IIW representatives and the management of a renowned robotics manufacturer met for an exchange of strategic thoughts on the future of automation and robotics. Both sides agreed that a number of new applications are waiting for robots within the light weight segment. This is subject to research at the institute. Here, at the IIW we take pride to give name to our new friend called IIWA.
Increased price competition and other influencing factors lead to heavy costs pressures within IT infrastructure areas.
The IIW offers a dedicated, multi-faceted Change Management Programme to support IT infrastructure regaining organisational fitness.
E-LEARNING AND LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
IT services require a strategy – regardless if they represent the internal infrastructure backbone of a company – or an independent service business serving the markets.
First of all, IT strategy is based upon the directives of over-all corporate strategy. IT strategy has to contribute to all the strategic objectives provided by the over-all corporate strategy.
On the other hand, IT strategy itself provides the fundamental framework for all operational decisions and plannings of the next 3 or 5 years, in particular
- building the potentials of a company´s IT competences, as a long-term offer addressed to internal user-customers inside the firm
- for creation and improvements of new services, business processes, and applications
- for basic and fundamental IT decisions
- for investment decisions and different long-term plannings.
IT strategy defines
- the strategic target position, i.e. where shall IT stand in 3 to 5 years from now ?
- the way towards this strategic position, i.e. how and by which measures shall IT reach this position ?
Within this context, the well-known questions of strategic management may be risen, however focusing on the specific requirements of corporate intelligence and IT technology managements, e.g.
- create a vision for strategic positions of IT
- identify and define success potentials of IT, due to be opened
- identify the relevant influencing factors (competition, technology, etc.)
- clarify potential future situational frameworks (szenarios)
- evaluate IT strengths and IT weaknesses
- evaluate opportunities and threats.
As a result, IT strategy will be defined operationally – including all the measures to be taken, with calendar and milestones, and with a quantification of strategic cost and revenues figures.
The IIW Institute has developed a practice oriented Management Programme, that secures and supports corporate strategy with a professional IT strategy.
Besides conceptual consulting, implementation support is also offered, e.g. by monitoring the milestones, or an IT strategy projects management.
DIGITAL ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Global warming and energy supply bottlenecks are considered to be mega trends of economy, heavily affecting economic development – from now on for the forthcoming 10 or more years. This change is perceivable right now and catchwords such as e-mobility, the smart grid, new energy mix and others more have nearly become day-to-day idioms.
Indeed, the energy and energy services markets are facing rapid change, understanding that change of demand structures, environment, deregulations, scarcity of energy resources, new-type technologies do emerge at the same time. This affects future intra and inter-company handling of energy and emission issues.
We at the IIW have drawn a “Picture of the Future: Energy 2025”: a draft including 15 different facets, all of them indicating that the top issue “energy” will turn out to be more complex in future. We will, for instance, see …
- integration into the digital energy network (smart grid) calling for higher grid quality following EN 50160
- increasing needs for documentation of energy usage, intensity and efficiency, and extended metering, monitoring, reporting
- rigid legislation implying certificates and audits towards EMAS und ISO 14000
- environmental commitment also meaning a quantification of CO2 and energy efficiency data for each single product or piece of service
- new international sourcing, contracting and pricing (e.g. yield management) that will drive new IT applications.
Subsequently, we expect that energy and emission management (EEM) will necessarily be much more performing, and will also receive more attention on a top management level in the near future.
We are absolutely convinced that it will particularly be digital technologies being the key technologies for dissolving tomorrow´s problems within the energy and environmental sector. Still, digital technology is divided into automation and control technology on the one hand, and information and telecommunications technologies on the other hand – however all of them are on their way to digital convergence.
Here, the IIW Institute of Information Management and Technology serves as an independent research partner, maintaining its dialogue with all technology suppliers of all kind within the value chain.
We are aware that industrial, commercial, and service firms will need a more professional and digital technology based energy management – starting from smart metering, including a manifold of subtile differentiations and adaptations of today´s existing data collection, PPS and ERP systems, and finally an extended energy controlling as well as risk management applications in MIS.
Subsequently, generation, storage, feeding-in, i.e. energy-related performance structures will have to be covered to a significantly higher extent – compared to today´s practice. New operational energy systems and intra and inter-company energy flows will have to be covered by all information and control systems such as MES, PPS, and ERP systems.
Furthermore, companies will also more detailledly consider energy issues within their procurement and sales departments. A lot more metering, new billing schemes, energy contract management and a number of special software applications will additionally be developed.
All this results in new operational handling of control information and new requirements for information management and IT. Eventually, top management finds itself with aggregated efficiency and risk information on energy and emission issues.
It is IIW´s expertise to give substantial conceptual support to industrial, commercial, or service firms. At the end of the day, an action plan, a list of short term to long term measures has to be presented and to be put into practice.
There is a 2-step-approach: Firstly, we offer a workshop sequence that prepares for the issues, and also identifies deficits in corporate energy management.
As a second step, our management programme offers a practice-oriented methodology in order to fill the gaps and avoid potential problems later on. Such an integrated project includes the following phases: analysis phase, conceptual phase and implementation phase including IIW´s operational support when putting the ambitiuos DEM concept into reality.
Print, Copy, Fax, Scan: Optimize Service Levels and Costs
Digital technologies have found their way to day-to-day office worklife. However, despite all earlier expectations, we are far distant from a “paper-less” office. Paper usage has even increased throughout the past years.
Some people regard Output Management (OM) as one of the “last” area of workplace optimisation – especially within industries close to the “document” and the medium paper, namely in banking and insurance companies.
Output Management – jointly with Workflow Management – intends to optimise the flow of documents, forms, and orders. In particular, OM intends to sustainably reduce the costs of printing, copying, and paper handling.
As a background we have to consider a structural change in between the classical medium paper and newer electronical or digital media. Also, software species such as Document Management Systems (DMS) or Management Information Systems (MIS) play a substantial role for the “How” and “Why” of paper based provision, delivery, and transfer of information in today´s management.
On the technology side digital workplace equipment and digital convergence of print & copy represent a long-term background, in short terms we view new offers such as multifunctional devices, electronical forms, networked printing, or decreasing costs of colour printing.
As our surveys show, an up-to-date Output Management might save up to approx. 35% of total output costs. It is of importance to decision makers, that not only purchasing price of devices, but only long-term total cost considerations lead to optimal decisions.
As our studies have shown, inexpensive devices consuming extraordinarily expensive consumables as well as the concept of centralisation of devices with subsequently increasing walk-up-costs imply dramatical inefficiencies.
Optimum decisions may be achieved basing upon total cost considerations, for instance viewing at
business processes, considering all flows of documents, forms, and orders
resources, considering all types of costs such as costs of hardware, finance, consumables, services, labour, and others more, correctly accounted
devices, considering the complete device usage cycle, including purchasing, logistics, maintenance, finance etc.
Besides buying options also contractual ways of providing equipment (e.g. pay-per-page billing models) have to be checked up, in particular viewing at levels, transparency, and flexibility of costs.
The IIW Institute has developed a special Optimisation Programme aiming at manufac- turer independent optimisation of corporate output management. This programme includes document-oriented business process analysis, focusing on cost saving potentials within print, copy, fax and scan functions. Such an analysis would include an analysis of the required OM service levels, a calculation of total costs of OM, and as a result, provide a catalogue of measures for output optimisation.
Moreover, the IIW offers a seminar Output Management which provide valuable information, implementation-driven methodology, and a forum discussion and exchange of experiences.
IT COST MANAGEMENT
Also within IT, a professional cost management claims to actively influence and manage cost levels and cost structures.
Also IT services require following cost-related functions:
Evaluation of efficiency and / or profitability
Support of decisions concerning capacity, methods, investments, etc.
Cost and price calculations of IT service products and for billing purposes
Only if the reasons for costs that have occured are transparent and understandable to management, costs may be analysed, judged, controlled, argued, and finally reduced.
Particular issues of interest are cost structure (management of fixed costs) and imputability of costs (management of shared costs).
A professional IT cost management aims at
transparency of costs (and their causes)
flexibility of costs
a sustainable reduction of costs.
Transparency of costs means imputability with regard to influencing cost drivers
the resource causing costs
type of costs
burden centre of costs
unit of cost
responsible decision maker
recipient of service (person, department, business unit)
and others more.
Flexibility of costs (I) means in how far costs vary with output volumes. High percentages of costs varying with output volumes, i.e. mainly variable costs, means flexible cost structures.
Flexibility (II) means capability to reduce costs over the time. How fast and at which conditions and costs can IT assets be divested and IT service contracts be cancelled in order to reduce costs.
Reduction of costs should be seen in relation to required quality and quantities of IT services and IT infrastructure resources. Not cost cutting at any price, but a sustainable increase of efficiency should be the objective of cost management measures.
In this regard, the IIW Institute has developed a practice oriented Management Programme for these companies that are interested in gaining a leading position in IT cost management. After a check-up of IT services and IT infrastructure required, it is evaluated how IT services and infrastructures are provided the most intelligent way. After analysing cost and cost structures different measure regarding cost reduction and cost optimisation in short, medium, and long terms are suggested. We have a particular eye on cost structures (management of fixed costs) and imputability of costs (management of shared costs). Besides conceptual consulting, we also offer support when implementing (e.g. projects management).
IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT
An up-to-date IT service management has to develop the following elements and to check them up with regard to competitiveness:
IT Service Strategy
It is task of the IT service strategy to open success potentials for the IT and the company as a whole. Within strategy definition, is is of importance which needs are to be covered, which readiness to pay for service, who are the competitors, and – last but not least – which potentials can such an IT strategy rely on, in terms of finance, technology, and marketing-related.
IT Service Product Management and IT Service Portfolio
The optimal combination of IT service products, the service portfolio as a bandwidth of service that provide a benefit, a utility, support, problem solution. What is optimal may be judged by management tools such as Value Analysis or Conjoint Measurement.
IT Service Sales Management
Also IT services are being sold to customers – either directly or indirectly.
This implies questions such as channel control, quality management, motivation, and customer orientation.
Service Production and Process Management
Also IT services are being “manufactured”. Modern production management means a well-balanced division of labour between several process partners involved, including the final customer. Also, it means an IT based, professional production planning and control.
A professional process management includes the following central operational functions:
Definition of service levels, on-site/off-site, including self service modules, aiming at “high availability”
Quality management, e.g. IT-SERVQUAL
Emergency and event management
Intelligent self and remote diagnostics tools
Service control stations: Order management, workforce routing & scheduling, e.g. IIW LEITSTAND
Consumables and spare parts logistics
Availability at the help desk / customer care center, 24 hours at 7 days
Integrated trainings and support for service teams, specialists, technicians
Financing and Billing Model
Availability of IT at low costs and with few capital involved, pricing and billing schemes are decisive. As a result, new financing and billing models offer new division of risks and costs between provider and customer, and also lead to certain revenue streams for providers respectively fixed / variable cost structures at the customer´s side.
Professional IT service management also implies a professional purchasing management, in particular related to IT and IT services.
New technologies may become crucial part of new IT service strategies. Therefore, they have to be identified and their potential applications checked up. At present we have a focus on
wireless and self-identification technologies (e.g. RFID / transponder)
remote diagnostics (e.g. telematics)
browser based internet solutions.
IT Workforce Management
Despite all automation – in service areas sich as IT personnel staff will always be of importance as an expert, problem solver, decision maker, instructor, or salesman and so remain the most important resource. Therefore, it is a task to find and bind highly skilled team members – be it business partners or employees – for IT service divisions.
IT Accounting and IT Cost Management
IT service accounting and cost management require planning tools, that are in line with particular needs of IT and IT services.
The IIW Institute has improved the well-known ServQual approach as a practice- oriented Management Programme for all these firms that are interested in a leading position in customer relationship management and in IT service quality.
Besides conceptual consulting we also offer IT-related implementation, jointly provided with selected technology suppliers.
IIW CONTROL STATION
The IIW Control Station is a browser-based software tool designed for the control and management of order and services processes.
Modern service processes are more and more characterized by following features:
- They are complex, i.e.
- there is a manifold of orders to be controlled
- each order is featured by a number of order stages that may be clearly distinguished and defined, and be controlled
- Processes are run by a manifold of persons or even organisations, i.e. a multitude of units is involved, have to decide, and therefore need real-time information on the present status of the order and resources
- Participants are dislocated, i.e. distributed among a certain geography.
Typical situations may be found for example
- within transport industry, including many locations of dispatch and reception, several service partners, many places of operational decision making
- within technical maintenance, and repair services, for example for devices, vehicles, machinery, or plants
- within facility management.
As we found in practice, the interfaces between firms often lacks technical standards. Therefore, such service processes – even between renowned firms – are often equipped with too few effective IT applications. Order management and monitoring are often enough done by fax, telephone, and paper work.
Concludingly, such business processes show lower productivity, time delays, few documentation, a high failure rate.
In these business cases the IIW Internet Control Station could contribute not only in terms of cost but also in terms of quality:
- for each person involved relevant information is available anytime
- the business process and information needs and provisions are decribed more exactly, process quality will be improved
- information quality is improved, operational misunderstandings will be avoided
- reply calls and check-ups by phone may be saved
- operational work becomes more effective and efficient
- information is earlier available (real-time), decisions may be made earlier, scopes of planning may be exploited more optimal, even further optimisation is possible
- persons involved may participate from any place, also mobile applications are possible, work becomes more flexible.
The most important impacts for service operations are quality, flexibility, productivity, and increased scopes of planning.
Customer´s IT systems are often highly complex and often require more protection.
For implementation it is of importance that programming and hosting of the IIW Internet Control Station are realised autonomously, meaning they happen outside customer´s IT systems.
IIW Internet Control Station means a secure and well-performing solution that may be realised within short terms and at reasonable costs, which again means a pay-off within shortest terms.