Andries Schilt, Operations Officer of MAIN Energie, gave us an inspiring look at how their company, which started from scratch in 2003, and has gone from nothing (an old kitchen table and a second hand laptop) to an award winning, 100 Million Euro, Energy provider in the Netherlands, servicing 45,000 customers with just 30 hand-picked employees and extremely savvy use of technology!
On hearing this – you could see the audience all lean forward to learn how they had achieved these impressive results.
Andries told us that they are one of the remaining privately held Dutch Energy companies who found a niche market – providing Energy related services to the Real Estate market in the Netherlands. This market has some specific needs which other Energy companies have not been able to address, allowing Main Energie to step in with both business and technology agility – the power of Agility2.So – how did they do this? Andries spoke about 2 key ingredients for their success:
1) Business Agility – where they took risks, learned from mistakes and adapted quickly to changes in the market. Having business agility in their blood means that the Main Energie team are willing to do things differently from their competition, and are constantly innovating. “Business agility is in our DNA, otherwise we would never be able to survive.”
2) IT Agility – Andries told the audience that Business agility is not enough because an agile business demands that its IT is also agile. IT agility for Main Energie means having a team of qualified professionals who strive to win – who have the right tools, environment, agile processes and procedures, and of course agile IT – which, in turn means fast time to market. Delivering new IT services and applications in weeks instead of months or even years. In an example he told us of a Sprint (#8) that was due out in July this year…it was to manage their energy portfolio. Due to the sudden changes in oil prices however, almost overnight, the business priorities were changed, and this became a high requirement – and moved to Sprint #3. The OutSystems & Main Energie team has just completed sprint # 2! Well, Andries credited the Agile Platform, the agile OutSystems delivery team and the Main Energie business agility to the fact that this important application is now almost complete and ready for production.
The real learning to be derived from the Main Energie experience is that Business Agility combined with IT Agility is where their REAL power comes from – adding a new dimension to Agile – Agile2.
I loved this quote from Andries “If someone says that Agile is not right for my business – then they have something wrong with their business.”