Scheer PAS at Gartner Application Innovation & Business Solutions Summit
Scheer PAS recently made a significant mark in the heart of London's tech scene, demonstrating how the delivery of transformative solutions and successful strategies is paramount in the pursuit of a Composable Enterprise. For those who couldn't join us at this remarkable event, we're here to provide a recap of the highlights, with a special focus on Toyota Germany's Composable Architecture journey.
Toyota Germany's Composable Architecture Journey
One of the standout moments of the event was the spotlight on Toyota Germany's remarkable journey towards Composable Architecture. Their story is one of transformation success, as they navigated the challenging path of legacy reduction and modernization. This journey serves as a example of what's possible when a company is committed to embracing change and innovation.
- Transformation Success: Toyota Germany's achievement in reducing legacy systems and embracing modernization showcased the power of well-executed transformation strategies. Their story demonstrated how thoughtful planning, clear objectives, and the right technology partners can lead to remarkable outcomes.
- Fusion-Teams and Hybrid Approach: Innovation was a key theme of Toyota Germany's journey. They highlighted the significance of fusion-teams, which combine diverse talents and perspectives to drive transformation. This hybrid approach, blending traditional and modern methods, proved to be instrumental in Toyota's success.
- iPaaS, Automation, and Low-Code Solutions: The journey towards Composable Enterprise involved harnessing the potential of technology. Toyota Germany's adoption of iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), process automation, and Low-Code solutions exemplified their commitment to staying at the forefront of digital transformation. These technologies streamlined processes, increased efficiency, and empowered their workforce.
- Real Challenges and Tangible Benefits: Toyota Germany's case study addressed the real challenges they encountered. It provided an honest look at the obstacles faced during their journey, demonstrating that the path to Composable Enterprise is not without its difficulties. However, the tangible benefits they reaped, such as improved agility and enhanced customer experiences, showcased the rewards of their efforts.
Key Conference Insights
In addition to Toyota Germany's success story, the Scheer PAS team actively participated in various aspects of the conference, including attending keynotes and engaging in discussions. Several critical topics were at the forefront of the event, shaping the future of business:
- Low-Code Application Development: The conference placed significant emphasis on Low-Code Application Development as a transformative tool for businesses. The potential to empower non-developers to create applications and automate processes was a recurring theme.
- AI in Integration: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Integration emerged as a key discussion point. AI's role in enhancing decision-making, optimizing workflows, and automating tasks garnered significant attention.
- Process Automation: Process Automation remained a focal point, highlighting how businesses can streamline operations, reduce errors, and enhance productivity by automating routine tasks and workflows.
- Composability: Composability, a critical concept for future-proofing businesses, took center stage. The ability to adapt, integrate, and evolve quickly in response to changing circumstances was recognized as a vital strategy.
Beyond the Conference
Of course, our team could not let the opportunity of being in London go to waste so after gathering as much inspiration at the conference, our journey took us to some of the most beautiful parts of London where the real team-building took its place.
AI - A Buzzword with a Cool Connection
Even after setting everything up and seeing the benefits of having an Application Composition Platform in your business, there is still someone on the payroll draining your resources (and wasting their own talent and time) just by watching the stream of your business data and monitoring for any inconsistencies.
Having AI do the monitoring and alerting you or your staff of anything unusual or different will not only save you time but also help your business in general.
Because, let's be honest...
AI was, and still is, the buzzword of the last couple of years, and with good reason. From automation to process monitoring, all the way to regulatory compliance and innovative user interfaces, AI can do a lot of things.
Now, having an Application Composition Platform that already covers a wide range of use cases by itself might not seem to fit into the "AI story." If a platform can already cover your Low-Code application development, process automation and mining, and system integration even without much technological expertise, where does the "A" tie in?
Imagine that your business staff (alongside the help from your IT department) is already working on such a platform and managing to fill all the nooks and crannies of your business. Then AI wants to jump in. Where would you put it?
Somewhere between the IT department and the business department, AI fits perfectly. Just by having an OpenAI connector, your business staff can use natural language to describe the intricacies of your business workflows and create intelligent process automation. But that is just the start.
Your users (or clients) would benefit from having someone helping them 24/7, but your budget does not allow more recruitment. That is where the beauty of OpenAI’s natural language interaction comes in with enhanced chatbots and support. Let’s face it, when the majority of your IT department is relaxing, the great idea that someone from your core business staff had usually has to wait because they’re not that skilled in Pro-Coding something so customized. Then the "A" joins the "I," and your business does not have to wait.
Still, there is someone who has to wait for slow regulations and sign tons of documents. That someone is you. Because your business has to comply with different regulations. Such a repetitive yet mandatory task can drain your energy quickly, forcing you to think less about improving your business and more about how you forgot to sign the J51-385 document. Since it is repetitive and takes your or your staff’s time, why not let AI cover all of the compliance regulations and signing? Or does that heap of documents excite you for the working day?
Now when AI is covering the majority of the monotonous work, your staff does not have to deal with it anymore. What’s next? You've addressed all the inconsistencies, dealt with business staff not wanting to become experts in programming, covered your users with support, and now you want to move things further. Don't focus your relieved staff on everything because there is still much more that AI can do for your business.
- Training and Onboarding: Just by having an OpenAI connector, AI can develop interactive and engaging training modules that use natural language interactions to onboard new users and train them on the platform's functionalities, saving a ton of time and money.
- Collaborative Process Design: The integration can facilitate collaborative process design and modification by allowing multiple users to interact with the system using natural language, ensuring better alignment and communication among team members. You should be honest, playing Chinese Whispers with your staff is slowing you down.
- Data Insights and Analytics: Nobody understands why data analysts love staring at huge chunks or streams of characters and numbers. By analyzing large volumes of textual data, AI can provide valuable insights to users regarding process performance, bottlenecks, trends, and potential improvements. Let your staff stare at your future, not the data that represents your past.
- Process Documentation: Because let’s face it, it is difficult enough to make something work, let alone document the entire process. The OpenAI connector can assist in generating comprehensive process documentation, summaries, and reports. Users can easily communicate process details and updates with stakeholders through well-structured and coherent language.
Where "A" meets the eye
All of these things are within your reach just by using the OpenAI connector on a platform that is already comprehensive. Also, as AI gets smarter, and as you have more time to think about important things for your business, more ideas of using AI in it will come to you. You can always try punching the clock to get more time but automating the rest. Now that should be pretty easy for you when the "A" meets your business's "I".
Shaping Shifting Skies: Microservices' Puzzle in Business Evolution
Imagine working on a puzzle on which all pieces fit in any place. Seems daunting?
Because creating a big picture is often difficult and the puzzle pieces in business are rarely distinct in such way that it helps. Just think about fitting the pieces of sky. Why would creating a puzzle on which all pieces fit in all places be helpful in any kind of way?
Just in the last couple of years, the figurative sky of business world has shattered so quickly that a lot of companies failed to pick up the pieces of the puzzle that they had almost finished in the years prior. The market changed so rapidly and drastically that many of the top players disappeared just because their leaders could not see “the sky” from all of the missing puzzle pieces. The pieces changed, their ends transformed, and nothing could be fitted anywhere anymore. Talking less metaphorically but still on the same subject, airlines were hit the worst alongside with hospitality industry, energy service providers, automobile industry, and specialty retailers (in this exact order - Source).
There were talks about the “New Normal” which not only people as consumers needed to accept but the businesses as well. Getting back to the metaphor, the sky which figuratively shattered was a part of that “New Normal”. The most difficult pieces of puzzle just weren’t fitting anymore, and some new horizons appeared for some, while others were left to pick up the pieces – no pun intended. If you have read our blog about the failed monolithic systems (which you should), you’re probably already seeing the big picture – again, no pun intended.
Forcefully trying to fit all the pieces of a business puzzle as they were, became a pointless effort, and the transition from the monolithic systems to ones which use the flexibility of made this pointless effort the “Old Normal”. As the big picture (or the market) constantly changes, instead of reorganizing and putting together all of the puzzle pieces from scratch, why shouldn’t you just accept the new picture which is changing so fast it basically became a video? Videos are taking over photos. Right?
To get back to the topic, monolithic systems are a thing of the past. The majority of the businesses that rely on them will sooner or later face the fact that in order to benefit from the changes in the market, they have to change as well. One way of implementing the microservices is to create them from scratch but that requires both manpower and time. The other way, and in the opinion of many analysts – the right way, is to use Low-Code app development, integration with the legacy systems to ease the transition, and microservices which all communicated with each other.
Basically, by making the business puzzle pieces smaller and all fitting everywhere, industry leaders have transitioned from seeing “the big picture” (a.k.a. the future of their business), to watching the video of the current and everchanging market with all of their pixels (interconnected microservices) reacting in real time to show the entire scene.
However, there is a problem.
Creating microservices is a time-consuming process which requires great coordination between the business and the IT sector of any company. Low-Code development can speed up the process alongside the creation of the fusion-teams. Still, the transition to microservices is long and difficult, especially if each service (or the piece of the puzzle) has to be created from scratch.
Reusing the previous pieces and borrowing them from others is the main key in streamlining this process and actually taking advantage of microservices. Composability is something that cannot be achieved without reusability (Source).
Basically, to finish the metaphor, microservices are essentially small puzzle pieces which fit in all places of the “big picture” of business, and no matter the changes in the market, these puzzle pieces change with it, while keeping their ends open for connection.
Nowadays almost everyone is at the crossroad choosing between holding on to the existing systems which may me familiar and easy to use but cannot change or adapt or going through the process of transition to microservice architecture (which is empowered by the reusability aspect).
Other than streamlining the process of the transition to the microservice architecture, there are a lot of direct benefits of actually reaching that goal.
- Rapid Application Development and Communication:
Microservices empower businesses to develop applications more swiftly than ever before. Each microservice, like a specialized puzzle piece, serves a specific function within the larger system. This modularity allows teams to work independently on different microservices, resulting in faster development cycles. Furthermore, these microservices communicate seamlessly with each other, enabling the sharing of data and resources. Imagine if each piece of your puzzle could self-adjust its position and seamlessly exchange information with its neighboring pieces.
- Scalability without Overhaul:
In the monolithic world, expanding your business often meant restructuring the entire system. With microservices, growth is less daunting. When your business expands, you can add new microservices tailored to the new requirements, without disrupting existing services. Like adding new puzzle pieces to an already assembled section, scaling becomes a matter of extending your solution, not overhauling it.
- Efficient Resource Utilization:
Just as the right puzzle piece fits perfectly in its designated spot, microservices allow for precise resource allocation. Each service can be optimized for its specific task, ensuring efficient use of computational power and memory. This fine-grained resource management means your investments yield maximum returns, much like a perfectly completed puzzle.
- Resilience and Continuity:
Picture a puzzle with a missing piece – the entire picture may remain incomplete. Similarly, a failure in a monolithic system can lead to a complete breakdown. Microservices, on the other hand, offer a safety net. If one microservice encounters an issue, the rest can continue functioning. It's akin to a puzzle with interconnected sections – if one section has a gap, the rest remain intact.
- Adaptability to Change:
The business landscape is like a dynamic video, always evolving. Microservices mirror this dynamism. As market conditions change, microservices can evolve, adapt, and even be replaced, all without disrupting the entire system. Imagine a puzzle that can morph its pieces to create a new image, allowing your business to stay aligned with market trends.
In essence, microservices are the ultimate evolution of the puzzle metaphor. Each piece is specialized, adaptable, and seamlessly integrated, enabling your business to navigate the complex puzzle of the market with agility and precision.
In our exploration of the intricate world of business transformation, we've likened it to solving a complex puzzle. Each piece fits intricately into the bigger picture, embodying the agility and adaptability that modern businesses need. Today, we unveil an exciting addition that seamlessly aligns with this puzzle-solving journey: the Scheer PAS Asset Repository.
What is Scheer PAS Asset Repository?
The Scheer PAS Asset Repository offers pre-designed puzzle pieces that fit seamlessly into your business architecture, accelerating development. The Asset Repository provides access to a collection of agile microservices designed to enhance efficiency.
Collaboration is encouraged through the Asset Repository, allowing you to share your unique microservices within the Designer platform. This fosters innovation and ongoing evolution of the puzzle pieces.
The Asset Drawer, an extension of the Asset Repository, acts as a catalog of diverse microservices. It's easy to explore, select, and integrate these assets, and updating them is effortless, ensuring your puzzle is always current.
Clear and comprehensive documentation, provided by the Publish Assets wizard, makes integration smooth for developers using your microservices.
The Asset Drawer's seamless integration of updated microservices reflects the adaptable nature of business, enabling you to navigate changing market dynamics with ease.
Want to know more? Click here
Continuing the Microservices Journey
As we conclude this chapter of our exploration, the Scheer PAS Asset Repository emerges as a natural extension of the microservices ethos we've been discussing. It isn't just a tool; it's an embodiment of the principles that empower modern businesses to evolve, innovate, and succeed.
So, whether you're already well into your microservices journey or just embarking on it, the Asset Marketplace is here to offer a helping hand – a collection of puzzle pieces that enrich your business's tapestry of success.
New Asset Repository for Full Composability
Experience a game-changer in service development with the innovative Asset Repository from Scheer PAS. Create services in minutes, not days, and transform your business into a composable enterprise.
What is the Asset Repository?
In a remarkable stride toward expediting service development, the all-new Asset Repository by Scheer PAS offers a game-changing opportunity to harness pre-constructed building blocks. This cutting-edge feature empowers developers to craft services with unparalleled speed and efficiency. Gone are the days of laborious groundwork – now, you can leverage the power of pre-built components to supercharge your service creation.
With the Asset Repository seamlessly integrated into the Designer, developers now possess the ability to easily share their personally developed libraries with a broader audience. The process is simple yet powerful: your libraries, carefully nurtured within the Designer environment, can now be shared effortlessly with other users. You maintain full control, determining whether to grant access to specific groups or extend the reach to all users operating within the same system.
The key to maximizing the utility of your library lies in comprehensive documentation. By providing thorough insights into the workings of your assets, you unlock their true potential for fellow developers. To aid you in this essential endeavor, the Publish Assets wizard emerges as a valuable ally. This wizard not only simplifies the publishing process but also offers a user-friendly interface for meticulously documenting every facet of your creation.
But the benefits don't end there. The Asset Drawer, a groundbreaking addition to the PAS Designer, ushers in a new era of accessibility. Other users gain seamless entry to your published assets directly from the Service panel. Navigating through the extensive array of available assets is a breeze, thanks to the Asset Drawer's intuitive design. Incorporating these assets into your service is a swift, one-click affair – streamlining the development process like never before.
Even asset management receives a long-awaited upgrade. The Asset Drawer's prowess extends to efficient asset removal, allowing you to bid farewell to used components with a single click. Furthermore, embracing innovation, you can effortlessly switch to newer versions of assets when they become available, ensuring your service remains at the forefront of advancement.
As a remarkable bonus, the Asset Drawer seamlessly intertwines with asset documentation. With just a click, a world of insights opens up before you – a comprehensive, well-structured documentation page materializes in a new browser tab. This invaluable feature empowers you to access and consult asset documentation at any juncture during the development journey, making certain that your vision materializes flawlessly.
In essence, the Scheer PAS Asset Repository ushers in an era of unrivaled composability, turbocharging service development while ensuring that knowledge and innovation flow freely among developers. Elevate your service creation experience and witness the transformation firsthand – the Asset Repository is your gateway to a future of limitless possibilities.
Avoiding bumps on the Manufacturing 4.0 production line
Manufacturing ideas to overcome the last couple of years was (and for some it still is) hard enough but manufacturing products is a whole different sport. Following the trends in the IT industry, a new term could come to your attention just because of how vague it is. “Industry 4.0” or to be more precise “Manufacturing 4.0” sounds immensely techy, but it isn’t. To put it in three simple terms, “Manufacturing 4.0” besides everything else means digitization, digitization and some more digitization just for a good measure.
But let’s slow down a bit. There are 4 major hurdles for any company that is even considering digitization of their manufacturing processes. In no particular order, those are financial investment, the lack of framework for the transition, cybersecurity, and technical support. Manufacturing companies are well aware that the process of digitization is unavoidable to keep them afloat, especially in the last couple of years but these scary things are preventing them from even trying.
As the requirement of a roadmap for digitization is a necessity for anyone dealing with manufacturing, having a well-planned roadmap that considers vision, budget and timescale is already a first step into being too late for the party when the competition is already ahead. Defining such a roadmap is often difficult without an outside company doing the consulting so any sane manufacturer would appreciate a “one-stop-shop” solution for this. If there was just a company that could do it all…but we’ll get to that later.
Who knows a precise recipe for Coca-Cola, Nutella, Big Mac? That’s right, going through digitization process has to involve some automation that relies on data but the more of your precious data you take to the cloud, the more Pepsis, Nutella’s and Whoppers there will be. In other words, digitization is a necessity but can lead to not running ahead of your competition but creating more of it. Then why shouldn’t a manufacturer have everything automated and more efficient with the central data point running the process mining next to their desk? Of course, On-Site implementations can provide you with this option.
Now hypothetically, let’s say that you’ve jumped over the first two hurdles. You’ve got the vision, you’ve got the equipment, now you need to do something with it not just to save costs in the future but keep your job as the CIO. Low-Code development by your own employees will give you a head start but your manufacturing company has such specific needs that you need help and support of professional software developers (which you do not have in your company). Handout from Low-Code to Pro-Code in order to customize the software which will help you in your digitization quest is a must, especially when dealing with robust platforms that give you so many options that it scares you to try dwelling into them. So then, write an e-mail and you’ve already taken a huge step.
But if you take a step back while reading the CFO’s mail in which they are demanding a financial report of the progress of digitization which should in long-term help the company financially, you keep thinking about the cost of everything. You’re getting invoices from one company that has done the consulting and created some roadmaps, the other company demands the payments ahead of securing your company’s secret sauce, you have the third company on the phone walking you through some code and reminding you of your debt towards them, and all you can think of is “Is this all worth it?” Such projects demand solid investments and the lack of starting funds or ROI assessments to even try. All this can keep your business running today or tomorrow but what about the day after tomorrow?
To recapIn order to get your manufacturing business and turn its marketing slogan into something similar to “We too belong to 4.0”, you need:
- Someone to create your digitization roadmap which includes every bit of information from your side, and good advice from certain someone.
- You need to have secure access to your data from anywhere but keep it “in the family” of your own location.
- A person who can help you to steer the boat when the waters get muddy and require your attention.
- A satisfied CFO who got acquainted with the costs of going through such process and the potential future benefits of it.
So in an ideal world, your manufacturing company would have to have:
- Every part of its business process digitized and mined for further efficiency
- Flexible framework adaptable to any change (both from inside and outside)
- A simple toolset to implement, execute and monitor the necessary changes
- Someone who could help when things go wrongWell, you do not live in an ideal world and your product isn’t ideal, but your business could take a first step towards becoming ideally optimized, resilient and adaptable. That 4.0 could be much closer and you can manufacture your plan for digitization, secure it, and have someone help you out through the whole process. Just make sure not to lean on monolithic systems because that can cost you up to $500 million.
From Chaos to Checkout: The Automated Retail Renaissance
With all technological advancements and the rise of AI, one would assume that keeping an eye on every important business process in retail stores would be a breeze. Sadly, such businesses require a lot of workforce alongside different IT systems to keep everything running smoothly.
Now imagine being in a managing position and receiving dozens of Excel sheets, screenshots, Word documents, emergency calls and text messages about your marketing campaigns, inventory, procurement, customer support, or any other department. In order to stay afloat, handling such stream of data and making sense of it is extremely difficult and time-consuming.
The most stressful fact is that there is a high probability, that you do not have to imagine this since you are living through these situations. Now comes a real question. Can all of this be automated and centralized without forcing all your departments to adapt to new systems and leave behind everything that you have done so far? Let us take a look at some of the things that can make your lives easier, and your business more prosperous. Ranging from (only seemingly) unimportant, to extremely difficult to handle, here are some things that you can easily automate and integrate with your existing systems.
1. Customer Support
Having well-informed and satisfied customers is a key to turning their purchases into steady growth for your own business. That does not only include handling the problems that they may have after closing business with you but also reaching out to them to get valuable feedback and keep them informed. Even though your department surely manages these requests and hands them out to you in timely manner, imagine having a real-time flow of data which can not only prevent problems in your business processes but also provide you with ideas how to improve them?
Chatbots, mailing lists, customer satisfaction machines and other tools are certainly helpful in keeping a clear vision of what is important for your customers but the different streams of data handled by different teams that are prone to errors, and the dangers of using third-party tools (especially since keeping the privacy of your customers is extremely important) paint a murky picture of how your customers perceive your brand and your services.
“Over three-quarters (76%) of customers expect companies to have an understanding of what they want and to tailor their service accordingly.”
Turning your customer support into a one-stop shop as well as trying to do that with the entire business operation would not only improve your income and keep you well informed but would turn your own business venture into a one-stop shop for your returning customers.
2. Retail Marketing
What is the value of your brand-new deal that will help you clear out your stocks and provide an enticing product for your customers if no one has even heard about it. Advertise it on your website, send out a newsletter, invest in marketing space on the local media, delve into social media marketing and influencers, and your deals will certainly create some traction.
The campaign is done, and the agencies send you their results, your own marketing team gathers the information from different sources, and you are again left with a lot of manual work that either you, or the person that you need to hire for such things need to go through. The key question is how much traction did it create, and did you lose more than gained on clearing out your stocks?
With process automation, system integration, and customization that Low-Code allows, you can combine all the data streams in one, receive the data and transform it into useful information in real time. No matter how simple or complex is your retail business model, having immediate peak into ROI of your marketing and its success or flaws and being able to act in time to maximize its effectiveness is the new reality that your competition is surely going to take advantage of. Not only is the all-in-one marketing information available but you can design it yourself and it will cater for your retail needs.
3. Behavior Analysis
Sending customer surveys and enticing them to fill them out honestly is tiring and expensive work with barely any reliable information. Hiring trustworthy agencies to do the same thing can also prove to be unreliable and it is even more expensive. Such complicated things as customer behavior analysis can be simplified and a collateral gain from automating other essential elements of your retail business.
Automating and integrating just marketing and customer support departments should already provide sufficient data to extract valuable information and create patterns of your customers’ behavior. Just by metaphorically dipping your toes into process automation and data integration of only some of your crucial departments can automatically (no pun intended) create opportunities to use the behavior of your customers for increased gains.
”79% of retail and consumer products companies expect to be using intelligent automation for customer intelligence by 2021”
We’ve already passed the time for these predictions and smart use of consumer habits through automated and integrated systems is probably going to be even more important in the near future.
4. Inventory management
Whether your retail business fills its inventory just in time, or you are filling your warehouses in advance in order to save on item prices that are rapidly rising these days, inventory management is hell. Having all the data arrive in time to make more informed decisions and calculating human error which may cause catastrophic problems is somewhat of a dream come true for every upper-level manager.
Procurement, restocking, status reports and delegating workers’ tasks for increased efficiency are extremely difficult to oversee when the right information does not arrive at the right time, or to the right person. System integration and automation of inventory management does not only mean that the right information will be there on time in order to precisely but manually send out tasks in order to keep things running.
“If you aren’t already implementing automation, you are falling behind”
Begley, S. et al. (2019) Automation in retail: An executive overview for getting ready McKinsey & Company
Automation of inventory management can also mean automated replenishments, automated deliveries, information synchronization with your partners, and the right information for your customers about the availability of products increasing their trust in your ability to cater to their needs.
These are only some of the ways in which business process automation, system integration, and process mining can not only save you money on headache medicine but can also lead to a sustainable growth of your revenue, increased customer satisfaction and more organized business less prone to human error.
The options are limitless including automating your payroll, security, event management, employees' reminders, store directions, contact form responses, and many more. Having everything done in one system, customized by your own needs, and further developed by your own workers without any software developers sounds like a dream come true. But in reality, it is basically only a few clicks away with a free trial.
Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer awarded with Rudolf-Diesel Medaille
On July 13, 2023, the Rudolf Diesel Medal, the oldest and most prestigious innovation award, was presented to Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer in Augsburg in the category "most successful innovation achievement". He was honored as a visionary and entrepreneurial implementer of modern architectures for information systems.
The Rudolf Diesel Medal has been awarded since 1953 in memory of the innovator Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine. The Rudolf Diesel Medal honors individuals for special achievements in the field of invention and innovation culture.
Famous recipients include Wernher von Braun as a rocket pioneer, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach as pioneers of automotive engineering, Conrad Zuse as the inventor of the computer, the founders of SAP AG, and several Nobel Prize winners.
The justification for the award of the medal states, among other things: "The ARIS concept, developed by August-Wilhelm Scheer around 1990, is a framework for optimizing business processes. The software product ARIS Toolset for modeling and optimizing business processes, developed by his company IDS Scheer AG, became one of the few internationally successful software products made in Germany. The ARIS concept simultaneously provided a theoretical foundation for the success of the process-oriented enterprise software that has shaped corporate information processing over the past 30 years."
As a pioneer of modern architectures for information systems, Prof. Scheer founded other successful companies under the umbrella of Scheer Holding after the sale of IDS Scheer AG, such as the process consulting company Scheer GmbH, imc AG as a leading software company for learning technologies and the software company Scheer PAS GmbH for a software architecture of the "Composable Enterprise". All companies are internationally oriented. As a driver for innovation through application-oriented research, Scheer founded the non-profit "August-Wilhelm Scheer Institute for Digital Products and Processes".
"The Rudolf Diesel Medal is a very special honor for me. It is a recognition of the path I have taken as a scientist and entrepreneur. My drive has always been to successfully turn ideas from my research into products and services. This still drives me today."
Prof. Scheer's latest book, "Composable Enterprise", outlines the architecture for the digitized enterprise of the future.
Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer nominated for Rudolf-Diesel-Medaille
The Rudolf Diesel Medal celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. It is an innovation award for economically successful entrepreneurial innovations and has been awarded since 1953 in memory of the innovator Rudolf Diesel.
The Rudolf Diesel Medal honors individuals and institutions for exceptional achievements in the field of invention and innovation culture. The medal is awarded by the non-profit German Institute for Invention.
The laureates are selected by the Rudolf Diesel Curatorium, which represents the industrial management elite with technical expertise in Germany.
This year, our founder, Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer, is also nominated in the category of "Most Successful Innovation Achievement."
The oldest innovation award in Europe will be presented on July 13, 2023, at 5:30 PM during a gala dinner at the MAN Museum in Augsburg. The event will be livestreamed.
Punching the Clock, Automating the Rest
„Repetitio est mater studiorum“ is something that a lot of us have heard at least once during their formal education period. Indeed, learning something through iteration produces a heavy impact on a person’s work habits but can also crush creation. Repetitive tasks in modern business environments are the backbone of some industries requiring a lot of people and even more time investment.
From the business perspective, these seemingly unavoidable tasks are seen as a cruel necessity providing more costs and liabilities in the long term. Running and maintaining a business while keeping the repetitive and often unreliable tasks seems hard and automation is something that can not only mitigate but also completely avoid inefficiency and unreliability. These are the jobs that can (and probably will be) completely automated and transformed by your competitors, or even you.
1. Opening the door for the new reality
Just to imagine that several years ago you could walk into a grocery store or a restaurant and have a worker open the door for you, greet you when entering, check your reservation and book your table is mind-blowing. In the modern age, this employee (or these employees) is replaced by sensor-opening doors, online reservations, and maps of restaurant floors. Ordering is something that can also be done with a smartphone and self-checkout is becoming more and more common not only in grocery and restaurants or bars but in complete retail markets.
Alongside the growing popularity of automation of manual and repetitive tasks that require coordination and manpower, the whole Covid crisis has exponentially increased the need for digitizing parts of, or even entire businesses. Several huge grocery chains, restaurant franchises and retail marketing stores have gone under just by being unprepared for automation and digitization. Of course, some of them accepted the fact that they must adapt and modernize their business models facing the cruel change of pace in the business world, which brought them prosperity and saved their business.
So next time you are at McDonalds, try to imagine the cost of hiring employees to open the doors for you, take your order, bill you correctly, and clean the floors after the shift. Then just open your eyes, walk in order your food on the automated self-ordering machine, pick it up and do not wait in line. Don’t worry about the dropped French fries, will take care of it. Don’t worry about the dropped French fries, Roomba will take care of it.
2. Best Regards by “The automated form”
It is so difficult to start writing an email in which you must inform your employees that they’re going to have to do some overtime because of some mismanaged information that clogged the system somewhere in the communication chain. Also, writing memos, calendar appointments, order confirmations, and of course, notifying the HR department about the sick leave during the football season is a time-consuming and stress-inducing part of our daily lives at work.
The rise of ChatGPT alongside its many plugins that can automate these things for you, your HR department or basically any employee, is helpful but not perfect. Using open AI models can also lead to information leaks and mismanagement of data so internal digitization and automation of business communications tasks is a must, especially if your company is dealing with sensitive data.
Automating such internal requests is one of the pillars of creating a more efficient business environment. Just imagine a world in which you can make a vacation days request in few clicks which automatically creates a filled form and sends it to HR or other departments! You do not have to face the judging looks of your colleagues and superiors and save both yours and HR’s time in processing just one request. Now multiply that by hundreds or even thousands in a larger business environment.
3. I do not have feelings but how can I be of service?
Customer satisfaction is the backbone of many business ventures that rely on repeated orders and maintaining the relationship with their large clients. Even Dunder Mifflin managed to survive the failing economy in the fictional business environment only because of their reliant and effective customer service. When a customer reaches out for help, your employees are sweating trying to figure out not just the root cause of the problem but also the department that they should contact in order to solve it.
Information can get lost in the problem-solution chain and the lack of transparency can hurt any business and losing clients while getting bad reviews online will demolish the entire operation. Chat bots are usually the quick cure for such problems, but they cannot automatically fill out the complaint or report and send it to someone who can solve it. Increasing the effectiveness of customer service from the moment when call, email or IM is received, all the way to solution report, is a time-consuming process with many potential mistakes which can lead to even more frustration by the client, and your employees.
Just imagine that your company can receive complaints and reports which are automatically read, sorted, filed and sent to relevant teams who after acting upon such reports can in one click send feedback not only to the customer but also to your own screen having complete transparency. You do not need employees who need to focus on repeating the same answers to your customers, you just need a system that can handle the entire process.
Repetitio est indeed the mater of studiorum, but do not slow down your business just to stick to the tradition because if we’ve learned anything in the last couple of years is that change is inevitable. Let your employees focus on what is relevant, not what is repetitive. Take a metaphorical leap and open the doors to the future of your business and do not force your employees to literally open the doors to your clients when an automated system can do that for you.
$500+ Million Loss? Top 3 Examples of Failed Monolithic Systems That Nearly Destroyed Companies
It is literally almost impossible to imagine a company of any size which would not profit from modernization and digitization of its business model. Inefficiencies are unavoidable and their mitigation through already existing systems, Excel sheets, memos, mails, and word documents seem to be marginal at best. What’s the alternative to unorganized mess of legacy systems?
Some companies seek an answer to this question in monolithic unified systems which can indeed provide solutions for some of the aforementioned problems. Nevertheless, these types of systems carry a hidden burden which proved too costly for 3 companies which could have avoided losses up to $500 million, but they have not. These are their stories.
1. Unripe Avocados
One of the largest distributors of fresh Avocados called “Mission Produce” has a clear focus in their work which is to deliver just-ripe avocados year-round to their customers. After the COVID crisis, Mission Produce has decided to use a well-known monolithic ERP system just to keep its clients supplied. In November of 2021, they turned on their new ERP system and its performance problems and lack of modularity provided a lot of things for Mission Produce but just-ripe avocados were not a part of that.
Slow response times of modifications that were necessary in the system caused delays in their automated customer invoicing. CEO Stephen Barnard told investors “Despite the countless hours we spent planning and preparing for this conversion, we nevertheless experienced significant challenges with the implementation…”. During the delay, Mission Produce had to hire a third-party consultant just to sort out the new ERP system at a cost of $3.8 million over the period of nine months.
Even though it is difficult to give a precise cost of the ERP failure of the implementation of monolithic ERP system, just a $22.2 million year-on-year drop in gross profit should provide enough information.
Why did this happen?
Monolithic systems often require intensive update processes and as a result of their architecture, can provide cascading failures that require intensive management. Microservices and composable applications provide the needed agility to handle changes and solve the problems with next to no downtime.
2. Submerging below the digital world
Vehicle management company “Leaseplan” had an initially successful SAP deployment at its Austrian subsidiary. Therefore, they have commissioned a new partner to develop a new SAP-based Core Leasing System which should have become the heart of the group’s IT transformation across all the markets that they were present in.
After the initial phase and the first quarter of usage, the monolithic nature of the SAP system, according to the Leaseplan themselves, hindered its ability to make incremental product and service improvements at a time of accelerated technological change. They decided to build a modular system using third-party components integrated with their own systems, which proved even more difficult considering the complexity of integration.
This unfortunate event cost Leaseplan more than €92 million only in project costs. The largest problem of the new SAP-based Core Leasing System that they tried to integrate was the inability for their markets to migrate to it considering the difference in usage between the new system and their previous number of systems. Monolithic systems proved unfit for the emerging and ever-changing digital world.
What was missing?
Integration of the new system with legacy and third-party systems simply requires a non-invasive and feasible approach. API management is one of the ways in which the development of the new systems can be sped up and integrated with legacy systems alongside third-party solutions. For the companies that are reliant on some third-party applications or entire systems, API management is a must when beginning the journey towards becoming a real composable enterprise.
3. Low prices, paid pricey
One of the largest retailers in Europe (and a huge market player worldwide), Lidl, had a noble plan of implementing a monolithic system for their own record-keeping. Another German company was supposed to develop the ERP system and implement it in the shortest time possible. The project of development and implementation began in 2011, and by 2018, Lidl was still without the finished product and the benefits that the new system should have brought them.
In 2018, Lidl scrapped the project and reported a loss of nearly $500 million. The problem was in the novelty of Lidl’s record keeping. They have based their inventory systems on the price they pay for goods, unlike their competition that base their systems on the retail price they sell the goods for. The inability to foresee this difference, and later to modify already developed monolithic system in time proved to be of a great cost for Lidl.
Another thing that slowed down the development of the new system was the huge turnover in the executive ranks of Lidl’s IT department because of the complexity of integration and disconnection with the other departments during the development phase. What a recipe for ERP disaster.
How could you avoid this?
Quirks and novelties in business processes of certain companies often create huge gaps between their operative, and IT departments. Even such simple misunderstandings can lead to catastrophic results for any company. That is why the creation of citizen developers in the company and building a bridge between IT and operational departments is crucial for any system implementation. Monolithic systems often force companies to overwork their IT departments which can lead to such disasters as the one Lidl faced. Low-Code development for fusion teams consisting of both IT and other departments cannot just lead to more rapid development and customization but can mitigate any potential for misunderstandings and the lack of transparency.