Stadtwerke Gießen AG (Municipal Works Giessen – SWG) is the regional energy provider for the city of Giessen and the region of Middle Hesse. They provide approximately 190,000 people with electricity, natural gas and district heating. Furthermore, they deliver high-quality drinking water to various cities and communities in the region. And their regional transportation services ensure the mobility of many individuals.
The Giessen energy revolution began a long time before Fukushima and the subsequent nuclear power phase-out. That’s because the SWG started more than 30 years ago to switch to a decentralized and climate-friendly power and heat generation in combined heat and power facilities (CHP facilities). Today, the household customers are provided 100% with green energy.
Public administrations belong to the sectors which have to cope with the fact that many skilled workers are going into retirement. At the same time, relatively few young people are taking their place. This situation is particularly extreme in Berlin – it’s expected that around 25,000 administration workers will retire in the next four or five years. This entails two central problems: The average age has risen sharply due to long-term recruitment stops, and a great amount of specialized knowledge is at stake when experienced employees leave. Furthermore, the Personnel is responsible for making working in the administration sector more attractive to young people. They want to be able to draw from a pool of competent applicants in the future as well.
New, flexible offers are important for this. These include the compatibility of family and career or the ability to work independent of time and location.
The Digital Workplace, with integrated applications for promoting digitalized business processes and for managing knowledge, fulfils these requirements. That’s why the SenFin constructed such a platform based on the software Intrexx. Ralf Meyer, Advisor for E-Government and Communication, views this as a powerful tool, especially the integrated social collaboration components: “With this, we can gather and especially share knowledge more directly and straightforwardly than with FAQs or conventional forums. This is incredibly practical, especially in a time when many employees are retiring and their replacements aren’t certain.”
The Digital Workplace as a living knowledge center
With the social collaboration components of the Digital Workplace, every employee becomes a potential editor. Because of this, the platform is much more dynamic than a classic CMS-based intranet with a central editorial team. Knowledge, produced by group discussions or from posts on the news feed, are available long-term. This allows specialized knowledge from different departments to be collated so that it can help solve individual questions and problems. Furthermore, employees whose knowledge wasn’t fully recognized until now are encouraged to share their experience as well.
To sort, optimally use and archive the knowledge generated here for later access, an individual application was created in close collaboration with the software developer, United Planet. The development concept “from the administration, for the administration” guaranteed that all required functions were included and that the application could be integrated easily into the everyday working.
Sense of unity as a plus point in the “War for Talents”
Another positive effect that can be observed since introducing the social collaboration platform is that it brings people with similar interests together and creates a sense of unity in doing so. One of the current challenges consists of enthusing competent junior employees for administrative working. The Digital Workplace helps administrations to live up to the expectations of the younger generation for a healthy work-life-balance and an exciting corporate culture.
This enables public offices to present themselves as an attractive employer. At the same time, working with technology is a given for junior employees. This, in turn, promotes the entire organization’s flexibility and openness towards innovations in the long-term.
eID authentication: secure access – regardless of where and when
Sensitive data often plays an important role in the public administration sector. SenFin decided to host the digital workplace solution themselves instead of operating the software in the cloud. Meyer commented on this decision: “Because the data in our portal isn’t anonymized, data protection is an especially important subject here. Our data is on our own servers and therefore, we’re not forced to publish the data.”
Additionally, the administration developed a special authentication method that draws on the eID functionality of the nPA (new personal identification card). The particularly inexpensive solution – it only requires a card reader devices and if required, the activation of the new personal identification card’s eID function – provides the employees with secures access to the portal. And all of this regardless of where they are. The employees benefit from greater flexibility because of this – they can decide for themselves, when and where they work. Without compromising security, they can take part in the office’s internal communication and stay up-to-date from home. With the provision of this external access, the senate administration is pursuing the goal of becoming family-friendlier and more attractive to young people.
The authentication method draws on devices from the market leader for chip card readers, REINER SCT. The software behind this was developed together with United Planet and the IT and management consultancy firm Moysies & Partner.
Saving resources by digitalizing processes
The SenFin is not only striving to make information more accessible for authorized employees with the Digital Workplace. A pivotal benefit expected by the SenFin is time saved due to the digitalization of processes.
With this in mind, various regularly occurring work processes are modelled in applications in the Digital Workplace today. Ralf Meyer is excited about the reductions in workload that this has produced: “By digitalizing processes, we save a lot of time and therefore costs. Even for seemingly small processes, such as leave requests, that are now made digitally instead of on paper, we quickly saved 30,000-40,000€ per year.”
An internal ROI evaluation showed that the process of requesting a substitute and then checking the plausibility and availability of said person takes six minutes today. Earlier, when the requests were still made on paper, sent via in-house mail and the absence was added to the wall calendar, this whole process took 22 minutes. With over 500 employees and 8-10 procedures per year, Mr. Meyer’s figures are definitely comprehensible.
As well as leave requests, the Senate Administration for Finance Berlin is gradually modelling more processes electronically in the Digital Workplace. Meeting room reservations, material orders and training requests are other examples of digital processes that were implemented in a manner that saves on resources and speeds up procedures. Sustainably digitalizing the administration has begun with this.
Everything at glance thanks to e-folder connection
An important plus point of the Digital Workplace from SenFin is that information from a variety of sources is displayed on a central interface. This means that employees need to switch between different programs less often.
The integration of data from external systems takes place without complications with the help of the available connectors. Appointments, recent mails and support requests from the IT are obvious and clear at a glance.
Even accessing the e-folder can be done from directly within the user interface of the Digital Workplace. Because of this, the employees are provided with a holistic, mostly process-oriented view of the relevant information. All required processes and data are gathered together on the central platform, meaning employees find what they’re looking for more quickly, are less distracted and can complete their tasks more speedily and easily as a result.
Conclusion: Becoming a modern service provider with Intrexx
The Senate Administration for Finance is pursuing a variety of goals with the introduction of the platform. The internal communication should be improved and attractiveness for young applicants should also be increased. At the same time, the solution should help optimize processes and be accessible securely from any location. Based on this requirement specification, the decision was made to set up an integral digital working environment with the software Intrexx.
Project leader Ralf Meyer is pleased with the decision: “Within a short period of time, we were able to establish a modern working environment and create a constructive communication culture in the integrated social intranet.” Because the platform can be expanded with desired functions, the administration-internal processes can be digitalized deliberately. The direct access to the e-folder from within the Digital Workplace and the authentication with the help of the eID function of the nPA (new personal identification card) round off the entire package and represent an experiential modernization of the administration.
“When interns and students come to us, they’re surprised at how modern the working conditions can be. With Intrexx, we have created a Digital Workplace which improves communication and therefore the collaboration decisively.” Ralf Meyer, Advisor for E-Government and Knowledge Management
Mr. Meyer admits that some of the employees had reservations about the new technology during the introductory phase of the platform, but this is completely normal because man and machine are fundamentally interdependent. For this reason, it was especially important for Mr. Meyer’s team to introduce the staff to the subject with deliberate measures, e.g. with introduction events.
The workplace of the future requires a wide-stretching networking of competences across departments. Success factors, such as knowledge, experience and also creativity, are becoming increasingly important in the administration sector. Therefore, the SenFin placed great value on creating a constructive communication culture by introducing the Digital Workplace.
This provides the SenFin with an important tool needed for implementing the requirements of the Berlin e-government law. As well as the electronic records, the internal work processes, which are to be digitalized by law, can be modelled digitally. Since 01.01.2017, all leave requests from the entire office are processed electronically with the required approvals using the so-called “UrlaubsApp” (Holiday App).
Ralf Meyer, Advisor for E-Government and Knowledge Management
Everybody probably knows the feeling when you see that your holiday request gets lost in the flood of paper on your boss’s desk: There’s got to be an easier way! It’s easier at HECTAS. Since 2014, the service provider has consistently modernized such procedures. Less paper, more Digital Workplace.
The approximately 11,000 Europe-wide employees work every day to bring a satisfied smile to the face of their customers. To do that, their internal procedures need to be as clean and tidy as the property they take care of. By using a Digital Workplace software, HECTAS is deliberately encouraging the digitalization of their company.
The company’s IT department had a clear picture of what they wanted: All documents should be available clearly in one location meaning employees don’t need to search through any and every storage location every time. From the very beginning of the search for a suitable solution, processes and workflows played an important role, as the project leader Martina Henke reveals: “We wanted to completely move away from paper and model our business processes digitally.”
HECTAS was lacking a classic intranet. A situation that worked for a long time but was never ideal. They wanted to make important documents easier to access. That’s why they started looking for a suitable software. Two solutions quickly emerged that vied for the favor of the decision-makers.
To begin with, another product was taken into consideration because they already had some experience with it. However, building a portal with this to the extent planned would have been incredibly time and cost-intensive. And precisely speed was an argument for its opponent. And that’s how the hour of the underdog came: The software Intrexx, from the software house United Planet in Freiburg, Germany, promised rapid implementation while providing comprehensive options for individualization at the same time.
Ms. Henke is certain: “Developing a similar environment with the other solution would have taken much longer.” With Intrexx, however, many functions were provided at the touch of a button using the applications available for free. “Afterwards, we adjusted the platform step-by-step to our needs with applications tailored to us.” Together with the consulting team from United Planet, HECTAS subsequently created workflows that digitally model the company’s internal procedures.
Wherever workflows and processes are deployed, this results in large reductions in workload for the office workers at HECTAS, for example in approval processes such as holiday or investment requests. Digitalizing procedures provides them with two considerable advantages: greater transparency and a noticeable improvement in process speeds.
“Everything that was previously on paper and had to be moved from one desk to another – and then somehow “evaporated” – is now available at all times. With Intrexx, our processes run more quickly and transparently.” According to Ms. Henke, this also means that the processing/approval status can be tracked at any time.
In comparison to the previous procedures, the simplification is both tangible and measurable according to Ms. Henke. For example, holiday requests previously had to be printed out and signatures had to be obtained from different locations. “Today, the superior receives an email, clicks on a link and the request is already approved. I don’t need a calculator to figure out that that’s much quicker. We save paper, time and particularly labor costs.”
The HECTAS headquarters is in Wuppertal. As well as this, the company is active with its 40 offices in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Hungary. To begin with, the Digital Workplace was only used in the German offices. It didn’t take long before requests from other offices came in. Martina Henke can understand that very well: “The colleagues had a look at our system and thought, ‘Cool, it can be done that quickly? Awesome!’” In the meantime, the portal is available in three languages: German, English and Dutch. This allows 670 employees to conveniently access all current information Europe-wide.
The potential for the future is still great. And there are a number of additional procedures on the agenda, which they want to simplify. The proposals for these primarily come from the users from the individual departments. For example, they are currently working on continuing to improve their layout. The switch to responsive design promises simplified access to the Digital Workplace with mobile devices.
Is HECTAS planning to tidy up so much that paper completely disappears from their offices? Martina Henke has to smirk at this question: “The paperless office is an ideal that we want to reach in the future, but the journey there is a long one. With Intrexx, we’re one giant leap closer. We’ve already digitalized many, previously paper-based processes and the list is getting longer all the time.”
“Intrexx provides us with a wealth of benefits: We save paper, time and labor costs that previously went on searching for information. The users are excited about the speed with which our processes now run.”
Martina Henke, IT Support
The Caritas of the Archdiocese of Vienna covers the region of the state of Vienna and the eastern part of Lower Austria. Alongside the 4,400 full-time employees, approximately 2,100 voluntary employees provide person-to-person help in the Caritas facilities. More than 7,300 additional men and women are active as volunteers in Caritas projects (Status: 2013).
The Caritas considers itself to be a community of full-time and voluntary employees who help people in emotional, physical and material need.
Due to the increasing number of helpers, it became necessary to improve how well they’re connected as much as possible. That’s the only way to provide aid quickly, efficiently and without bureaucracy.
Because there hadn’t been a central system for internal communication up until this point, all required features, that the employee portal should include, were evaluated in advance in a project group.
After detailed testing, Intrexx – the portal solution from the software developer United Planet – was selected as the most flexible and practical solution.
In more detail, the following features were important:
A service provider, which could guarantee rapid and straightforward communication and if necessary, quickly provide on-site support, was important for the implementation and the continual running operation of the employee portal.
With Xinger Solutions – an Austrian sales and solutions partner of United Planet –, these criteria were met in their entirety.
A quick win during the implementation was the fact that functions could to some extent already be used on the live platform even before the actual go live date. In this way, a quickly developed application was used to vote on the name of the new platform. The fact that one third of all users already made use of this first contact with the new platform, bears witness to the high acceptance and excitement about the new technology.
Presenting functions and information centrally should increase the productivity of the employees. The following applications were therefore selected for the launch of the platform:
The high social and organizational complexity in this project demanded a high level of quality and flexibility from the side of the technology and the project management. With Intrexx and Xinger Solutions, the goals were completed in their entirety after a project throughput time of 10 months.
The telephone book alone is accessed approximately 50,000 times per month. This demonstrates that the system is also accepted by the users.
For the Caritas Vienna, it was especially important to create a platform where the employees could interact with one another, they should be able to comment on and like information at central points. From this time on, the employees can get the information themselves meaning the flow of information is improved considerably.
The project management is receiving numerous ideas for expanding the offer of applications – a great step in the direction of a “Digital Workplace.
“The portal improves the cross-departmental communication within the organization. Relevant information is available centrally. The employee portal provides us with the ability to make the various working realities experiential for all employees – regardless of which department they are in.”
Corinna Sharma, Internal Communication, Caritas Vienna
Elpring is an industrial enterprise in the electrical engineering sector. For its customers and investors, they supervise comprehensive construction projects regarding electricity. This includes the installation of power supply systems as well as the project documentation.
Elpring provides numerous services ranging from acquiring building permits through to performing building inspections and providing support in planning energy distribution.
In order to keep pace in the highly competitive market, they are constantly working on improving their work processes to better supervise projects. The Czech enterprise saw need for improvement especially in their data storage. The employees weren’t provided with a uniform information system until 2015. This resulted in redundant information management and in documents being hard to locate. This took up an unnecessary amount of the employees’ time – costing the company money.
None other than the Managing Director, Josef Limr, attended personally to the important task of modernizing work at Elpring. A software was desired that the company could use to digitally model and depict its unique procedures. And of course all of this as quickly as possible. With a central platform they wanted to make it easier to manage contracts and speed up the processing of incoming invoices.
The straightforward customizability required for a variety of scenarios argued for the introduction of an enterprise portal. In this “Digital Workplace”, the employees should find the required information quicker than before and be able to interact cross-departmentally. At Elpring, digital transformation was understood to be an opportunity – and they wanted to benefit from it. With the support of the partner X Document House Prague, the software Intrexx was introduced in a matter of days. This is a popular solution for the Digital Workplace.
Based on the Intrexx framework, individual applications can be created quickly and connected to one another. For this reason, the first applications went live after just three weeks. After this, new functions were added on a weekly basis. The Digital Workplace can be adjusted step-by-step and provided real added value not long after the start of the project.
By modelling the company’s processes digitally, these proceed more easily and quickly. In this way, the system speeds up the processing of incoming invoices and letters, among others. In the meantime, an entire project management system was also put together.
Important information is no longer stored in unorganized Excel files on the PCs of individual employees but is conveniently accessible via the portal instead. Even reports for the management can be generated automatically from the available data. Here, every employee has their own access and can adjust the view to their own needs. This means the tools and information needed regularly are accessible in just a few clicks.
Josef Limr is satisfied with the results: “Intrexx meets the needs of the company with its practicality and ability to adapt to our actual needs and practices. It helped us to speed up internal processes and remove all local, unproductive project data microsystems.”
E-learning directly on the shop floor
The aspect of data integration tipped the balance. Only one of the solutions tested by KASI was capable of incorporating all required data sources. And this solution offered even more: the networking platform made it possible to play e-learning offers and tutorials directly on smart TVs on the production line. The fact that a competent contact person, X-Document House Prague, was on-site for questions and support made it even easier to opt for the software, Intrexx.
The new portal went live after less than three months. It’s being developed continually up until today and is therefore being optimally adjusted to the changing needs of KASI. The company makes use of custom-made applications which can be created rapidly with Intrexx.
Two applications are currently in focus. The first of these is a reporting tool which is utilized to plan and control production. Clear, graphical assessments provide a quick overview of the current production status. According to Mr. Kuchyňka, the efficiency could be increased considerably thanks to this. Scrap during production could be reduced and the development of new ideas proceeds in a more goal-driven manner and therefore more economically.
The other central application is the e-learning platform. The solution is in use around the clock and supports employees during production with tutorials and assistance. The information can be transmitted directly from the Development department to the Production department. This saves a lot of time. This means that production workers are able to implement changes quickly or manufacture new products. And all of this is possible without training because they get all of the information they need online via smart TVs at their workplace. Furthermore, errors or wastages can be reported and possible improvements can be suggested. This leads to a reduction in used materials and thus, outgoings as well.
Sunrise Medical is one of the world market leaders in the development, production and distribution of wheelchairs and systems for perfect sitting and positioning. Across the world, 2,000 people work for Sunrise Medical. In accordance with their motto “Improving people’s lives”, the company’s innovative products enable people to lead an independent and autonomous life.
The facilities of Sunrise Medical have various production lines where a wide variety of wheelchairs are assembled. In the past, a flipchart stood next to each production line where employees could write down the currently missing components by hand. A process which lead to paper-warfare and was in desperate need of improvement. Furthermore, it was also important to them to simplify collaboration with partners and to improve data management of the comprehensive portfolio, which was previously more of a building site.
At a trade fair in 2011, they received a CD – yes, they were still around then – by chance. This CD contained a test version of Intrexx. Christian Hügel, Business Analyst and responsible for optimizing processes at Sunrise Medical, was convinced: “Intrexx was predestined to meet our requirements.” Because the software has attractive acquisition costs, there wasn’t another option for Hügel: “I have to say that Intrexx was unparalleled in its area and still is. I don’t know of any other solution that can provide the same in the areas of flexibility and customizability. For our requirements, SharePoint would be like the proverbial bull in a china shop.”
With this, a process optimizing portal was assembled within two months – including planning and testing. For this, they made use of the consulting services of the software developer. As a result, Sunrise Medical was able to modify the portal themselves with additional, to some extent substantial, projects to perfectly meet to their needs.
In answer to question, which functions are most commonly used, Hügel replied, “For us, Intrexx is much more than just an intranet.” Everything that can’t be modelled directly using the ERP system – especially process – is solved with Intrexx. When the company switched to the new ERP system “QAD Cloud ERP”, Intrexx especially showed its strengths in the data integration, “The entire data migration from the old ERP to the new was taken care of by Intrexx.” Furthermore, Intrexx is used to merge and consolidate data. That’s why, as an example, the product data management system, SolidWorks, is connected to Intrexx. The data is processed, verified and then transferred to the ERP system by Intrexx.
Another highlight is the supplier portal including a Kanban process. The largest suppliers of Sunrise Medical have access to the extranet. Here, they can see a list of the articles to be supplied. Which parts are needed when and where is automatically displayed. This means that orders no longer need to be actively placed. Christian Hügel sees benefits for both sides in the supplier portal, “It improves collaboration immensely. We have a direct reduction in workload and the suppliers can decide for themselves, when they want to download orders”. Instead of selecting an oversized ERP solution which would provide such a process, they could economically implement the process themselves with Intrexx.
By digitalizing many of the daily occurring processes, Sunrise Medical benefit from tangible savings in time. The analyst, Hügel, is also pleased about how this also leads to reduced costs. And the flipcharts from earlier? Nobody really misses them. They’ve been thrown away and replaced by monitors. The data entered here is, by way of a process, is forwarded to the right place and the additional steps – from ordering the parts through to informing the customer about the projected delivery data – is taken care of automatically.
“Intrexx is simply unparalleled in its area […] For our requirements, SharePoint would be like the proverbial bull in a china shop.”
Christian Hügel, Business Analyst, Sunrise Medical
The Munich Tree Climbing School, with its headquarters in Gilching close to Munich, specializes in trainings and advanced trainings in the area of rope climbing techniques, tree care and work safety. Since the MBKS was accredited as the first training location in Germany in 2002, it has continued to grow, and comprises of approximately 25 trainers working across Germany. Together with numerous cooperation partners, the Munich Tree Climbing School provides a broad spectrum of courses.
Previously, different systems were used for managing and processing courses, trainers and participants. This lead to data being stored in multiple locations which, among other things, impaired how accurate and up-to-date the data was. In the future, the entire procedure (planning, performing and post-processing) for the courses should be automated in one system. Furthermore, communication with trainers and participants should take place and be documented in the system. Finally, the website should include a course search and registration form.
The seminar management system was created with the portal software Intrexx from United Planet. With its available modules, it enables users to quickly and economically implement individual solutions. The MBKS system consists of the modules: CRM, Course Planning, Course Performance, Reports, Documents and Master Data Administration.
The information required for the entire system is managed under the menu point “Stammdaten” (Master data). Here, data, such as regions, course locations, document priorities and course categories, the various statuses for courses and participants, and the course types (course templates) can be entered and managed.
In the “CRM” area, all companies, people, trainers and course participants are managed. In a trainer calendar, all unavailable dates of the trainers are managed here. The calendar makes course planning much easier. When a trainer is assigned to a course, an appointment is automatically created in the trainer calendar. This means that appointment conflicts are already considered when planning the courses.
Under the menu point “Kursplanung” (Course planning), all courses are administrated. This includes the creation and editing of courses, as well as of text blocks and documents for the courses and tasks to be completed by employees. Trainers can be booked for a course, and these trainers automatically receive an email confirming this booking. A course can be published and released for viewing on the website. The course appears in different overviews (list, calendar, map) and can be booked directly by the visitors. Once they’ve booked, the visitor automatically receives a confirmation. Interested customers can be added to each course so that these can be won as participants later. Participants can also be manually added to a course in the system. The running of the course is supported from start to finish. The participant receives various information and documents from the system: confirmation of registration, participation invoice, course information with directions and a hotel list, and, once they’ve completed the course, they receive a certificate of participation.
If a course is cancelled, all participants automatically receive the appropriate information and, if they’ve already been invoiced, they receive an invoice correction per email. This also occurs if a participant cancels within the corresponding cancellation period. A waiting list is created for each course and this is used in the case of a cancellation. It’s also possible for participants to switch their booking to another course.
In the “Berichtswesen” (Reports) area, statistics regarding the courses are generated. These statistics help optimize the future planning of courses. Course statistics, participant statistics and over-booked course statistics all help in this optimization.
The “Dokumente” (Documents) area contains all documents created by the system, as well documents uploaded by participants, with the corresponding connections to the course, participant, location etc.
“Our complex working structures in the seminar management provided us with problems – PortalConsult and Intrexx were the answer. The system introduced by us is multifaceted and works with automatisms leading to a reduction in workload.”
Merlin Fuchs, Münchner Baumkletterschule