BAYERNWERK NETZ GMBH
Data that was never available before!
Designing a process digitally from start to finish increases data quality enormously and enables completely new forms of further processing and evaluation.
What does that mean exactly? An example:
The energy revolution has completely changed the market situation. Instead of a few large energy producers, nowadays anyone can theoretically generate energy. Yet with many energy suppliers of different sizes, testing and maintenance processes become significantly more complex. These energy producers have the appropriate technology and measuring devices that need regular maintenance and must be read by companies like Bayernwerk Netz.
In the analogue world, all data was recorded with pen and paper. Unsurprisingly this led to forgotten information with incomplete entries. This meant costly follow-up work and even extra visits to the customer to complete the data recording.
A smap (in-house app solution created with smapOne) now does the data recording, precisely collecting all data. By using mandatory fields and fixed checkpoints, data quality is significantly better. Thanks to automation, team members send PDFs and this is stored in the right place on the company's Microsoft SharePoint platform, facilitating seamless documentation.
What's even more interesting is tahat recorded measurement values are always transferred to an Excel file automatically via a connected workflow. This automation creates real-time data that was not available before; which measuring devices have already been read, which still need checking, and what target achievement level the company has reached as a whole in the process.
While smapOne is primarily used for mapping operational processes, canvas apps are created with Microsoft Power Apps. Here, very complex processes are digitised. For example: where several companies collaborate in one app and different data sources are integrated via interfaces.
All captured data, whether from a smap or a Power App, is stored in a structured way and can also be processed automatically via Power Automate or evaluated using Power BI. Completely new opportunities arise for data interpretation or enriching it with further information (i.e., SAP data).
Josef: "For me, the huge advantage of using both solutions is that I can create an end-2-end digital process. By using smapOne and the Microsoft Power platform and linking them meaningfully in the right place, every process can be mapped completely digitally, from the first data entry to the last evaluation. The customer also has a great advantage with this: in no time at all, they receive the documentation, the report or the annual maintenance log. Due to the variety of connection points with Power Apps, there are virtually no limits to the further processing of the data. And that is really important. When media breaks are avoided, data is not lost, time is saved and complete transparency is created."
The benefits of an end-2-end process design with smapOne and the Microsoft Power platform:
- Speed: Processes are much faster than before. Paper-based data no longers needs manual entry, and this alone saves plenty of time.
- Data quality: Data (both quantity and quality) is created now, "which is something we only dream of in this past." This means more options for evaluation.
- Data analytics: Important trends and tendencies can be identified from the data. This is still a bit of a pipe dream, but the next logical step if the data base provides these possibilities.
Once again, who builds the smaps or apps?
Lukas: "The ideas usually come from colleagues who are out at the customer's site. They submit the ideas to Bayernwerk's internal digitisation initiative "NEXT" and we then support them with implementation. Colleagues are most familiar with their processes and aware of the pain points. Who then builds the smaps varies greatly. In principle, our goal is to enable as many colleagues as possible to create their own smaps and to inspire them to do so. So there are colleagues in many different departments who have already created smaps. But of course, my team also builds smaps, as often there is not enough time in the departments or the requirements become more complex."
Josef: "It's similar with Power Apps. The only major difference is that working with Power Apps requires a certain affinity for IT topics. You can quickly familiarise yourself with the topic, but without any IT knowledge or interest it is more difficult, although not impossible. Power Apps often digitise use cases that involve multiple departments, which are complex and extensive. For example, when several people are working on a shared Excel spreadsheet that's getting bigger and bigger, and handling it is getting difficult, they come to us to request an appealing app-based solution. Since these are usually complex use cases with multiple stakeholders, we create a good, long-term solution here based on the Microsoft Power platform."
And what about the approval process?
Lukas: "At this point, we need to look at both tools separately. New smaps in particular are considered by multiple institutions within an enterprise if they process personal or other critical data. In most cases, however, the smaps are not critical and can be published relatively quickly."
Josef: "With Power Apps, information security, data protection and the works council must generally be involved and approvals must be obtained. We see Power Apps more as an IT project, which then also has to be integrated into the existing system landscape, especially when sensitive data is processed."
Lukas and Josef's 360-degree solution shows very clearly how Gartner's "Pyramid of Applications" can be implemented in a work context. There is not just ONE tool for digitising all processes in a company, but instead excellent interaction between several solutions for fully comprehensive digitisation.
Now we want exact details: Is it possible to express in figures how much time can be saved?
Lukas: "Because of the variety of apps, both in smapOne and with Power Apps, it's hard to break it down to a number. If we convert a simple maintenance log with checkboxes into a smap, we might save a few minutes per maintenance activity when entering data. However, the actual added value arises primarily after entering the actual data, and it goes far beyond pure "time savings". Now we can access complete data and there is no need for manual follow-up work. Thanks to automation (e.g. storing the PDF reports on SharePoint), we have created a very clean, complete and fully digital process. So we could say: the added value comes from the quality of the data and from, as Josef said, the end-2-end digital process."
During the maintenance process of the measuring devices described at the beginning, for example, one item of significant added value is the fact that our boss now has a quick overview of all data. This allows him to coordinate the work of the service technicians much better and to ensure at all times that all of the customers' systems are inspected regularly. Routes can therefore be planned better and faster for him, which not only relieves the strain on him, but also on his colleagues.
Josef: "With issues like this, the long-term perspective is of interest. Especially the topic of versioning. You know what it's like: everyone saves forms somewhere or other, one uses an old document over and over again or there are different versions floating around, and in the end no one knows what the current version is. With a mobile solution, everyone always has the latest version on their device; be it in Power Apps or smapOne – this applies to both tools.
Our main driver is not therefore to save time, but to focus on new technologies in the long term that are simpler and easier to maintain overall. With the help of "Citizen Development", we can actively drive forward this digital transformation in companies and therefore continue to digitise a large number of standardised processes as efficiently as possible in the future."