The digitalization of French-speaking companies by Tinext

After discovering the Tinext methodology in our previous article, Benjamin and Raphaël answered our questions about the digital transformation of companies and the challenges that await them.

Using real-life examples, they explain how digitalization can be beneficial for different types of companies and for various issues.

Is it always the company that realizes that it must accelerate its digitalization by taking the step of contacting you?

To answer this question, we will take a concrete example that represents the difficulties encountered by many companies. It's a company active in industrial cleaning. Its work process was complex, and productivity was not at the heart of its strategic thinking.

Thanks to our digitalization actions, we managed to divide the time spent on administrative procedures by four. 

To begin with, here is how the work was organized between the different departments:

First, the sales representative would go to his client to negotiate the cleaning contract for a factory or an office. But the latter had little knowledge of the operational aspect of the field and yet he was the one in charge of defining the specifications. At this stage of the process, the first gaps appear.

The contract was then saved and stored in the business software. Then, the local cleaning agencies were assigned to the various customers. The agency manager would retrieve the specifications in paper form. At this point, he would realize that it was incomplete since it had not been drawn up by someone who knew the reality of the work in the field.

Consequently, the branch manager had to go back to the company, redefine the needs with the client to improve the contract. Then, he would return to the agency to make the paper specifications available to the agents. Before each trip to the customer's premises, the agents had to pick up the specifications and take them to the location of their mission. Once their work was completed, the cleaners would manually enter their hours into an Excel file that had been printed out, and bring it back to the agency.

At the end of the month, a human resources assistant would retrieve the hard-copy Excel file in order to account for payroll. She had to compare this document with the contract signed with the client and the employee.

The time to do the payroll was calculated to be 90 man-days per month. This meant that each month, 90 days were spent editing the payslips, spread over several people. The company had reached a tipping point, it could no longer cope. They wondered if IT could unblock this situation.

Our role was to confirm that we could indeed improve the system. Using one software program, from sales to HR, through all the steps mentioned above. All of this is done by transmitting information and automating data flows, which saves a lot of time and paper.

Thanks to Salesforce, the CRM tool we implemented, all the extremely time-consuming administrative steps were simplified. This intervention literally changed the life of the company and its employees.

This may sound like an extreme example, but such circumstances are quite common and we regularly meet companies in the same situation.

Often, when companies want to modernize processes, it's not a matter of awareness. It's simply that they reach a bottleneck and have no choice. So they need a solution. And for some, digitalization is one of them, even if it is not always the first thing they think of. They will rather think that they need to recruit even more and increase human resources but without simplifying their daily life, which does not really solve the problem.

When you carry out the analysis part, the "Discovery" phase, do you sometimes uncover problems that the companies were not aware of at first?

Yes, we do. Let's take the concrete example of one of our clients. When the project manager presented his company to our consultants, he explained that it was very complex, that it had many different layers.

Yet, from an outside perspective, we realized that we could easily organize these different layers of processes. At the end of the first workshop, we explained this to him, and he was amazed that the simplification could be so fast.

We deal with very competent professionals, but because they are immersed in their daily tasks, they lose the ability to stand back. And it is our external view that brings new clarity.

If you were to reassure a company that is hesitant to embark on a digital transformation, what would you say?

As partners, we are here to demystify digital transformation. We believe that we understand the challenges that companies face, and thanks to our pedagogy and successful methodology, we can support them in their digital transformation.

We are not just selling tools to be implemented. Tinext proposes a methodology. And that's where the difference lies: before we start talking about tools, we try to understand the company and its process. We theorize digital transformation.

First, it happens on paper, then we look for the functionalities and tools to implement it. But we don't go in blindly, trying to sell a solution.

We first try to understand the issues, the objectives, and the difficulties. Then we explain how we can optimize processes and provide effective solutions. At first, what needs to be done looks impressive, but once the analysis phase is completed, we unravel everything to simplify it.

We play the role of a GPS in a way, it's as if we had to go on a treasure hunt, but the route is mapped out and we know every step.

How do you manage to immerse yourself in the company? Thanks to the workshops?

Yes, it's the workshops that make the difference. We devote a lot of time to this immersion and understanding phase at the beginning of the project.

What's really appreciated is that all the clients who go through this analysis phase are unanimous. When we present our report, they all tell us that they never thought we would have such an understanding of the company and such a vision already at that stage. And that's only possible because of the time spent with them.

Of course, they need to play along. There can't be too many secrets, except, of course, the confidential data that we don't need to have access to. The time we spend to understand the business is critical.

The goal is not to have a two-hour meeting with a list of what is expected and then leave. On the contrary, it's a series of workshops that follow one another. And in general, we create a link between the workshops. We work in between to ensure continuity and refine our understanding.

How much time should the company invest in the immersion phase, the so-called Discovery phase? Is there anything the company must provide or prepare?

Yes, first, they must make themselves available. Its representatives must be present at the workshops. To work effectively and provide concrete solutions, we need to understand the company, down to the smallest detail. So, it's in their best interest to make our job easier by answering our questions.

Often, digital transformation is perceived as a series of processes, which only touches the technical aspect. But at Tinext, we focus on the human side, because there is no digital without people. And we prefer to spend time with people, listening to their explanations, their needs, rather than just asking for access to the software to understand how it works.

We like to take time with each person involved. Understand the leader and his vision. Then talk with the operational team members on site to see if the reality is in line with the vision. It usually is, but sometimes there's a gap. Our goal is to recreate the link so that this discrepancy disappears.

Trust is developed thanks to these human relationships and the relational aspect is very important. Moreover, our experience proves it, since the relationships we establish with our clients last over the long term.

Is there a key point to remember for choosing Tinext over someone else?

The point to remember is that with Tinext, the solution will always be put at the service of people. We focus on the employees and the way the company works to find the solution, rather than the other way around. This is the only way we can build a lasting relationship of trust.

This is the basis of our process during which we meet with the teams. Generally, companies that work in digital are obliged to meet with people. But the difference lies in the involvement that Tinext puts in.

Raphaël, the final word?

Digital transformation can be scary. However, it is in the interest of companies to devote their resources to it promptly. It allows them to be more competitive, as well as to be ahead of their competitors.

A French saying that I find meaningful and that sums up my point is that "it's better to think about change than to change the band-aid".

People put patches everywhere, without realizing that it does them more harm than good. It works at the time, but it's a little shaky and when something like the COVID pandemic happens, it all falls apart. You must anticipate these kinds of problems and have that awareness upfront. And we're here to help companies take the path to a digital transformation that makes sense and will have a real impact on their future.

If you also feel the need to be accompanied, do not hesitate to contact us.