Technology radar: mapping technologies as a team to guide future project choices
As a team, map your company’s technologies and home in on the best technology solutions.
To find yourself at the head of a company from one day to the next, without the risk of losing your shirt: an illusion? No, a Business Game! Every year, EDHEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales) makes it a point of honor to close the training cycle of an entire class of students with this fun but very serious experience. Indeed, this business simulation exercise in realistic conditions allows students to put into practice the knowledge acquired during their studies, before taking the plunge into the business world.
This year, no less than 730 students from the Lille and Nice campuses, divided into 145 teams, are competing in this 3-day competition. But because of the health crisis, an unusual parameter has spiced up the event: the distance. For all the students, including Maëlys Tourbot, this particularity is a source of panic... How can they work efficiently as a team during this 3-day marathon? But for Maëlys, her worries quickly dissipate because she intends to make her team benefit from a great ally: Klaxoon, the workshop platform!
Three weeks before the start of the competition, all the teams receive a 200-page handbook containing key information about the fictitious company they are in charge of (history of the company, accounting elements, competitive environment, etc.).
Usually, when working in groups, Maëlys and her classmates share a Google Doc where everyone saves the results of their work in text format. But in the context of the Business Game, this method seems unsuitable. Indeed, how to synthesize the information from a 200-page manual and share it efficiently in a team of 5 people, at a distance? The objective is to master the subject perfectly during the 3 days of the Business Game, which represent 8 quarters of the company's life. At the end of each quarter, more than 90 decisions must be made by the team on the Business Game's online platform.
Maëlys, a student at EDHEC Lille, is also doing a work-study program at Klaxoon, as a communications project manager. For her, it's obvious: the Klaxoon workshop mode must be activated to prepare the competition!
With Board, the digital whiteboard with infinite dimensions, she knows that the team can rely on a powerful visual support. All the key ideas extracted from the manual can be listed there, whether in the form of text, images or drawings. And this applies to any type of file, such as the Excel document the team needs to make the forecast calculations. In addition, the Live video conferencing tool allows team members to see and talk to each other at any time.
As soon as she received the information manual, Maëlys opened a Klaxoon Board and invited her 4 friends to join her, thanks to a simple access link. Together, they agree on 3 video-conference meetings to synchronize their actions (i.e. one point per week before the beginning of the competition).
The purpose of this synchronization meeting on Live is to establish the basis of the group's organization. As an introduction, Maëlys played the role of guide to accompany her friends who were not familiar with the tool: it was easy and quick for everyone to learn.
From then on, the group naturally determined the roles of each one, in accordance with their respective affinities and areas of expertise: marketing, human resources, purchasing & production, finance & accounting, coordination. In the Board, Maëlys assigns a specific color to these 5 areas of expertise. In addition, she determines 3 other colors to discern the legal rules, the information not to be missed, and the decisions to be made.
Faced with the large amount of data to be processed in the 200-page manual, the group came up with the idea of creating a dimension entitled "Page". This customization field allows the user to enter the page number from which each extracted information comes.
Then, two zones are drawn to list the general information on one side and the data related to the expertise on the other.
With the framework in place, each person can now read the manual on their own to extract the information that concerns them, summarize it, organize it and share it on the Board!
This second synchronization point allows each person, in turn, to highlight the information gathered. The color code established beforehand instantly highlights emergencies and subjects requiring group work. At a glance, the team realizes the cause and effect relationships that exist between the various areas of expertise. For example, a production need has an upstream impact on the purchase of raw materials, but also requires more manpower (by increasing the payroll or overtime), which involves human resources. To materialize these complex relationships, the team uses connectors to link ideas together.
In only 1 hour, these exchanges allow the group to produce an Excel document with 9 tabs enriched with dashboards and calculation formulas, essential during the 3 days of competition.
In a live videoconference, the group takes advantage of this last preparatory moment before D-day to check the consistency and completeness of the information on the Board and in the Excel tables.
The main difficulty of this Business Game is to take note of a 200-page file full of diverse and varied data, which must be analyzed and synthesized. A complex task that the Board helps to structure, thanks to the implementation of a color code, categories and customization fields also called dimensions. The overview offers a global vision with a first level of reading that can be refined. All this helps to clarify a dense mass of information, so much so that Maëlys' team manages to prepare a 10-minute pitch to potential investors in only 45 minutes.
We managed to synthesize 200 pages of manual into one very visual Board.
The Board creates a climate of trust within the group, because the fruit of each member's work is accessible to all. In addition, the "Page" dimension gives the source of the information precisely: everyone can easily refer to the right place in the manual if necessary. It's a safety net!
In Maëlys' team, 3 students are on work-study programs and 2 students are in exam periods. Time optimization is therefore essential. The advantage of the Klaxoon Board is that it allows to work both synchronously and asynchronously. In the first case, team members agree on a time slot to meet simultaneously on the Board, to see and talk to each other, thanks to the integrated Live video conference. In the second case, each team member can work independently of her teammates, according to her own schedule, her own work rhythm and progress on the tasks that concern her. By combining these two ways of working, the project progresses smoothly, without hindrance. All information is instantly recorded and available in real time to the entire team.
Thanks to Klaxoon, the number of tools usually used by Maëlys and her friends has been reduced from 5 to 3: the Business Game decision platform, an Excel file to make the numerous calculations required by the subject and, of course, Klaxoon! Indeed, Klaxoon replaces the traditional shared Google Doc and Teams video conferencing tool, as well as the 200-page manual. The backbone of teamwork, it is where all data is synthesized and where it is even possible to access the manual and the Excel document. Moreover, it is the place where the team members exchange information.
Finally, despite the distance and the large amount of information to be processed, which were initially perceived as obstacles, Maëlys and her team managed to take advantage of the Board, organizing their work in the manner of a workshop. The result: a fine 29th place out of 145 in the EDHEC Business Game!