Van Oord plaatst een windturbine fundering

Nov 1, 2023

7 min

Acceleratingdigitaltransformationat Van Oord: Acollaborativejourney withLabel A

Rogier Stroband

Rogier Stroband

Digital transformation and innovation take on practical meaning at Van Oord, a down-to-earth company in the maritime industry. This blog details how Van Oord brings digital innovation to life in close collaboration with Label A.

Innovating for and with business units

Van Oord is involved in dredging, Dutch land infrastructure, offshore wind, and oil & gas infrastructure. These are not everyday activities for digital transformation. To understand the needs of different business units and grasp the specific challenges of each, Van Oord established the VO:X team. VO represents Van Oord, and X signifies the unknown result. This innovative team operates independently, setting its own pace. "VO:X implies a different way of thinking. It's about asking the right questions to our clients, mainly the business units. What problems do they encounter, and how can we help solve them?" explains Giuseppe Petrina, Programme Manager VO:X. "Our mission is to gain insight into what clients need, so we can provide them with effective digital solutions and assist in developing new revenue models. We work for and with the business units."

The initial solution was the mobile-friendly app Currently, allowing stakeholders to track the progress of Van Oord's offshore wind projects in real-time. "The execution of such projects happens at sea, but for clients and stakeholders, having a current view of project progress is crucial. With Currently, we create transparency by visually displaying the real-time status of projects," explains Giuseppe.

Currently marked the beginning of the collaboration with Label A. In six weeks, we built Currently as a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) for Van Oord to quickly gain experience. During development, we tested Currently with users to identify features and user-friendliness that work in practice. It is crucial to build what the customer truly needs, and this is where Label A excels.

Mike is writing down information on post-its

Spreading Like Wildfire

The app received exceptional acclaim both within and outside Van Oord. Currently was positioned as a Progressive Web App (PWA), an online application that behaves like a smartphone app without requiring installation. This promotes rapid adoption. Currently played a crucial role in establishing the VO:X team's presence within Van Oord, leading to more challenges from the business units.

VO:X's capabilities lie in creating the business case: identifying the problem to solve and why. The next step is the approach, the how. What people do you need for this? How do you find them, and how do you retain them in your company? Companies in this position have various options: building an in-house team, offshoring to a cost-effective country, or finding a local partner. Van Oord strategically chose to intensify its collaboration with Label A, bringing on board valuable expertise broader than building an in-house team. "Digital transformation fundamentally changes our way of working," emphasizes Giuseppe. "For this, you want the best partner to translate our business cases into tangible digital products."

The designs of 16 different icons are shown.
A mobile phone being held that shows a map of wind turbine generators. In the background are wind turbines in the sea.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation: A Practical Blueprint

Digital transformation varies for each company, but certain best practices consistently emerge in successful stories

Agile Collaboration: Embrace the idea that the best solution may not be known initially; work collaboratively towards it. Prioritize creating value for Van Oord with an outside-in perspective, staying sharp on practicalities, effective communication with stakeholders, and refining as needed.

Openness to Innovation: Van Oord remains receptive to innovation. Quarterly discussions between Van Oord and Label A cover the digital roadmap, market trends, and organizational insights. Label A serves as a sparring partner, offering practical solutions and an external perspective, unafraid to challenge certain aspects.

Empowered Product Owner: Having a product owner within the organization is crucial for efficient digital product development. With the authority to make decisions and set priorities, the product owner acts as a driving force for continuous progress.

Value-Centric Mindset:VO:X addresses challenges not directly tied to profit or revenue. While pinpointing the exact monetary returns of a digital product can be challenging, the focus on better informing and serving customers propels Van Oord forward. This necessitates a broader mindset that emphasizes creating value.

Start Small, Build on Success:The most effective approach to gradually transform the organization digitally is to initiate with small steps and build upon successes. With each new digital product addressing a specific challenge, the visibility of the VO:X team increases within the organization. Business unit challenges naturally gravitate towards VO:X.

Double diamond of Label A with focus on the solution part

Continuous improvement

The journey of Currently began as a pilot with manual data entry. After demonstrating its practical value, the next step was automating data input in the back office. Van Oord also tasked Label A with achieving the same for the SRI division, playfully named Rock & Roll. SRI, or Subsea Rock Installation, involves seabed intervention techniques. Similar to offshore wind projects, these are complex endeavors with substantial investments, and stakeholders closely monitor project progress—tracking the number of stones processed, CO2 emissions, and adherence to the schedule.

By amalgamating both projects into a single initiative, substantial added value was realized for both platforms. Numerous applications were repurposed and interconnected. Simultaneously, our headless approach enhanced platform scalability. In late November, a new phase commenced to elevate the information provision for Currently and Rock & Roll. Adding more detail to data visualizations enhances the clarity of maritime projects. Given the unconventional nature of these markets, close collaboration was indispensable. Van Oord took the time to elaborate on their processes and the market intricacies, enabling Label A to contribute more thoughtfully and provide valuable input.

From real-time to future insight

In late 2022, we unveiled Van Oord's third digital product: MySRI, a tool visualizing data streams that allow Van Oord to transparently oversee future projects and efficiently seize market opportunities. In the SRI market, where all tenders are public, enabling comprehensive market analysis, the Offshore business unit determines which contracts are compelling for populating the sales pipeline and responds with quotes. However, aggregating and analyzing all data streams consumed a significant amount of time. MySRI automates this process, resulting in substantial time savings. Tenders are more successful, the sales pipeline is more robust, and there's better control over forecasts, ensuring greater continuity.

Photo of a hand holding the Van Oord app in front of a background of windturbines at sea

The essence is streamlined work

Giuseppe believes the key to successful digital transformation lies in usability. When you simplify workflows, provide users with more information, and offer a pleasant interface, digital transformation is embraced on the work floor. Giuseppe notes that user-friendliness isn't common in their industry, but that's where the value lies. Achieving this involves rapid iteration and continuous improvement—taking steps to make the product progressively more practical for users and therefore more valuable for the company.

This approach has proven fruitful for Van Oord. In a short span, the company can launch new innovations, align closely with customer needs, and distinguish itself with compelling propositions. Rogier emphasizes their role in facilitating Van Oord's team, ensuring that digital products not only align optimally with practical needs but also seamlessly connect with the IT infrastructure and meet all security requirements. These are prerequisites for success in today's digital landscape. Rogier concludes, "Ultimately, digital products are only a means, not an end. The primary question now and in the future remains: how can we make people's lives easier? More accessible and humane? Only then do you truly make an impact."

Do you want to know more?

Do you want to know how Label A can assist you in maximizing the numerous possibilities of digital transformation and information provision? We would love to get to know you! For more information about our services and solutions, please contact Rogier Stroband.

Rogier Stroband

Rogier Stroband

Commercial Director

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