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Innovation

Agility as a principle of success

In an increasingly networked world, the ability to quickly provide tailored solutions is a deciding competitive factor. Companies therefore need new principles and methods of software development. At Aareon, the approach of agile software development is part of the corporate culture.

Software development in times of digitalisation

Many IT companies are currently facing major challenges: As the number of digital applications increases due to advancing digitalisation, it is becoming harder to ensure that they are compatible with each other. In some cases, complex development work is necessary. This is where agile software development comes in – a solution approach that allows IT companies to get to grips with this large variety quickly and come up with reliable, productive solutions.

Dialogue with users

In the past, the first step was to elaborately describe the requirements that the software must fulfil before going through the lengthy process of working towards its delivery. Today, however, more and more companies rely on agile principles for their development efforts. Here the focus is on satisfying and involving the customer and on quickly delivering functional software in an ongoing process.

Self-organising teams continuously communicate both with each other and with the customer so that everyone is kept up to date with the project’s progress. If the IT company and the customer realise during development that fundamental functions have to be implemented differently than they originally thought, the agility of the project allows them to do just that. Had traditional methods been used, the customer would only have noticed the problem upon final delivery of the software.

In addition, an agile approach allows solutions to be prototyped early on. This saves time because functional results are available faster and can therefore be assessed and adapted much sooner.

The practical benefit: agility accelerates development processes

As an example: If a customer relationship management solution is being developed or adapted and it becomes obvious that there has been a change in the tenants’ communication behaviour and their willingness to use digital platforms, then this can be taken into consideration – but only in the parts of the solution where this is relevant and above all in a timely manner without delaying the overall project.

This user orientation and flexibility benefit all parties involved:

Design thinking and DesignLab

To go with the approach of agility, Aareon uses the design thinking method for software development. This user-centric problem-solving concept is also the methodical basis underpinning Aareon’s DesignLab.

During workshops with the developers, participants create personas, in other words characteristic user types, which allow them to better visualise and understand the requirements of their customers. The subsequent outlining of a customer journey – that is, the stages users and customers pass through in their experience – shows which challenges tenants and other stakeholders have to master in the relationship with their housing company. Where appropriate, end users such as tenants or owners can also participate in developing ideas in the Aareon DesignLab.

Thanks to such collaborations, the networking of players in the property industry already begins with the development of a solution.

Prototyping and user-centric approach

Another important aspect of design thinking consists of creating rudimentary prototypes as early as possible. When testing these prototypes, real users recognise very quickly whether their problem has been solved to their satisfaction, whether the design and user interface are appealing and whether any additional aspects need to be considered.

Companies that base their ideas on such a customer-centric approach can tailor their products and services more easily and precisely to their customers’ wishes, even if these wishes are not always that obvious at first glance.

Cooperative development as a guiding principle

At Aareon, solutions are therefore not developed behind closed doors. On the contrary: It has become part of our innovation culture to bring in selected companies as early as possible so that we can get to know their practical viewpoint and incorporate it in our developments.

The Aareon Group also invests heavily in research and development. Our transnational development team always takes social, political, economic and technical influence factors into consideration and integrates them in existing and new digital solutions.

Agile software development is thus becoming an element of our overall corporate culture. The aim of this streamlined process is to achieve maximum quality within a predefined time frame and budget. In addition, it helps to improve mutual understanding and continuously strengthens the culture of trust, thus encouraging future development processes in the interest of all parties involved.

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