How to increase ROI: Translating visions into reality

How to increase ROI: Translating visions into reality

Innovation isn’t just about doing something better or faster. It’s about combining technology and business to create something new – while delivering ROI.

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Moshe Cohen-Gil, Head of Amdocs Innovation Labs


07 Feb 2023

How to increase ROI: Translating visions into reality

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Bringing trailblazing ideas to life and translating visions into reality is what I do every day as the head of Amdocs Innovation Labs. But the process is less abstract than many think because everything we do in the Innovation Labs is rooted in solving business challenges.

With a bachelor’s degree in science and economics and second and third degrees in the philosophy of science, I have always been a multi-disciplinary person. My approach to innovation represents the convergence of different perspectives, combining business acumen with humanity and inspiration. In my opinion, we create groundbreaking concepts when we syndicate multiple domains and let seemingly unrelated ideas cross-pollinate. With innovative technology, we – my team and I – create the environment to foster such synergies.

But having great ideas is only one piece of the puzzle. For example, everyone is talking about the metaverse—and it’s, no doubt, the future. But what fascinates me more than the concept itself is how we integrate it into a product to deliver business impacts. THIS is what we are all about. Impacting business. Making it stronger. Solving the challenges that our customers and our customer’s customer want most. I’m proud that this is what I get to do every day.

My division focuses on applying cutting-edge technologies to solve such business challenges. In this article, I’m sharing a from-the-trenches view of how we drive innovation at Amdocs to achieve results actually grounded in reality, that deliver tremendous business value to our customers and drive the bottom-line: ROI.

2023 is right around the corner and we are more than ready to take chances – are you?

Innovation grounded in reality

Innovation isn’t about doing something better or faster but rather, in the same fundamental way (e.g., automation.) It’s about combining technology and business to create something new – while delivering ROI.

We hold a unique position within the organization – and within the industry – because we have exposure to all the customers, units, and programs. We have a bird’s-eye view of strategy, research, product management, engineering, service delivery, marketing, and more to develop holistic solutions.

We get to see all the existing and new products every month. We get to talk to customers. We get to dive into research – and we get to play. Then, we connect the dots to understand what it means for the reality of our customers – today and every day.

We implement the products, create proofs of concepts, and showcase the results to our stakeholders and customers. We understand what our products can do across all domains and how they relate to our customers’ needs in today’s business environment.

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We ground our processes in the reality of our customers’ challenges. A large portion of our day-to-day responsibilities is to show customers how to achieve their goals using our products and systems now and in the future. Most importantly, we innovate through the lens of our customer’s current and future audiences.

"Innovation is particularly critical in the telco industry. You must apply the latest technologies to deliver new experiences customers seek. The reward is worth the risk for our customers who want to maintain their market leader positioning."

Since reality is multi-faceted, our process is also multi-disciplinary and context-driven. For example, our Gen Z Labs combines coding, robotics, neuroscience, psychology, and other disciplines to support innovation. The team brainstorms and ideates from different perspectives to bring the most relevant technology to life.

A context-driven approach to prototyping

In most enterprises, innovation is often perceived as a disruption, disconnected from the reality of the business. The innovation teams are outsiders—they must get business units to validate their ideas before building a prototype. The lengthy and cumbersome process ultimately stretches out the time to market.

Here, we approach the process differently. We develop prototypes connected to our products and rooted in our customers’ realities. Since the vision that drives an innovation stems from business requirements, we don’t have to spend time retrofitting our ideas to address market demands.

So how do we do this? We simply ask. We delve into the voice of the customer. This process allows us to create a working prototype in two to four weeks instead of months. But innovation can’t simply be reactive. We also anticipate the market’s next move and share our ideas proactively to optimize our clients’ investment and help them stay competitive. Time is ALWAYS of the essence. Thus, the conversation is never over, and our door is never closed.

Getting over the innovation hump

The next question is, what does one do with a prototype?

Our customers may proceed to turn a prototype into a product. Or we may take it in-house and further develop the idea. But more often than not, a prototype is abandoned, which is an inevitable part of innovation.

We believe in failing – and failing fast. We create many prototypes and keep the wheel turning until we land on an idea that delivers high ROI and meaningful business impact. Sustaining the relentless iterative prototyping process is the hard part. But you'll succeed if you do it long enough and are persistent enough.

Another hurdle to innovation is the high level of risks—we are taking a risk, and our customers are taking a risk. Why would our clients want to do so? Why wouldn’t’t they stick to the tried-and-true and let other people be the guinea pig?

Different approaches to innovation work for different types of businesses, and not every company strives to be at the forefront. Our approach to innovation gives leaders the edge they need to be the most advanced. They’re the ones to introduce new services to the market, deliver new experiences to their customers, and grow market share.

Innovation is particularly critical in the telco industry. You must apply the latest technologies to deliver new experiences customers seek. The reward is worth the risk for our customers who want to maintain their market leader positioning.

Achieving business success with innovation

Contrary to what many think, innovation doesn’t have to be costly. You don’t need a big team, but you must focus on the right things and set the right course of action.

One of the most important lessons I have learned through the years is that we must fail fast and fail a lot—and have a process to support that. To scale business through innovation, we must bridge ideas with practicality. We need the mechanism to turn concepts into products with a business case.

"One of the most important lessons I have learned through the years is that we must fail fast and fail a lot—and have a process to support that."

Then, we must create a structure to expose new ideas to management. People are busy. They don’t have enough time, and innovation often becomes a luxury. That’s why we create a container to stimulate people to problem-solve, share ideas, address business challenges, and demonstrate KPIs to management.

Final thoughts: Innovation is an ongoing process

Most innovation doesn’t come out of the blue. Take the metaverse as an example: It isn’t anything new—the concept started 20 years ago when the internet began changing our identity and how we do things.

We have been on a journey since, taking small steps that accumulate to what we know today as the metaverse. Different companies will take the concept in different directions (e.g., Roblox’s synchronized network, web3’s decentralized systems) and turn them into products and services.

Exploring new concepts is a long process where philosophy meets technology to redefine who we are, how we interact, and how the products will improve our lives. There’s a lot to unpack and we must keep trying new things.

In future articles, I’ll drill down to the latest ideas we’re working on to illustrate how innovation changes the face of business.

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