Applying Jürgen Klopp’s strategy and tactics to your digital transformation

Eighteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises across the world are wrangling with the need to accelerate digital transformation. They are dealing with the urgency to enable employees, partners, customers, and regulators to engage and interact remotely while maintaining business continuity and productivity. Cloud and technology have made the far-fetched notion of 100% remote work a reality.

Clearly, digital transformation has emerged as the single biggest challenge and opportunity for enterprise leaders today. Folks who do not change or change too slowly risk losing ground to competition from digitally savvy competitors and digital native neo-competitors (after all the biggest tech companies have cash to start any business powered by their technology).

How should enterprises chart their digital transformation journeys to not only survive but thrive? How can one build a winning team in these times? What sort of players and game tactics would be needed to maintain business leadership, win new businesses, and build an enduring business for the 21st century?

Given my love for football (soccer, in some part of the world) and the coaching tactics of Liverpool’s genius coach Jürgen Klopp, I have taken a shot at describing how enterprises can use his strategies for planning their digital transformation initiatives. Hope you like my attempt.

1. The Goalkeeper

The goalkeeper is perhaps the difference between a champion team and a great team that fumbles at the big events. Liverpool had a good keeper but Adrian fumbled in a Champions League final and his nervousness in playing out from the back meant that Liverpool could not keep possession of the ball from the goal kick to dominate the game. Klopp brought in one of the top keepers in the game at a then record price for a goalkeeper and next year Liverpool were champions of Europe and the year after that Champions of England.

The goalkeeper in your digital transformation journey has to be your security infrastructure. Viruses, hackers, trolls, malicious code, trojans and all types of threats emanating from individuals to sometimes organization are trying to penetrate your IT systems and steal data, know-how, replicate to your trust networks.

A robust low code platform — deeply tested for security vulnerabilities — has active code scans for trojans, uses the latest tools for static analysis and boasts a suite of powerful penetration testing tools and use cases to reduce the threat that comes from applications designed by business users using simple tools.

Large enterprises can have thousands of business applications built for individuals, teams, departments, business units, and corporate needs. IT teams that manages security for each of these applications individually will burn budgets, increase the risk surface, and encourage known vulnerabilities to move from one application to another as vendors update their applications. A low code application platform that has solid security certifications and compliances, data governance, privacy controls and proven track record can significantly secure your “goal post.”

2. The Defense

The job of the defense under Klopp has transformed from doing just the defensive work to managing key responsibilities, including attacking, assisting, and posing a threat to opposition wingbacks.

If you have watched Liverpool play, you must have noticed that they play with 4 defenders at the back but often, both the wingbacks can be found in the opposition penalty box or near-abouts whipping in crosses into the 6-yard box or looping a pass to an oncoming player at the far post. The two center-half players are towering figures who dominate the aerial balls, play with great ball control, and often lead the attack by threading passes to the mid-fielders.

The key defensive line in your digital transformation has to be your IT infrastructure — hybrid cloud and microservices architecture as the two central defenders, and container deployment with Kubernetes and CI/CD DevOps as the two wingbacks — to assist in taking the offensive to competitors through on-demand scalability (compute scalability) and rapid deployment.

A low code application platform offers an integrated development to deployment pipeline, application monitoring console to manage, govern the applications, support for hybrid cloud infrastructure, ability to containerize the application developed and native microservice-based containers for the runtime saving cost of 100% provisioning and scaling on-demand.

A well-designed application infrastructure management console with full visibility on the infrastructure used, the container health, events, logs, analytics, can not only secure your operations but also give you many offensive options.

3. The Midfield

The midfield is the heart of creativity for any football game — the team that controls the midfield controls the match and midfielders have given some of the biggest names in world football. Usually these are sublime ball players, with a bag of tricks up their sleeves, ability to pick a pass at will, ability to shoot bullets when the opportunity presents, ability to see an opening and ability to speed up / slow down the game as needed.

Many will argue that the midfield capability is average in Klopp’s Liverpool. His model of strong center-backs and overlapping wingbacks with strong cross field and down field passing and a deadly strike force works great for him. But even Klopp knows he needs a strong midfield with players who can move the ball, control the game, feed the front-line and win back the ball as quickly as possible.

The application design and development workbench powers the midfield for an enterprise on its digital transformation game. This is the core foundry that accelerates digital transformation journey for the enterprise.

A comprehensive low code business application platform has the capabilities to consume complex documents and manage multiple business processes each with complex decision paths and business rules. It offers a form designer to quickly build data capture interfaces, a process designer to model the business processes, web-services gateway to interfaces with external APIs, and ability to manage the application development with integrated code & artifacts version management tools, project management tools, collaboration tools, testing tools, and deployment pipelines.

4. The Strikers

How often have you watched a football game where the team that played better lost because they could not score while the opposition got one or two chances and they were able to convert one of them to eke out a win. Its goals that win football matches and its strikers who score goals. Some are hunters and opportunists, some are sublime ball players, some are aerial ball geniuses heading crosses from impossible angles, some are sprinters covering the ground from end of the pitch to another in a flash of an eye.

Klopp has always maintained three top class strikers on this front line. They each have unique strengths from brute body strength and sense of timing to deft back heels and one touch passes and a deadly left foot that can bend the ball to any corner of the goal. Speed, anticipation, unselfish passing, and deadly accuracy marks their game at Liverpool.

For digital transformation to deliver on business outcomes, enterprises need to score on three key fronts — customer onboarding experience, personalization, and service requests management. This is where they can outperform their competitors, build loyalty, and delight customers.

A low code platform that focusses on improving strike power in these areas offers pre-built application templates in these key areas. The strike power is further enhanced by its cross-platform user experience through design-once-deploy-anywhere philosophy, configurable AI/ML engine for personalization at scale, pre-built back-office integrations to invoke external services to smoothen onboarding, social media listening adapters, top class mobile experience design capability, and high quality branded customer communications capabilities.

The ability to process documents to create a paperless, reduced human intervention onboarding with straight through processing, robotic bots-based hyper-automation powered by AI/ML, and out-of-the-box catalog of common application templates give you multiple goal-scoring opportunities.

5. The Coach/Manager

It is often said that while it’s the players that play on the pitch, football is a manager’s game — it’s their strategy, tactics, moves, formation, shape that players play under. Jürgen Klopp likes to play a high defensive line and a pressure game focused on winning the ball back quickly, and a counter-attack oriented style based on quick passes, long cross field passes, and innovative set-plays.

For an enterprise looking to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, a powerful low code application platform with the best of document and process automation capabilities along with proven scalability, regulatory support, data security and privacy governance is a great strategic choice.

Your Chief Digital Officers can execute your business strategy at speed and with innovation using a low code application platform. Your IT can offer a solid defense using its cloud-based deployment and container-based DevOps and CI/CD pipeline capability. And your compliance folks can rest easy knowing that it offers the highest standards of application and data governance, minimizing the risk of any goal scored against you.

A strong low code platform also offers a capable “bench” of developers, architects through system integrator partners which gives the enterprises options to manage multiple transformation projects in parallel. And with each delivered project, the learning helps reduce development effort for subsequent projects and initiatives.

So, as the stage is set for Euro 2020 semi-finals and you prepare to enjoy the games after more than a year of empty stadiums, do consider how the right low code platform and the right technology partner can help you win over your competitors in the digital transformation play field. The pandemic has accelerated transformation significantly and experts tell us that enterprises that don’t transform will be left behind.


The author is SVP of Products at Newgen Software, a leading provider of low code platform for business applications requiring complex document and process automation needs. Newgen platform is featured in top analyst rating such as Gartner Magic Quadrant for LCAP. These views are based on his passion for football and Liverpool. Newgen endorses his views on low code but reserves comments on his choice of club and analysis of Jürgen Klopp’s strategy.



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