SmartLCM – in IT, not just DIGITAL

Or the dream of a business app store comes true

Steffen Schaar, member of the Management Board of The Quality Group GmbH

Regardless of whether you are a digital immigrant or digital native, the agile and digital working world will be more of a challenge to us humans than previously believed. Being ‘digital’ is IN, being there is everything – yes, we have smartphones! Printing, faxing, scanning, filing, talking, meeting that is yesterday’s news. Today, we are mobile, digital, virtual; we hang out in chatrooms, and are on social media around the clock. Everyone? Well, more than 50% of us understand digitalization to be sending emails. Digital transformation: What is that? Do I want that? Sure I do, but what am I getting myself into? Fears and expectations fueled by the unknown included free of charge.

Too much on your mind, not enough time and the tasks keep piling up. How do I keep up and notget left behind, but without attracting any attention in this digitalization frenzy of agile changes, new demands, calls for artificial intelligence? The digital native says it ‘cool’ to be a part of the IoT or Web 3.0, others swear by M2M and Industry 4.0. Soon there will be the World 5.0 – “Are you kidding me?” you may wonder at times.

Meanwhile, researchers and scholars are going to the barricades: “Don’t forget the people! What about communication, emotion, a culture based on values, and are we still speaking clearly?” Familiar things fall to the wayside, (semi-)automated digitalized processes supplement our daily routines and we not only do we have to learn to trust them, but we must accept, allow, further develop and improve them.

As a medium-sized consulting and software company with employees from Generation What (18-34 year olds according to Europe’s largest youth study, 2016) and many experienced experts from that generation before the dawn of the Internet age, we see ourselves as having a special responsibility. For decades we have designed our product and service portfolio to include solution-oriented support for efficient administrative processes in organizations. Open and trustful communication with our partners and users has always been one of our guiding principles. We believe that this is the only way for us not only to promote the trends and innovations of our time technologically (that’s why we are IT), but above all to support the agility of organizational changes and tasks sensibly and efficiently with IT solutions. Years ago, people said: “The interface must be easy to use”, but today, rather than tomorrow, we must redefine our demands on smart working. Examples of rapid, technically driven changes in the working and organizational environment are, for example, BYOD (bring your own device) from IT, or P2P (purchase to pay) in procurement. Company lawyers and compliance staff now formulate their challenges as legal tech (legal and technology). But they all have one thing in common: It is all about simplifying daily tasks, rule-compliant processes and transparent documentation with the pencil of the 21st century: IT. But what does that mean? What does it look like? Do I have to adjust, relearn, change? Isnt it easy to be ‘smart’, just like that? No!

Digital work changes our processes, our attitudes and will require one thing above all in the coming years: We have to learn to trust the virtual world. Our tools will also continue to change. Screens, information dashboards and panels are getting bigger and bigger; data volumes are subject to exponential growth rates; and our decisions are also expected to be agile, online and mobile. “Children of men,” one would like to say, “we just want to understand, participate, think, act, benefit, be modern and… above all successful.”

Excessive functions in software products and solutions have been a thing of the past for years, and software has lost its magic. Today we complain about every extra click, are annoyed by every second that we have to wait while something is loading on the screen. When the WiFi fails and we can’t get to the app, we go berserk. And why is the button here, and not there?

It goes without saying that data protection and the assignment of authorizations when accessing data are guaranteed, that data networks function consistently and ubiquitously – in short: “IT must always function”. These claims alone prevent us from seeing the truth: IT isn’t taking away our culture of being proactive, our culture of communication, we will just have to learn to deal with it differently. On the contrary, expectations are greater than ever: “Fast, faster, thats got to be done!” But what does tomorrow’s postal service look like?

An ever growing number of people are dealing with digital information in business life, more and more are discovering opportunities instead of just seeing risks. They think about the potential to be harnessed in the exchange of information, instead of just completing their daily tasks with blinders on. This is a call to give the trendsetters among us smart, easy-to-design platforms and solutions for the transparent and cross-departmental documentation of information. We need a reliably documented and audit-proof collaboration between employees. Provided, of course, that we treat each other with respect. And I already wonder how I will be able to customize my “desk” as a configurable option on a platform (software) to optimize my work; handling information in line with my area of responsibility and my tasks, finding it and, if possible, sharing it with my team. The focus here is on creating trust in the digital world through transparency and commitment, as well as integrating and modeling human, intuitive behavior in digital processes. To introduce company-wide information and knowledge management in (semi-)automated organizational processes in a measurable, audit-proof and compliant manner is actually in line with common sense. However, we know from the past that a good continuous improvement process (CIP) can only be lived by a motivated workforce. No big data and small-minded. We need to use the creativity, willingness to change and above all the commitment of the employees in the organization to make good, sustainable decisions and derive organizational, action and change management from them. In a team – fast, transparent, binding, measurable!

That is why it is smart to perform our tasks in the future from our workplace, from home or on the road (mobile) using

  • interactive and networked login masks (eUserGuide, TicketSystem, social platform, SupplierChatroom, InformationDesk, portal links, etc.).
  •  role-based and subject-specific, individually designed work desks with functional standard
    apps
  • intelligently stored and reusable processes to simplify daily routines
  • intuitive and context-related information display and a few simple steps for processing
  •  (Smart)EasySearch and fuzzy logic (accuracy at full text level)
  •  direct share mechanisms (work desk, reports, etc.), team-oriented and distributed tasks,
    safely, easily and efficiently.

The new IT buzzword is ‘businessApp platform’. A platform contains role-related, configurable desktops, so-called business apps (see Fig.1), where the user can process his or her tasks efficiently and as easily as possible. The Smart App modules can be defined or developed by the administrator/user. They don’t need to know a programming language; they just need to follow a 3-step smart model in a purely visual configuration to define the business app. The 3-step smart model consists of

  • select a module from the platform or define an organizational process
  •  configure the module parameters or the sequence process using a digital tool (BPMN2.0
    notation) design / visualize
  •  connect the “app tile; in the business platform with the module or the organization process

The artificial intelligence behind this methodology lies in defining the agile organizational tasks and processes not in relation to individual persons – but to roles. This makes it possible to react quickly and easily to changes, team orientation and above all to the individuality of processes in the departments or between the departments. In a businessApp platform such as SmartLCM, the advantages of proven standardized business solutions/modules as well as individual processes using BPMN2.0 can be applied to each user group (role) in an application. This makes user-defined, cross- departmental organization and its processes a reality by means of an information hub (platform). Whether applications (apps) for using legal technology or SmartContract, M2M, ComplianceExcellence or supplier management, no matter – IT has created the basis for this with the businessApp platform. Now everyone is called upon not only to experience the digital transformation that comes with the vision of “Office 5.0” – or a paperless organization – but to help shape it. Curious? Then become a “Smart – in IT, not just DIGITAL” Explorer and learn more at www.tqg.de/smartlCM!