How to Maximize Agility for Your Company's Success

By Ethan Stine
4 min read

Getting your Bearings

Toward the end of 2017 the team at Boston Dynamics, a leading robotics research center, posted a video that went viral worldwide, racking up millions of views in just a few days. Previous iterations of their core product, the Atlas Robot, had lumbered clumsily about. This video, however, showed Atlas completing a series of box jumps and executing a backflip with a perfect landing.

The video’s effect was seismic among seasoned and casual technology observers alike: Atlas could adapt to the geography of its operational environment and execute a complex move. In other words, the robot had become agile. That quality is critical to most things operating in our modern world, be the robots or businesses.

The breakthrough that allowed Atlas to go from Gameboy to game changer? Proprioception—knowledge of exactly where you are and how you are moving relative to your environment.

Separating the Best from the Rest

A high sense of proprioception separates elite gymnasts from the also-rans, and the same quality is extraordinarily valuable for any business. Customers are better informed and increasingly in search of solutions tailored to their specific requirements. Companies that can meet those needs and quickly respond to environmental changes will succeed against their competitors.

Gymnasts achieve perfection through correcting and eliminating mistakes under the watchful eye of a seasoned trainer. Similarly, the engineers at Boston Dynamics constantly watched, assessed and measured Atlas’ performance and used that data to make the adjustments that took it to the next level. But how does a company achieve this agility?

It all comes down to information. Gymnasts have performance scores. Robots have diagnostics. Companies have data. All you need is a source that can be drawn upon to improve performance. Information increases knowledge; knowledge increases the ability to adapt.

Turning Data into Insight

Until recently, consultants were the best solution to improve business processes and help foster agility. Yet consultants are expensive, time-consuming and, being human, come with their own biases and preconceptions. An alternative solution? A revolutionary software category called process mining.

IT systems run numerous processes on a continual basis, producing enormous volumes of data. Process mining takes that data and analyzes it in real-time to produce a clear visualization of how a company is operating in real terms—much like putting the company’s operations through an MRI machine.

Once those bottlenecks, inefficiencies, errors and process deviations are all laid bare and made clearly visible, businesses can work to put things back on the winning path.

Putting Process Mining into Practice: Siemens AG

The benefits of objective analysis quickly became clear to Siemens AG after implementing process mining in 2013 for its global O2C (order-to-cash) program. The company has been able to:

  • Realize a significantly higher automation rate.

  • Reduce rework (for example, manual price corrections) by double-digit rates.

  • Avoid millions of manual activities, including master data improvement and newly customized settings in the ERP.

  • Share global competencies across regions.

  • Improve their “Digital Fit Rate” KPI by discovering new automation and manual rework reduction opportunities.

  • Democratize and expand availability: Six months after roll-out there were several hundred users in six divisions spread over dozens of different countries. Today Siemens is home to the largest process mining installation in the world.

  • Seen significant annual savings, along with tangible increases in customer satisfaction.

Watch our webinar recording to learn more about Siemens way to process mining and robotic process automation.

Evolving your Agility

Information deepens understanding—it helps companies grow, learn and enhance their operations. A company that effectively analyzes its wealth of existing data is a company that can plan proactively, face fewer surprises and marshal resources appropriately to react to the unforeseen when required.

Combining data and awareness—of customer needs, market changes, or the competitive landscape—leads to true agility and ultimately success in a business environment that changes faster and more comprehensively than it has ever before.

Data is the core strength around which business agility is built. Process mining acts as diagnostician and trainer, uncovering inefficiencies, exposing root causes, and empowering companies to implement corrections, improve performance, and move closer to scoring that perfect ten on customer scorecards.

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