I’m thrilled to bring you this overview of an awesome case study on Aon, from my colleagues in Gartner’s Applications and Software Engineering Research Team:
Many applications and software engineering leaders tell us that, despite having skilled teams and making significant investments in the delivery pipeline, they still struggle to maximize customer value. While there can be many causes for this, it often comes down to the growing complexity of the delivery ecosystem. The large number of teams and roles involved in delivering software capabilities causes value erosion when there are inefficient handoffs or conflicting priorities.
We recently spoke with Mohan Putcha, VP of Architecture & Technology Strategy at Aon, about their unique approach to maximize business value from solution delivery. Mohan and his team recognized that value realization depends on each role and team in the delivery ecosystem understanding their individual contributions to customer value and aligning their efforts to achieve it. They also knew that if one role is ineffective in creating value, it has a cascading impact on other roles and ultimately, on the resulting customer value.
The starting point for Aon’s solution was to establish delivery value chains. Aon mapped all the roles and teams as links in an end-to-end delivery value chain based on the activities required to achieve customer objectives. This included everyone from foundational platform teams focused on activities such as tooling, data management, and APIs, to all the roles on the product teams responsible for key customer outcomes, such as claims advocacy or risk transfer. Delivery value chains provided transparency into how different teams and roles come together to deliver customer value and helped them align their efforts.
Aon’s next step was to orient each “link” in the value chain around their direct “consumers” of value. By focusing each role on the role or team following them in the value chain, each role gains a more concrete understanding of what’s required for them to individually maximize the value they deliver. So, Aon works to help each role and team understand who their consumers are – that is, the next link in their delivery value chains – along with their jobs to be done, primary pain points and key metrics.
By maximizing the value each link delivers, value flows efficiently across the chain to maximize value for the customer. For example, while a data analyst may not directly deliver value to the end customer, understanding what a developer needs from them to perform their own work helps the data analyst maximize value for the developer and ultimately for the end customer (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Aon’s Approach of Communicating the Flow of Value Between Roles
This approach has yielded significant results for Aon. It increased transparency into the end-to-end flow of value to the customer and accelerated time to value by 50%. It also improved customer satisfaction by fostering a customer-centric and collaborative mindset in all roles and teams involved in solution delivery. As Mohan noted, “With value chains, we’re fostering communities, accelerating learning and improving engagement across the organization. Roles deeper in the value chain now have a north star and understand better how they fit in Aon’s ecosystem.”
Gartner clients can learn more about how Aon uses delivery value chains to optimize customer value by accessing the full case study, Align Product Delivery to Customer Value Using Value Chains (Aon).
Contributed by Neha Agarwal, Principal Researcher on Gartner’s Applications and Software Engineering Research Team.