a difficult nut to crack for the developers.<br></p><p>What would happen if we were to take a developer and sent them to study operations? Or, from the other side, if we were to take someone from operations and sent them to scout out what’s happening in development? That is how we get someone who could call themselves a DevOps specialist. But for them to “earn” the title, they need to understand more than just what the product is made of and where it’s implemented. They need to, first and foremost, change their mindset.<br></p><p>Here we’re referring to a whole range of procedures which automate and standardize the processes between the development of software and operations, so that it is possible to build, test and release SW more reliably and quickly.​<br></p><h3>New Mindset + New Tools + New Skills = DevOps​​</h3><h2>You build it, you run it!</h2><p>The basic idea is that DevOps isn’t just about technology – it’s a whole development paradigm. To make sure that a company works as it should, one needs to change not only the applications they use but also the whole approach to development, testing and implementation into production; in fact, the way we think about this general process should change.​<br></p><p>It used to be an utopian dream, but today it is in fact possible to rent whole clusters, including administration and connections to various services such as databases (e.g., PostgreSQL, MySQL and CockroachDB), queues (e.g., Kafka and RabbitMQ), analytical systems (Hadoop), logging and monitoring infrastructure (Elasticsearch, Kibana, Grafana) as well as various IoT services and REST API. And how else to speed up the whole process from the creation of an application to its implementation than by knowing how to run these applications on your own.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/DevOps1.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" />​​<br></p><h4 style="margin-bottom:10px;font-family:source-sans-pro, open-sans, sans-serif;font-size:16px;color:#888888;text-align:center;">Hybrid Cloud Archite​​​​cture <br></h4><h2>Virtual Private Cloud</h2><p>If a company is operating an application, the trend nowadays is to use the cloud rather than rely on one’s own on-premise infrastructure. Today, cloud infrastructure can be optimized for high availability, low latency, and it is even possible to set it up in a way where for instance customers fro the Czech Republic will use a data cloud in Germany whole French customers will use one in France. Modern clouds meet high security standards, and another advantage of them is that it is possible to make use of a range of technologies associated with their operation as a service model. In practice this means that companies don’t need to employ their own specialists who would be responsible for infrastructure including its maintenance and installation, since they get all of that as a service. They then operate their applications on this infrastructure in the form of so-called microservices. This leads to savings in terms of both manpower (which is at a premium nowadays) as well as costs. So, it is important to make sure new applications are developed as cloud-native. The most frequently used clouds are Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/DevOps2.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" />​<br></p><p></p><h4 style="margin-bottom:10px;font-family:source-sans-pro, open-sans, sans-serif;font-size:16px;color:#888888;text-align:center;">Internet of Things Arc​hitecture<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></h4><h2>Microservice architecture</h2><p>Most applications used to be developed as monolithic programs. However, today applications commonly consist of smaller parts which communicate with each other through a single interface. The advantage of this? Monolithic applications might in some cases need, say, fifteen minutes to start up, while smaller apps only take dozens of seconds. For microservice architectures, we always strive to have them implemented in Platform as a Service or Software as a Service modes.​<br></p><p>One popular methodology in this area is the Twelve-Factor App, which is essentially a set of rules that make development significantly easier to track and manage as long as the whole team follows them. It describes how to handle code, where to store configurations, what to do with backups, builds, how to deal with scaling, logs and administration.​<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/DevOps3.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" /><br></p><h4 style="margin-bottom:10px;font-family:source-sans-pro, open-sans, sans-serif;font-size:16px;color:#888888;text-align:center;">Caching Cluster Arc​​​hitecture<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></h4><h2>Serverless architecture</h2><p>Another highly interesting foundation of the architecture of modern applications is to have them operate as serverless. Basically, one takes part of the code from the aforementioned smaller applications – code which could be more resource-intensive or might not be required to run continuously – runs it through an interface provided either by AWS (AWS Lambda) or Azure (Azure Functions), these then start small subprocesses, compute the results and return them back to the services. Scalability can also be applied on the level of functions which can be run in parallel and independently of each other.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/DevOps4.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" /><br></p><h4 style="margin-bottom:10px;font-family:source-sans-pro, open-sans, sans-serif;font-size:16px;color:#888888;text-align:center;">Serverless Applic​​ation Architecture​<br><br></h4><h2>Automation</h2><p>There’s another characteristic of DevOps that we didn’t mention so far: laziness. DevOps strive to maximally simplify their life through automation. And automation is the alpha and omega of today’s DevOps development. We automate implementations, work processes, testing, infrastructure, even the management and revision of user rights and accesses... essentially everything. When to start with automation? As soon as an activity needs to be carried out more than once.<br></p><h2>Automated testing of code </h2><p>In order to expedite development while making sure that we didn’t break anything anywhere, we need to have everything covered by tests prepared by the developers themselves.  Taken ad absurdum, this idea implies that first one should prepare a test and only then the function. After all, Test Driven Development is by now an established notion within software development. And writing tests on your own instead of waiting for testers is part of the aforementioned DevOps mindset.​<br></p><p>In the world of Java, we do that using JUnit, Mockito, MockMvc, Selenium, Sonar etc. So there’s plenty of tools, but the thing that’s sometimes lacking is the willingness of developers to spend time on this.<br></p><h2>Automated workflows ​<br></h2><p>Workflow automation is done using tools such as Jenkins (CI/CD), GitLab, Container Registry, Jira. In practice, this means that a developer puts their code in GitLab, the automated pipeline runs unit tests on that, compiles the program and implements it on the server environment, where it is then continuously monitored. Ideally, everything really runs on its own.​<br></p><h2>Automated infrastructure: Infrastructure as code! </h2><p>An ideal end result is to have everything always run the same on all environments, and to be able to create these environments with just a single click. Nobody ever needs to install operating systems; everything should be scripted using templates. In order to create infrastructure as code, we first need to shield the application from the hardware. This is done by applications such as Docker and Podman. We take a created application and implement it in some ecosystem – most frequently Kubernetes or OpenShift. Everything can also run on-premise, but that’s not really what DevOps is about. Both Kubernetes and OpenShift can be launched in just a few clicks. Kubernetes is hosted by all larger providers (AWS EKS, Azure AKS, and Google GKE).<br></p><p>We have several options for the infrastructure. We can “generate” an infrastructure from the comfort of a web browser or, as the preferred option, create a template that will let the provider create the infrastructure directly through an API layer.​<br></p><p>The most frequently used universal template software is Terraform. It has connections to all larger providers, but it also possible to use on-premise servers. It is easier and often better to write these templates in native scripts (for AWS these are, for instance, CloudFormation in YAML a JSON, or newly AWS CDK, where it is possible to describe the infrastructure for instance in JavaScript, JAVA or Python). This allows us to maximize the provider’s capabilities. The template can then be launched, and can even be used to create an identical environment multiple times (which is good for various dev/test environments). The applications themselves can be delivered into the environments using all the usual tools by Jenkins, Gitlab, Bitbucket.​<br></p><h2>Measurements </h2><p>Our application is now in production, but that’s not the end of it. We need to start evaluating and analyzing it, debugging, and to do so we need continuous metrics and analytical tools. ELK Stack is a bundle of tools that can help us collect logs and visualize them. Kibana is a tool that allows us to browse through the logs in a visualized form all in one place; this is great for determining an application’s performance as well as identifying the cause of problems. Aside from error filtering, it is also capable of displaying CPU metrics etc.<br></p><h2>Methodology </h2><p>While the waterfall approach that rose to prominence in past years and was frequently used then does allow for careful development, it is not as great when it comes to speed and agility. That is why agile methodologies have become so popular nowadays; these allow us to split development into small chunks, which can then be handled independently. if you think about it, that’s basically the foundation for the whole DevOps philosophy – from infrastructure up to methodology and vice-versa. This means we do daily stand-ups and development takes place in short sprints. The standardization of the whole development process is important, and this covers analysis, development, testing, implementation as well as monitoring the performance of the completed application.<br></p><h2>Conclusion </h2><p>The success of a DevOps project requires a combination of expertise from various areas, high-quality technologies, know-how from the field, but first and foremost a change of how a team works and how developers think. But once all of that is done, the results are worth it. A well-setup project allows for faster innovation, can quickly react to business developments and requirements, teamwork is more efficient, the overall code quality is better and we get more frequent releases.<br></p><div><p>Source: SystemOnLine​​<br></p></div>
Why consultants buy creativityhttps://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/droga5.aspxWhy consultants buy creativity<p>​​​At the beginning of May, New Your Times reported that the consulting company Accenture acquired the creative agency <a href="https://droga5.com/">Droga5</a>. This agency, with its 500+ employees, will become a part of <a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/about/accenture-song-index">Accenture Interactive</a>.<br></p><p>There are two reasons why this merger is interesting. First off, a business focused on strategy and consulting has joined forces with a creative company. And second, creativity as a tactical tool is experiencing a massive comeback after the era of consulting companies.<br></p><p>Droga5 is currently one of the most famous independent advertising agencies in the US. This company, founded by David Droga, represents creativity in its purest form. And now it is to intertwine with the culture of consulting and technological companies. These worlds could not be farther apart. One produces top-quality products in the form of TV spots and campaigns, the other makes slides with research results that are nowadays often accompanied by technical solutions. Groups of creative people will sit at the table with consultants and together look for the best solutions for the client.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/droga5.jpg" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 0px;" />This combination is definitely good news for creative people who strive to achieve more than a one-off advertisement campaign (even if it’s a successful one), but want to provide a more long-term, comprehensive customer experience. The same goal is shared also by clients who have dreamed for a long time of a supplier who can connect brand and technology via all of the client’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchpoint">touchpoints</a>. They are aware that after a decade of focusing only on technology and process automation, it is creativity and the communication method with clients that bring it all together and makes everything come to life.​<br></p><p>Whether the approaches and methods for satisfying the customer’s needs will join forces towards a shared goal, or whether these will remain mentally and procedurally divided as it has been in the past, is a big question. What Accenture did, though, is not unique. On the contrary, it reflects the trend of the fast-changing competitive environment. Merging of technologies, brand and creativity, which was pioneered a long time ago by Apple, is slowly but surely becoming a must for survival. This means you can expect more acquisitions of creative teams by consulting and technological companies.<br></p>


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Monitoring of company processes using a smartwatch?https://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/monitoring-of-company-processes.aspxMonitoring of company processes using a smartwatch?<p>​According to <em>Minnesota Reformer</em>, two large USA meat-processing companies – Tyson Foods and JBS – invested into a smartwatch app that provides real-time monitoring of production processing. </p><p>The aim of this technology is to increase the company’s efficiency while also ensuring the safety of employees. The risk of injury in the meat-processing industry is very high. Repetitive, fast and strenuous work makes meat processing plants some of the most dangerous workplaces. The U.S. Department of Labor has conducted repeated investigations of safety incidents in the industry in recent years. <br></p><p>The app is compatible with Samsung Watch 4, which continuously collects data from the production process during the work shift using its sensors – specifically the force, rotation, speed and direction of the worker's hand movement. This data is then interpreted by software with elements of artificial intelligence that determines whether the movements are safe and alerts workers if they exceed the safety limits for force or speed. It converts the acquired data into metrics displayed on the dashboard. This includes not only safety metrics, but also active productivity scores.<br></p><p><strong>What are the advantages for the company?</strong><br></p><p>Using a smartwatch as a tool to monitor manufacturing processes can bring a number of benefits.</p><p>The most important of these is an <strong>increase of productivity</strong>. Thanks to the monitoring of movement and performance of activities, it is possible to identify less productive work procedures and propose measures to increase the performance of individual activities. <br></p><p>Another advantage of using a smartwatch is <strong>increased employee safety</strong>. Smartwatch sensors can predict potential safety risks at the workplace. The watch is equipped with RTLS (real-time location system) technology, which allows the worker to easily call for assistance or help if necessary.<br></p><p>Using data on the current progress of individual activities in the production process, the software can also provide workers with immediate feedback to help them significantly facilitate their work or improve their performance.<br></p><p>The use of a smartwatch during an activity also makes it possible to easily collect anonymous data about movement around the company premises, which can be further analyzed and used to <strong>optimize work processes and use of resources</strong>. This information helps companies <strong>reduce costs and increase profitability</strong> while making the <strong>work of employees easier</strong>. In addition, optimizing work procedures from the point of view of their ergonomics helps <strong>prevent long-term health problems</strong>.<br></p><p>Last but not least, smartwatches can also help employers <strong>improve </strong><strong><strong>comm</strong>unication with employees</strong>. Thanks to the HMI (Human Machine Interface) technology, employees can better interact with different systems and machines in real time and easily adapt to different work tasks. <br></p><p>Overall, the use of smartwatches can help companies optimize workflows, reduce downtime, and thereby increase production process productivity and improve worker safety. From a marketing perspective, this can be a strong selling point for companies trying to improve their bottom line and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. The feedback from unions has shown (despite initial concerns) that workers see this innovation as a real benefit to their jobs.<br></p><p><strong>Protection of workers' privacy</strong><br></p><p>Privacy concerns of the employees are an important consideration when implementing any new monitoring system at the workplace. At Cleverlance, we also deal with the implementation of similar solutions using smartwatches. This is why we asked <strong>Mikuláš Müller</strong>, the head of the CleverIndustry unit which supplies systems for the digitization of industry and logistics, about how this issue is handled at Cleverlance:<br></p><p><em>"In the case of a smartwatch application that monitors activities in the production process, it is important to emphasize that we respect the GDPR and ensure the secure processing of personal data. All data is encrypted and stored on secure servers, where it is accessible only to authorized persons. </em><br></p><p><em>Each employee uses a different watch each time. Before each shift, employees randomly and anonymously select a watch from the shelf, so it is impossible to determine exactly which particular employee is or was in which place at a certain time. This should make employees feel safe and assure them that their privacy is not at risk. </em><br></p><p><em>It is also important to explain to the employees all aspects of the functioning of this system, and to convince them that the smartwatch will help them make their work easier and will not threaten their rights and privacy"</em>, emphasizes Mikuláš Müller.​<br></p>



Digitalization of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce erahttps://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/digitalization-of-roll-containers.aspxDigitalization of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce era<p>​​​​​​​With the growth of e-commerce and changes in consumer behavior, efficient delivery of packages is more difficult than ever. As a result of the inefficiency of logistics processes, many carriers are having problems covering the ever-increasing number of shipments. An insufficient overview of the use and location of roll containers causes unnecessary complications and inefficiencies preventing their optimal use. The intensity of transport and costs due to the unused capacity of the transport space are increasing; these lead to negative environmental impacts and delayed deadlines for the delivery of shipments. Dissatisfied customers then loudly demand their undelivered shipments!<br></p><p>All these problems can be solved by tracking roll containers using Bluetooth. A good example is the Dutch postal service, which recently announced the digitization of 250,000 shipping roll cages using sensors from Kontakt.io. The postal service delivers around 1.1 million parcels and 8.1 million letters across the Benelux every day! In 2020, it delivered a record 337 million shipments during the coronavirus pandemic, which was almost 20% more than in 2019.</p><p>The technology chosen by the Dutch postal service to digitize its logistics process and track rolling cages containing parcels has brought many benefits – and these can also be used in a number of other industries.​<br></p><h3>Overview of the use of roll containers</h3><p>Tracking using IoT sensors allows the Dutch postal service to gain better insight into how the roll containers are being used. The sensors provide information about who is currently using the containers, how often they use them, and how many are currently available. Thanks to accurate monitoring, the postal service can identify unused or empty trolleys and thus minimize costs in the entire supply chain.​<br></p><h3>Optimization </h3><p>Detailed monitoring using Bluetooth sensors allows the postal service to position the trolleys so that they are used as efficiently as possible. It turned out that while in some shipping depots the trolleys are partially unused, in others they have been able to significantly increase the efficiency of transportation by adding more trolleys.​<br></p><h3>Identifying bottlenecks and problems in the logistics chain</h3><p>If there is a shortage of trolleys in one place, or if parcels are piling up somewhere, the postal service might not be able to process parcels. Thanks to Kontakt.io Bluetooth sensors tracking the position of roll containers, the Dutch postal service can anticipate problems and move staff or equipment in time to resolve the situation. This simple step solves problems even before they occur.​<br></p><h3>Localization of lost shipments</h3><p>The loss of a shipment or an entire roll container is a serious problem for any shipping service. Thanks to the sensors, the postal service can easily and quickly locate the trolleys without ever losing track of any of them. The sensors provide information about which roll container with a so-called roll cage the shipment was loaded on, and in which car or transshipment point the container is located. If the postal service needs to move a shipment to a correct location, it is easy to find out where exactly it is located.​<br></p><h3>Real-time information about roll container capacity</h3><p>Thanks to the digitization of logistics using tracking sensors, the Dutch postal service has an overview of the current capacity of individual roll containers – whether the cage is fully loaded or whether there is free space in it. A detailed overview of the container location, its contents and movements including any delays, makes it possible to increase the efficiency of processes and improve customer service.​<br></p><h3>Cost reductions</h3><p>Tracking the roll cages and their contents allows the identification of parts of the logistics chain where costs can be reduced. For example, sending fully loaded cages instead of half-empty ones, or making sure these units take the most direct route to their destination. ​<br></p><h3>Reducing the environmental footprint</h3><p>The quick identification of places where the containers can be best used not only brings greater cost efficiency, but also reduces the negative impact on the environment thanks to a smaller amount of unused space during transport.​<br></p><p>The technology for tracking roll containers using IoT sensors selected by the Dutch postal service can be a key solution for handling the ever-increasing volume of transported shipments. This technology makes it possible to get a better overview of the use of roll containers and minimize the cost of replacing equipment. Thanks to their monitoring, the containers can be placed so that they are used as efficiently as possible and bottlenecks in the logistics chain can be predicted. The technology helps solve problems before they arise and minimizes negative impacts on the environment. Companies and organizations in other industries can also take advantage of this technology to optimize their logistics processes and minimize costs.​​​<br></p>



How management buy-in affects Agile transformationhttps://www.cleverlance.de/en/blog/Pages/agile-transformation.aspxHow management buy-in affects Agile transformation<p>​​​​Agile transformation can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. However, the success of an agile transformation is often tied to management buy-in. As I've written in my <a href="/en/blog/Pages/agile-tranformation-derail.aspx" target="_blank">previous post​</a>, in many cases, the motivation for an agile transformation comes from believing that the current organizational structure is misaligned and that agile will be a cure-all solution. Management may also have unrealistic expectations of the transformation process.​<br></p><p>In reality, management must play an active role in the transformation process, working collaboratively with teams to identify and solve problems. This requires a willingness to hear bad news, make difficult decisions, and address structural and systematic issues that may be inhibiting agility, such as overly complex organizational hierarchies, rigid technologies, and inflexible approval processes. Without this buy-in and active participation, agile transformations can become nothing more than a superficial change with little real impact on efficiency or productivity.​<br></p><h3>Definition of management and leadership</h3><p>There are multiple definitions of what management actually is. Let me cite the two classical ones:</p><p>Harold Koontz: Management is an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can co-operate towards attainment of group goals.<br></p><p>F.W. Taylor: Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way.<br></p><p>So basically, when it comes to transitioning to an agile approach, there are two key takeaways managers need to keep in mind: first, they're responsible for creating an environment where people can be productive, and second, they need to figure out what to do when others are uncertain.<br></p><p>In addition, it is worth mentioning that although there is an overlap between the skills and qualities of a manager and a leader, they are not the same. A manager oversees and directs a team or organization to achieve its goals and objectives, while a leader inspires and motivates people to work towards a shared vision or goal. Although it is ideal for a manager to also possess strong leadership skills, it is not always necessary for a manager to be a leader as they can still effectively manage a team without necessarily inspiring or motivating them. However, in many cases, having strong leadership skills can enhance a manager's ability to manage their team effectively.<br></p><p>How does this apply in the context of an agile transformation?<br></p><h3>Top-down approach to agile transition<br></h3><p>From what I've seen, a few key attributes are critical for a successful top-down approach to agile transition. Managers must be willing to hear "bad news" and make active decisions in the business's best interests. The average employee in the company needs to be encouraged by managers to identify obstacles and suggest both workarounds and proper solutions.</p><p>To ensure smooth and effective work, managers must make their visions and expectations clear to team members. Although structural changes may hinder progress, it's important to recognize that some changes take time. A shared vision can motivate team members to find workarounds in the interim, while also fostering the belief that higher-level management is actively working towards a long-term solution.<br></p><p>Having clear orientation, vision, and understanding of context on a higher level can greatly improve motivation, productivity, and the relevance of solutions during an agile transformation. It can lead to more efficient and effective solutions as they are developed with the bigger picture in mind. A sense of direction and a clear vision can be a powerful motivator for people to persevere through challenging times. Like seeing the horizon during turbulent waters, it provides a sense of stability and purpose that can help individuals stay focused and productive. It's the leader's responsibility to ensure such a vision exists and is understood by others.<br></p><h3>Don't take it personally<br></h3><p>Managers who resist hearing strategic-level criticisms can hinder the progress of agile transformation. It's important not to take it personally. The broader the problem, the more difficult it is to resolve. Attempting to fix it carries both risk and reward, which is why the agile transformation was initiated in the first place.</p><p>When managers view criticism or obstacles as a cover for employee incompetence or failures, it can create a lack of trust that hinders effective management. This can lead to a tendency to micromanage and excessively monitor employees, which can ultimately undermine all the transformation efforts. Eventually, a lack of trust can lead employees to keep their ideas to themselves to avoid potential conflicts or arguments with their managers. This can hinder creativity and innovation and create a toxic work environment where open communication and collaboration are discouraged.<br></p><p>It's crucial for managers to actively participate and collaborate with their teams, facilitating problem-solving and decision-making instead of expecting the teams to sort everything out themselves. Some obstacles are outside the control of individual teams and require higher-level interventions or support from the organization.<br></p><h3>Make decisions - that's what leaders are supposed to do<br></h3><p>Decision-making in a business context involves a shared responsibility between managers and lower-level colleagues. Effective managers take responsibility for their decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. They actively seek out the information they need to make informed decisions and recognize that some situations may not have enough information, yet still require a decision. In contrast, some managers may try to shift responsibility elsewhere rather than taking ownership and accepting accountability for their decisions in such situations out of fear of failure. It is essential for managers to understand that managing uncertainty is a critical part of decision-making and to accept this responsibility. Lower-level colleagues play a crucial role in facilitating decisions by providing valid, precise, complete, and most importantly honest information.</p><p>To handle critical decisions, organizations can foster a culture of experimentation and testing or establish a structured approach to collect and analyze data for making informed decisions. By exploring various scenarios of potential outcomes, measuring their impacts, and proactively engaging with such models, organizations can break free from this pattern.<br></p><p>Effective managers approach decision-making with a healthy dose of skepticism, validating and cross-checking data before making any commitments. This also applies to creating plans and commitments during the sales process. It's important to note that the criticism and ideas for improvement from individual teams may not just involve structural and technical aspects but also target plans. A common pitfall is when experts are not involved in the sales and planning process, resulting in unrealistic plans. In such cases, the team should not be held accountable for being unable to adhere to an unrealistic plan. Creating such a plan is a decision that involves risk, which managers are responsible for evaluating, managing, and accepting. Agile transition might painfully expose such naive plans.<br></p><p>Delegating competence and responsibility is an essential aspect of effective management. However, it's important to note that managers should also be willing to accept the consequences of delegation.<br></p><h3>Overcoming fear and lack of trust<br></h3><p>The fear of change can often hinder the agile transformation process, and many managers may be hesitant to make changes due to various fears that are common to any human being. These fears include fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of job security, fear of being exposed as incompetent, fear of losing status or power, fear of conflict or opposition, and fear of the extensive changes required by the agile transformation process. However, effective managers and organizations are able to recognize and manage these fears, while still moving forward with the necessary changes to improve outcomes. It is important not to take these fears personally, but instead to approach them with a solution-focused mindset - because paralysis may be the other option.</p><p>Fear and lack of trust can be significant barriers to organizational success, particularly during a transformation toward an agile culture. Although these feelings are valid and may have justifiable reasons, they can ultimately hinder progress. For an organization to move forward and become more effective, it is essential to foster trust, delegate competencies and responsibilities, and empower employees to make decisions. Most individuals are naturally motivated by changes that save time and effort, and a culture of trust and collaboration can facilitate this motivation toward achieving organizational goals.<br></p><p>By fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, organizations can overcome fears and barriers to agile transformation and empower employees to take actions that save time and effort.​​​​<br></p>

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