If we look up the meaning of innovate on the internet, the first thing we read is “changing things by introducing novelties,” a definition that can be interpreted several ways. For multinational conglomerate Techint, innovation is not only changing business processes, but also heartening employees to reexamine solutions that bring concrete value to the business. To this end, Softtek proposed Innovation Lab as a Service, wherein professionals with different but complementary profiles share a space for co-creation and evaluation of technologies to assess the application of ideas in the holding company. If the results are positive, a prototyping and development of the minimum viable product (MVP) will allow it to be evaluated in context. All this is based on agile methodologies, allowing companies to make project advancements in just a few days, thus affirming efficiency, speed, and a faster return on investment.
Techint Engineering & Construction provides comprehensive project management, engineering, supplies, and construction services at a global level for projects in the Oil and Gas, Energy, Mining, and Industrial Plants segments.
To maintain and even strengthen its scope, innovation and continuous digital transformation are essential, for which they have an area dedicated to these projects led by Christian Azcón. As Digital Transformation Officer (DTO), he works as a technological chaperon to these processes so crucial to the organization.
“The Innovation Lab as a Service proposal is interesting and effective because it allows us to adjust the number of hours contracted according to our needs. In fact, we started with 80 hours per month but now we sometimes exceed 800,” says Azcón, who adds, “One of my functions in Techint is to look for processes that can be transformed using disruptive technology” (IoT, AI, Machine Learning, Digital Twins, etc).
Among several solutions Softtek and Techint professionals chose is a chatbot. While this solution has been on the market for several years, it is not easy to find cases where it has really made a difference. “For this reason, we conducted the pilot in the Human Resources area where we already had the frequently asked questions documented. We worked with weekly iterations and clear dates regarding deliverables.” Additionally, the professionals of both companies worked as a team for six weeks to develop “Felipe,” the chatbot named in honor of an employee soon to retire. Felipe, who stays in the cloud, is represented in the form of a man wearing a helmet and answers in a natural, precise and colloquial manner.
Techint, happy with Innovation Lab as a Service, is moving forward with the implementation of various data analytics initiatives. Included among them are GPS data processing of construction equipment through Spark technology, material requirement planning according to construction phases, and augmented reality developments over 3D models.
Regarding the innovations Techint is carrying out, Reitano is matter-of-fact: “We have to adopt new technologies because companies and roles are constantly changing. To manage, we first work to understand and identify problem areas by listening and discussing, and from there we fix them.”
The relationship between Techint and Softtek is not new, as they have been working together for over ten years on challenges related to application management. Given the co-creation and valuable application of certain projects in their weekly meetings, “So far with Softtek, Techint has made about 25 prototypes and of that total, 4 became projects.” This figure coincides with the average revealed by Reitano, that “20% of pilots become a project.”
Innovation can be as much a part of the daily life of an office as it can contribute to change in society. It is just a matter of upholding an “out of the box” thought dynamic.
Watch the 1-minute video with Digital Transformation Officer at Techint.