Led by his passion for graphic design and information technology, Eng Poo Yang, Managing Director of Appvantage Asia started the business in 2011 focusing on bespoke digital solutions for the automotive industry.
Q: As a considerably young company, what are some of the internal factors that you would attribute your success to?
Eng Poo Yang (EPY): Everything is related to the people you have, two main factors in particular contribute to the success of a company—the talents, as well as diligent hardworking people.
The talents demonstrate how high quality and thoughtful the design is, how innovative the solution is. This comes about when the team puts our brains together and works hard at delivering solutions.
I do believe this is the main asset of the company, which has helped us stand out as a new start up in the early days.
Q: Could you share with us the most challenging project you have worked on so far in keeping up with customer expectations in this fast moving digital age?
EPY: One of the most challenging and main projects we are involved is called ‘Digital Dealer’—it’s a tool that transforms automotive financial services from a paper process to a fully integrated digital solution. It has been challenging to develop it in a short time, matching up with the milestone delivery requirements of our customers.
We have been working on it for the past three years, and it has since evolved into a different stage in partnership with our clients. We are now executing this from one market to another, and as the project has gone along it has evolved to become more of a product. The challenge has been how fast it has picked up, and how demanding the whole development is involving quite a big team.
Q: What are good challenges for a design sprint? When should it be used?
EPY: A design sprint is a framework that helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing. Sprints let a business reach clearly defined goals and deliverables and gain key learnings, quickly.
So why do a design sprint? Design sprints are to define and to do a problem-solving approach. It allows the company to identify one main issue, and to filter what ideas will work and how the user is experiencing the product/service to find out the real problem. From there, Appvantage gets an idea and designs a wireframe to test the design (i.e. getting an idea of what the customer experiences). Subsequently, this gets refined to the next version.
Each sprint can last between 4-5 days. It can go longer, for customers who need to spread it out – which gives Appvantage time to work on the visuals, and be able to present something more realistic as well. Customers can learn from these test results and decide if it’s worthwhile to solve this issue or enhance a particular process, through a particular approach.
Reasons to do a design sprint include:
- Looking for expertise in new product development?
- Unclear on what your product will look like in real life?
- Seeking early feedback to avoid wasted investment?
- Struggling to accurately forecast time and cost to market?
- Need to demonstrate commercial potential?
Q: In your opinion, is cybersecurity one of the biggest problems facing the autonomous car ecosystem?
EPY: I feel so. Professionals are in the process of finding out what works in terms of security and safety, which remain to be seen. Brands and manufacturers are also looking into it through collaborative efforts such as knowledge-sharing.
Q: What strategies is Appvantage adopting to strengthen its competitive position with digital solutions by the time it reaches its 10th year?
EPY: I foresee that we will offer a suite of products related to automotive that we can provide to customers to address their needs in terms of digitalisation – from operations and sales, to business and financial services. It can either work well-integrated with today’s system, or as a standalone new platform for customers to adopt into new businesses.
Q: On a more personal note, as important as digitalisation is in business, do you make much use of smart products outside work?
EPY: I definitely do, I’ve always been keen to get new gadgets. For example, the latest gadgets I’ve tried out are the smart home assistants – google homes, Siri and Alexa that allow home automation.