This criteria catalogue is a tool that guarantees through our project experience and constant development that we work together goal-oriented and efficiently.
Another common way to evaluate process candidates is to use a separate process mining tool. This allows internal system processes to be read out and documented. This is also particularly useful if internal system processes are not further known in the organization, but "when they are simply lived".
Based on the results, we create a customer-specific proposal for possible priorities, approaches, technologies, pilots and implementations.
Once the list of potential processes is available, it is time to define the next steps. This includes assessing the potential of automating the process and defining the necessary frame conditions. Based on our project experience, we also have an HDP standard procedure in place.
The potential of the automation proposals is examined according to 3 areas - business benefit, best automation method, effort for implementation. For the evaluation of the business benefit, discussions are held with various parties involved and affected as well as clear and valid arguments are sought which speak for or against automation.
Based on the knowledge of the process and the discussions with those affected, even the most promising technology can be determined. In order to do this, it must be clear what progress the company has already made in the field of automation, what experience and skills are available, are all the departments affected by automation able to keep up with the changes, etc.
Once this stage is completed and analyzed, a complete business case is created and documented will be prepared for the selected potential process candidate(s). On the basis of the results, the customer can decide how he wants to develop automation further.
Some customers prefer a small pilot, others make intensive proof-of-concepts or proof-of-values, and still others choose an implementation with a partner.
The PoC/PoV is often the next step when it comes to the exact evaluation of the automation benefits after the situation analysis. It is advisable to implement this test in a clear project structure and to schedule it for a period of no more than 4 to 6 weeks. The fast pace of today's business environment requires a timely response, so "classic" project periods of 3 to 6 months do not make sense. Our experience as management consultants shows that independent support helps employees not to be distracted by many daily and interesting activities or opportunities, while at the same time maintaining competent leadership and technical content for the task at hand.
The actual PoC/PoV is a limitation to a selected process or area of activity that covers all aspects of a potential later implementation. In addition to the test of the automation variant, this also includes the system-technical integration.
The planning of the PoC/PoV must include all stakeholders involved, but it must also be clear from the beginning that the focus is on the essentials and not on the very last detail in all areas.
The scope and extent of the systems and persons involved must be clearly defined and coordinated with the business units so that the resources are available in the necessary amount during the project period. If this is not feasible, substitute resources must be identified or, if necessary, the scope of the PoC/PoV needs to be changed. The further procedure is guided by standard project management; depending on the content of the project and competence, a classic or an agile procedure can be used.
With all these activities, the aim is to integrate automatisms in IT systems - which do not necessarily (only) must lie within the authority of the IT organization - that reduce manual activities and decisions to a minimum. Therefore, the affected system landscape must be defined and evaluated as to whether it is possible to use automation within the system or whether third-party systems are required to take over processing. Then it must be clarified what the necessary interface should look like and which standards can already be used.
Once all preliminary work and considerations have been completed, the actual automation is created, depending on the automation technology selected. This can be scripting and programming or the creation of bots or knowledge items for the use in artificial intelligence.
All technologies have the claim to adopt defined workflows or decisions of employees. To be able to do this, employees must share their competence. This is the really critical point in many projects - if employees are not actively and willingly involved due to future concerns, the entire project is at risk. Targeted change management in the company can counteract this. Here, too, the HDP has project experience and can contribute the necessary activities.
During PoC/PoV, the concepts are realized, and the results are compared with the expectations and goals defined in advance. In some cases, adjustments and details are necessary in order to optimize the performance of the automation and to provide a basis for decision-making. It is then the task of IT and business management to decide on the further procedure and the implementation of automation in everyday life.
The decision to drive automation company-wide and to implement it on the basis of experience and knowledge should be a decision that is actively supported by decision-makers at all levels. It is advisable to implement such a decision through an appropriate company-wide or department-wide program. Often, it is only the sum of the individual automation projects that justifies introducing more cost-intensive tools and tackling greater effects on the organization.
Like for PoC/PoV, analyses must be carried out to set priorities in the program, identify the right levers and clearly define the best automation solutions and procedures for the processes and the overall context.
Once this is done, the technical implementation can start, but the employee is an often-underestimated factor in the automation implementation. It is therefore important to actively involve the employees in the automation projects from the very beginning. Automation can only be carried out successfully with the support of specialists. In addition, the know-how of the specialists is required in order to optimally configure the automation tools.
Besides to technical parts of the program, organizational change management plays an important role. Here, too, we as HDP have already proven our competence as a partner for companies in the past and in automation projects.
If the amount of automation activities is constantly increasing, it is necessary to think about its optimal operation. In PoC/PoV and implementations it has become clear that it is recommended to use automation platforms rather than many individual and independent solutions. After all, all this needs to be supported, developed and managed.
The layer model dominates IT operations today. Different responsibilities are defined for the different IT layers. Smooth, trouble-free operation can hardly be guaranteed in this way. Therefore, new structures must be created - also using adequate management solutions and procedures such as DevOps.
All changes in IT operations must take place in the context of current developments. Some things have to be realized fast; others have to be consistent and long lasting.
One of the biggest weaknesses in the operation of IT infrastructures are the separate responsibilities for the individual system layers. Although each application requires services from almost all layers, different teams, often even different vendors, are responsible for each layer.
In the event of malfunctions and errors and subsequent search for the cause, this division inevitably leads to difficulties; it becomes even more problematic and time-consuming if external providers are also involved.
Change management is particularly important for the use of the automation platform, which is increasingly provided as a cloud service (SaaS). Only when it realizes that process changes have a direct connection to already automated processes it is possible to adapt them in advance in order to avoid interruptions.
Nowadays, it has become widely accepted that automation (and especially in connection with artificial intelligence) is no more than a purely technical topic. Despite the large range of tools available and the corresponding investments, it has not yet been possible to meet all expectations of automation in all its aspects. The decisive approach to optimization is a Competence Center (CC) organization, which follows the guiding principle of reflecting the integrative character of the automation solution through an integrating CC organization across department boundaries.
Two aspects help to get started quickly:
- Cooperation with the business department, whose IT affinity is being promoted by the trend topic of digitization through a limited number of interfaces.
- Low organizational hurdles and a higher flexibility to provide optimal access to a new technology with many unknowns.
HDP can design and implement such a Competence Center as an organizational unit or as a group within existing structures.
Operation and competence are essential prerequisites for the successful use of automation. The speed at which technologies and innovations are developed is much faster today than it was a few years ago. As already mentioned before, a company has to follow this development. This requires a continuous improvement process.
The term Continuous Improvement Process or the abbreviation CIP summarizes all measures that are suitable to improve products, services, processes and individual activities in a company. These measures mostly refer to the employees' mindset, which must constantly check where and how the work can be improved.
This is not only about improving the implemented automation systems, but also about constantly finding new, alternative solutions for tasks so that fewer process steps and/or systems are required. In this way, an AI-supported automation process is subject to a continuous improvement process, too.
As mentioned before multiple times, automation has not only technical but also organizational effects, which has to be considered for a successful implementation.
The digitization and automation of processes and individual work steps always raises questions about personnel management and personnel planning. These include questions such as:
- Do the company's employees have the skills to meet the challenges of digitization?
- Will the department need the same number of employees in the future?
- Are new personnel requirements emerging from the growing use of RPA and artificial intelligence?
HDP is the experienced partner for answering these and other arising questions in order to carry out with a client a personnel requirement planning.
The personnel requirement planning determines how many and which employees are needed in the company, when and in which function, and which qualifications employees have today and must have in the future. The personnel requirement planning considers a quantitative and a qualitative determination of the personnel requirement.
The quantitative determination of personnel requirements identifies how many employees will be needed in the future to achieve the company's goals. Internal and external factors such as corporate strategy, age structure and economic developments are considered.
In the qualitative determination of personnel requirements it is assessed which qualifications the existing employees currently have and which qualifications the employees must have in the future in order to effectively occupy the required positions in the company.
After combining and evaluating the results of the quantitative and qualitative personnel requirements analysis, the gross and net personnel requirements are determined. As a result, a target picture of the future organization is created, and a tailor-made catalogue of personnel measures is derived.
The following outcomes result from the personnel requirements planning:
- Quantitative overview of the actual headcount of the company
- Quantitative overview of the target workforce in the planning phase
- Analysis of the qualifications of the actual workforce
- Identification of the personnel qualifications required in the future
- Target picture of the future organization
- Catalogue of personnel measures
These results are used to identify necessary changes in the tasks and fields of activity of the affected departments and to determine and document the required capacities for each task. Existing job descriptions are, if necessary, adapted or new ones defined. A comparison of the actual status with the target status potentially shows how many and which changes a company needs in terms of personnel. The next step is to derive measures.
These measures relate, among other things, to the identification of the qualifications of the actual headcount as well as the future qualifications of the employees required. As a competent partner, the HDP can also accompany and ensure the correct and complete identification of the qualification gaps and derive the required measures.
In order to determine the qualifications of the actual workforce, the existing job descriptions are reviewed, and interviews/surveys are conducted using valid methods to verify employee qualifications. The required target qualifications result from the planned target organization and the identified qualification requirements during the personnel requirement planning. Qualification gaps are then evaluated and documented.
In addition to the analysis of the qualification gaps, an analysis of the company-wide high potentials should be prepared as well as measures for the talent management of the company derived.
In addition to the change concepts, this can also lead to well-founded information about the strengths and weaknesses of the employees, including a statement regarding further development or a recruitment recommendation. However, it should be paid attention to the legal conditions of these activities, as well as to include HR and if necessary, also the work council from the start, in order to avoid conflicts and manage violations in the later period. The HDP can also be a competent partner in this regard.
The identified gaps must now be precisely addressed and closed. To this end, training and further training measures must be developed and implemented for existing employees, employee relocations are to be planned and, possibly, separation measures have to be initiated.
For unoccupied positions, vacancy notices should be reviewed and, where appropriate, adapted or replaced by new ones. A hiring plan for the period of change has to be prepared together with the HR managers.
The HDP and its qualified education and qualification partners can provide support here and create a tailor-made training concept, accompany the subsequent implementation and carry out the further training of
The identified qualification gaps should be examined more closely in order to develop a further training concept for employees. It is necessary to group together related and complementary qualifications so that they can be mapped primarily to in-house or for common training courses.
The employees to be trained are grouped (if necessary, with the support of our partners from the education sector) according to their learning type in order to define for and with the client the most suitable training procedure for them. Then a planning horizon for the training measures should be defined by the management and the HR department so that the appropriate training units, courses or trainings can be selected from the training portfolio of the company or the external training partners.
The resulting training program, which accompanies the automation process, is then discussed, documented and implemented among those who are impacted.
In order to ensure learning success and to transfer it into everyday working life, a variety of proven learning methods should be offered and applied. These include blended learning, web-based training, e-learning, but also face-to-face methods such as frontal teaching and coaching.
The selection of the right methods depends on the training plan, but also on experience and cultural aspects - online, on-site in the company or externally with an education partner are potential options.
It is important that HR actively supports the training phase, publishes regular information about the changes implemented and planned, and offers the opportunity for individual and group discussions.
The learning progress of the employees and the success of the further training measures should be recorded and documented transparently for the employee.
The HDP has recognized and excellent partners in the education sector and can support clients in implementing their education and training concept in a targeted and efficient manner.
The focus of business process automation is on shifting daily tasks to a machine so that experts have more time to focus on valuable and challenging issues that can help the business move forward. At the same time, operating costs are reduced and quality increases significantly due to the reduction of manual work. Before
implementing an appropriate solution, it is important to carefully consider which areas it should cover. If, for
example, only the operating system is to be managed, the introduction of a script-based solution may be enough. If, however, the area of application lies in a heterogeneous, individualized system environment, the implementation of a knowledge-based automation method may be necessary. In this way, system operation achieves the necessary independence and flexibility to obtain a sustainable economic advantage for the company and to actively support differentiation in the market.
The simultaneous support of the change process regarding the employees and the ensuring of their inclusion and (further) development is one of the biggest critical success factors.
HDP can advise in all necessary steps, contribute know-how, support in the implementation, or successfully
implement the entire automation process together with the client.
Talk to us, we would like to accompany you on the exciting path of digitization and Automation.