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Center of Automation ignites the booster

Many companies have already started to automate their office processes using new technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, low-code in the Microsoft Power Platform or in SAP. They have had positive experiences with this in individual departments. However, many companies have not yet succeeded in systematically transferring the selectively available know-how to all areas in order to exploit all...
Steffen Weiers, BTC
28 February 2023
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The organizational solution is a Center of Automation

Automation relieves employees of time-consuming routine tasks. However, their implementation is often dependent on finding digitally minded pioneers in individual departments who initiate and also complete corresponding projects. The knowledge then remains in this department and does not diffuse into others with less digital affinity. This leads to the formation of highly disparate silos without knowledge and experience transfer, which in the overall picture quickly results in automation chaos.

This is countered by a Center of Automation, which is responsible for recording, introducing, supporting and further developing automation across departments. Such a central team has a direct path to the specialist departments. Instead of many individual initiatives, the Center of Automation pursues the end-to-end idea.

Automation is a continuous project, because over time there will be constant changes in the process that require technical adjustments. It also requires permanent maintenance, which can only function if there is appropriate accountability. So if inadequate interfaces are created between the business and IT departments right from the start, the problem of personal responsibility arises. Another difficulty of these isolated solutions is their low automation efficiency. The consequence of selective automation is that company-wide automation projects come to nothing due to a lack of institutionalized overall responsibility, or the individual teams implement their respective projects with an excessive amount of time and different tools. However, the success of automation is based on identifying potentials and optimizing them as efficiently and standardized as possible.

In addition to the technical and organizational aspects of automation, companies should take into account the beliefs and fears of their employees that are associated with the topic. The fact that the increasing pressure of digitization and the overload of employees due to a shortage of skilled workers demand new solutions is well known and can be experienced on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the understanding of the relief provided by automation and the fear of losing importance and ultimately jobs are close together. Without acceptance among the workforce, automation projects will fail. That is why it is important to involve employees who are to be assisted by a "robot colleague" as well as other stakeholders such as works councils, HR departments and supervisors from the very beginning and to explain the project transparently.

A Center of Automation should be the central driver of an automation strategy right from the start, so that strategic rather than selective automation takes place in the company, employees quickly feel relief, customer satisfaction increases thanks to better processes, and an infrastructure that grows with them is created. The team combines departmental knowledge, change management, user adoption know-how and IT expertise and is responsible for all automations in the company, from the idea through implementation to evaluation. This includes identifying technically feasible implementation options and adapting successful projects for other areas of the company. In addition, the Center of Automation provides cultural support for the process to ensure broad acceptance.

When implementing a Center of Automation, internal project knowledge meets IT expertise from within the company and automation knowledge from external experts. First and foremost, the aim is to create efficient structures that are taken seriously within the company. However, this does not mean that a Center of Automation has to consist of a larger pool of employees. In smaller companies, it can consist of two people plus external consultants to supplement or expand the company's own know-how. It is important to organize automation as an overarching function so that there are sufficient interfaces between IT and business departments. If there is a lack of IT knowledge and the certainty of being able to implement a long-term strategy with your own resources, outsourcing can make sense.

The automation of processes has now become a real competitive advantage, but the identification and implementation of process potential by a company-wide responsible Center of Automation has not (yet).

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Steffen Weiers, BTC

Steffen Weiers is team leader at BTC


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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024

Venue

Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT

Venue

Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024

Tickets

Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house B4Bmedia.net AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.