Carving out a digital enterprise strategy with Upgrade Estate

Digital Business Strategy

Upgrade Estate probably reminds you of bricks and mortar. Yet it stands for much more than that. It’s an innovative ecosystem with a mission to bring value and build long-term relationships with tenants, investors and partners. And it has seen for years how digital can contribute to that. On their path of growth, we mapped out a complete and consistent digital strategy and enterprise architecture.

In Short

Setting out a future-proof digital strategy in a complex ecosystem

Revisiting organisational flows and structures, and laying out a plan for their digital future

A fast-paced strategy track to understand the client's business and shape new solutions

A solid digital strategy and enterprise architecture to allow future growth

Throughout the years, the Upgrade Estate tree grew quite a number of branches, like Upliving, Upkot or Upoffiz, and saw its business grow. But with their expansions, their digital ecosystem grew more complex as well. And they weren’t afraid to admit it. Side by side, we embarked on a strategic journey to discover and shape a clear and consistent digital strategy.

The Challenge

Fast-growing companies are faced with large organisational changes and new internal processes. Not to mention the handling and data-processing of the increasing number of digital touchpoints. Is that a bad thing? Of course not, it’s only natural. But it’s crucial to find the most efficient pathways in the increasingly complex maze.

Upgrade Estate was early to the party and asked itself the right questions. How do we align our processes to increase efficiency? How do we make our tenants’ & stakeholders' lives easier, while we’re becoming more complex? How do we create order and consistency in an increasingly digitally connected world without losing sight of meaningful human connections?

These questions don’t have easy answers. But they can be solved, step by step. Along with Upgrade Estate, we took that first step: carving out a clear and consistent digital strategy and enterprise architecture.

The Solution

If you shout ‘business complexity’ in our offices, a wild team of strategists comes running out of their caves. Backed up by a solution and enterprise architect, we gathered around the table with the stellar team of Upgrade Estate. During an intense collaboration, side-by-side with their executive management, we got our hands dirty to figure out a plan of attack.

Our goal was clear as day: figuring out a new, consistent and bright digital strategy and enterprise architecture. But our mission was twofold. First, we needed to grasp the full context Upgrade Estate operates in. Second, we needed to shape a company-wide view of their digital strategy. So, how did we tackle this?

The approach

Painting the full picture

The first step in our strategy track consisted of conducting a bunch of stakeholder interviews. We asked different people from Upgrade Estate about bottlenecks, struggling flows and possible solutions. You can theorize all you want about solving a problem. But if you don’t listen to the people who are affected, chances of a feasible solution are near-zero.

Additionally, but equally important, we performed a complete system intake. To really understand the way Upgrade Estate operates with its tenants, employees and stakeholders, a full-on overview of their technical landscape was essential. This might sound like a kind of mission impossible. But with the right strategy toolbox on your side and a hard focus, you can map out your entire ecosystem in a concise and manageable way.

From our learnings & insights…

With the blueprint of Upgrade Estate’s ecosystem and a pile of stakeholder’s feedback at our feet, we presented our learnings and conclusions. We won’t go into detail here but we were able to detect 4 key issues that would become major problems in Upgrade Estate’s future. When we explained our learnings, we even got full buy-in from the management team as they realised this needed fixing, sooner rather than later.

To a framework & guiding principles

Pointing out problems is helpful, but it’s a bit silly to leave it at that, right? Together, we went from the ‘understand phase’ to the ‘shape phase’. We hosted a series of workshops, based on event-storming principles, and took quite a few deep dives into company processes and dependencies.

These pro-active workshops eventually led to a capability map for a sustainable digital strategy. One that is future-proof. We looked forward to how this strategy will translate into the organisational structure of the entire enterprise. Where does which responsibility lie? Which type of teams are needed? And how would they collaborate seamlessly?

These insights were translated into a full roadmap with precise OKRs for the coming year. We listed up guiding principles and translated them to each operational level to make sure the entire company would walk the same line.

This represents an example of a capability map. Not the one we delivered to Upgrade Estate.

The outcome

After a strategy exercise with the people of Upgrade Estate, we left them with a plan for their digital future. But we didn’t do it alone. Seeing eye-to-eye with our client, we managed to map out their entire ecosystem, spot sore spots, uncluster and re-cluster flows, and guided them towards a future-proof digital strategy and enterprise architecture. And we had a blast doing it.

Our approach

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