Product teams run into challenges during digital transformation because they were missing the visibility and coherent understanding of the product strategy. Instead, they were working in silos and executing projects simply to put out immediate fires.
airfocus enables Oriflame to collaboratively decide what to build next and align everyone even during the pandemic. As a result, they became more transparent in the prioritization process and they are confident that they are doing the rights things according to their strategy.
Founded in Sweden 1967 Oriflame is a social selling beauty company present in over 60 countries around the world. With the focus on digital transformation, the ability to coordinate, maintain transparency, and align cross-functional teams is critical to Oriflame's digital success. This is made possible by working with scalable and shareable roadmaps enabling communication and collaboration with all stakeholders in the decision-making process. We talked to Joakim Wissing, digital product director of Oriflame, about the transformation and how airfocus became an indispensable platform for them in this journey.
“The market has changed in terms of how our brand partners attract customers. The traditional paper catalogs are still an essential sales driver, but the value of facilitating our brand partners with digital sales and recommendations tools for them to use in social channels are key for our future success.”
Joakim Wissing has been a tenured member of Oriflame for over ten years and has been a key driver in the company's exciting digital transformation. As part of the global online team, Joakim manages his team of product owners who closely collaborates with the IT teams, which consists of solution experts, architects, front-end and back-end developers.
At the early stages of digitalization, Joakim and his team divided their digital infrastructure into over 15 different products covering mobile apps, core digital business areas and infrastructure. At the time, they knew the general direction of where they were going, but they needed to solidify the vision and deliver on it, and that's why they implemented airfocus.
When asked about the times before airfocus, Joakim described the digital function in Oriflame as quite unaligned. Oriflame manages over 60 markets divided amongst 11 regions, which means that there are more than 60 different major configurations of platforms and apps to manage. When they first started out, they wanted to clearly divide tasks when planning the projects between the teams. Despite the attempt to create project plans, the teams ran into challenges as there wasn't much transparency on what to do, and there were too many incoming requests from customers, internal teams, and global stakeholders for the product teams. Majority of the requests went directly to the IT team, and it ended up consuming a lot of their capacity. Above all, the teams were missing the visibility and coherent understanding of what actually should be done. Instead, they were working in silos and executing projects simply to put out immediate fires.
At that time, prioritization and roadmapping were done using a generic product roadmap tool, which didn't offer the depth Oriflame needed. For Joakim, static roadmaps are inefficient because it was difficult to maintain and share. He needed something that could scale with their growth. One of the most important topics for Joakim was to actually start setting business values. What caught his attention was that airfocus enabled him to communicate and compare the value and cost of different projects. When asked what in particular he liked about the platform, he said,
“When we found airfocus, we needed a tool that could help us to communicate the value and cost of different projects. What airfocus is good at is getting the essential things done in an effective way. From the flexibility of the groups and items to the logic of the architectures, airfocus is a well thought out tool that is easy to grasp and use right away.”
In addition to assessing the value and cost for each project, airfocus also enabled them to think past current challenges and instead look at things on a bigger scale. Every year, Joakim and his team start by setting up a yearly plan, with Priority Poker, to involve all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process through collective voting and ranking. He described that the process begins with asking all the regions to check with their local marketing, sales, and operation to see what were their biggest needs for the next year. The captured ideas and feedback were then added to airfocus' Priority Poker.
Priority Poker became the base for the discussion of how they want to structure the roadmap and what they can deliver on a quarterly basis. They also use this feature to assess the additional requests, insights, and ideas on the side and how they can incorporate them together with the yearly plan. For Joakim, this particular feature is indispensable, especially during the pandemic when online meetings became mandatory.
“airfocus has been particularly useful during the pandemic, especially when it comes to handling ideas, setting expectations, and getting the whole vision aligned with the company remotely. Usually, we meet yearly in-person, but this year we did it completely online with Priority Poker, and it worked super well. It's extremely helpful to have everything integrated into one tool.”
Once the regions and global teams all voted, it’s time to set the plans on the roadmap, which Joakim and his product owners found intuitive to use on airfocus. They then export the roadmap and send out the share links to all the regions, so they are aware of the overall goals and vision for the year. When internal departments or stakeholders want to know when something is coming or whether there are any changes, they can just look at the roadmaps they created. This process helped save so much time and maintain transparency between all teams.
Joakim and the product team use airfocus on a daily basis. For him, it's extremely important for the development team to see the big picture and understand why they are doing the work they are doing. With airfocus' two-way Azure DevOps integrations, the teams can sync their stories, features, and epics, or any changes, which means less time spent managing multiple systems.
One of the biggest, if not the most significant, improvements Joakim experienced while using airfocus with his team was the increase of communication and transparency. He also thinks the prioritization process has really become much more visible because everyone has a say, everyone knows what they are supposed to do and that they are actually doing the right things according to their strategy.
“The biggest difference I see is that people are talking more with each other about things that matter. We are not spending time on things that don't matter. We are more coordinated, and everyone is pushing their part to get the right things done.”
Joakim summarizes Oriflame's success with airfocus, "airfocus helps us break our silos and enables us to collaboratively decide what to do and build next. As a result, we become more transparent and open in the prioritization process. The tool allowed us to align all the different regions, departments, teams, and stakeholders. airfocus has been and still is an integral part of facilitating our vision to become the #1 social selling beauty company."