Process Management 5 mins read

“Be the change” for operational excellence

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Dr. Helge Hess Dr. Helge Hess

You might have heard the phrase “change is the new normal,” and lately it has become clear that proactively dealing with change is essential to your economic success.

To address this change in a structured way, continuously questioning and adapting your business model and processes, you must “be the change” through operational excellence.

2022 is the year that will mark a massive spread of important technologies geared towards operational excellence.

The disruptive changes in the global economy are obvious:

1. Every day the rules of the game change fundamentally:

  • E-commerce dominates stationary trade even further.
  • Mobility concepts are in upheaval; car manufacturers are reinventing their core products.
  • Technology-driven start-ups threaten classic business models and customer relationships in banking, financial services and insurance.
  • Climate change requires a massive technology shift in energy generation and distribution.

2. Established supply and distribution networks are no longer reliable:

  • Global supply chain risk threatens corporate success and companies are working out alternatives and plan B scenarios.

3. Regulatory requirements are growing massively, especially in environmental protection and social governance.

4. Under the heading “hybrid working” new forms of work are finding their way into companies – triggered by Covid-19 restrictions.

5. Digitization and automation of processes and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have reached a tipping point that sets successful companies apart from their competitors.

To meet these changes and implement them in operational practice, the topics of business transformation and operational excellence (BTOE) are of pivotal importance – successful companies establish a close connection between strategic decisions, efficient business processes and automation through the appropriate IT infrastructure.

Change trends of note in 2022:

  • Hybrid working requirements place new demands on communication and the exchange of information between companies and employees. This reinforces the usage of digital handbooks to manage the role-specific rollout of process knowledge, work instructions and policies. The digitalization of process knowledge allows for a quick update of information and a two-way exchange, i.e., also an active participation of employees through feedback and collaboration. 
  • Regulatory requirements: On top of well- quality and data security regulations are many new requirements regarding environmental protection, sustainability and social governance. These present companies with the challenge of establishing an efficient analysis and reporting system for these aspects. Instead of many dedicated systems, the solution lies in an integrated platform for regulatory compliance, as many of these compliance requirements relate to the same corporate assets (processes, responsibilities, data, IT systems, etc.), which are documented in a central repository. 
  • Unforeseen events like cyber-attacks, naturals disasters or critical infrastructure failures pose a massive threat to the company’s success. Business resilience and business continuity become of paramount importance for most industries. Business continuity solutions are becoming an indispensable part of an integrated compliance system, providing the ability to react and act in crisis situations.
  • For all optimization issues, it is essential to identify weak points along the core processes. Process and task mining capabilities are essential to understand what’s happening in your business. In 2022, there will be increased automation of these analyses, i.e., process/task mining systems will track down the most important problems without much human intervention. Root cause mining and machine learning algorithms are the core technological components of this automated analysis.
  • Analysis: In 2022, we will see a significant expansion of the analysis spectrum of these monitoring/mining technologies. The focus on processes and tasks will be supplemented by the customer’s view, i.e., customer journeys will be analyzed similarly to internal processes and successful companies will combine this internal and external view to put customer satisfaction at the center of their optimization efforts. In terms of supply chain resilience, process mining will be extended to the entire supply and distribution chains. And we will also see significantly more scenarios combining the analysis of production processes and machine data with the core processes (contact-to-order, order-to-cash, procurement-to-pay).
  • Automation: In recent years, several technologies for automating processes and tasks have become established: digital process automation (DPA), robotic process automation (RPA), low-code / no-code (LC/NC) platforms, intelligent document processing (IDP).

In 2022, these will continue to converge, and integrated platforms will emerge (with headlines like hyperautomation or automation fabric). AI and machine learning algorithms will become essential components of automation. Companies will increasingly establish automation centers of excellence to bundle expertise and prevent islands of automation.

Where do all these trends and initiatives come together? With enterprise management systems (EMS) (sometimes called digital twin of an organization (DTO)) play a central role as the control tower for strategic transformations, business model innovation and operational optimization.

An EMS becomes the central command center for companies that connect the process layer to the strategic business model and leverage automation technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. Then you can “be” the change, not just watch as it rushes by.

You can download your copy of the e-book with the detailed trend map for business transformation and operational excellence here.

Written with cooperation from Caspar Jans, Senior Director Business Transformation at Software AG.  

This article originally appeared in OPEX