HOW THE DILEMMA OF DIGITALIZATION CAN BE RESOLVED?

06 February 2020
HOW THE DILEMMA OF DIGITALIZATION CAN BE RESOLVED? HOW THE DILEMMA OF DIGITALIZATION CAN BE RESOLVED?

At an event in Zurich, the HWZ University of Applied Sciences demonstrated how digitization can be made customer-oriented. Process Mining is the name of the technology that helps to reconcile process optimization and customer orientation.

Many companies are switching to digital today - but in most cases it doesn't work out. Employees are left out, hoped-for efficiency gains fail to materialize, and above all: customers lack the benefit. This is because far too often the goal is simply to save money. And the user gets out of sight. "The dichotomy between cost reduction and customer orientation - that is the big dilemma of digitization," said Evangelos Xevelonakis, Head of Center for Data Science at the HWZ, at an event at the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich.

This dilemma could not be overcome from one day to the next. Instead of looking for the next major disruption, Xevelonakis suggested an iterative approach. This means: It takes several attempts. Small, step-by-step improvement steps. And a hands-on mentality. This was the only way to successfully implement what is now called "process mining" in process management. That was the goal of the event at the HWZ: to promote Process Mining as the new wonder weapon against inefficient business processes.

Involving the employee

In principle, it is a matter of reconstructing the processes in the company and then comparing the actual state with a target state. In other words: "compare lived processes with reference processes," said Xevelonakis. But the key point is that the aim is not only to identify the causes of inefficient processes, but also to use machine learning to make recommendations for action and, one day, reliable forecasts. But at present, the main focus is on "uncovering hidden connections".

The first step in process mining is one of the most difficult. Merging the process data is a major challenge, especially since the data often originates from heterogeneous systems. Furthermore, the quality of the data must be continuously monitored, agile methods must be practiced and data science know-how must be imparted. The most important thing, however, is to involve and motivate the employees. "We are convinced that only the interaction of people, digital technology and agile organizational structures can make the difference on the way to process optimization," said Xevelonakis.

Asking the why-question at the beginning

Process mining could be used wherever data on individual processes is stored in IT systems - for example in ERP and workflow management systems. The aim is to use this data to visualize processes, point out path dependencies and identify the potential for improvement.

Typical users include large companies in industrial production. But a tool for process mining could be used wherever a lot of data is generated, said Janina Nakladal, who represented the German supplier of process mining Celonis. The demand in the pharmaceutical and financial industries is currently growing particularly strongly.

But before you start to prepare data for process optimization purposes, there is an important step to take: "First you have to define the why - in other words, clarify it: Why automate, and why by means of process mining at all? This is often the biggest challenge," says Nakladal. And she also said that it is essential to involve the employees from the very beginning, "so that Process Mining is more than a mere monitoring tool".

Celonis was launched nine years ago and has since moved far beyond the start-up phase, said Nakladal. The Munich-based company now employs more than 750 people, recently won the 250,000 euro German Future Prize and, with a market value of 2.5 billion euros, is one of the few unicorns in Germany. "This is quite pleasant," said Nakladal.

The software is now ready; there are two main points on the agenda: on the one hand, the partner network should grow, on the other hand, Celonis is currently working on optimizing its own business processes. "We also pursue the goal of a stronger customer orientation", said Nakladal.

 

This article was published on netzwoche.ch

 

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