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The Digitalization of Knowledge and Processes

Before implementing the Atlassian tools, an innovative and globally positioned German company with nearly 125 employees used OneNote, Excel and email for communication and project management. The COO of the company realized early on that the “classic” setup was unsuitable for the digital future of the company. After all, that way, factors such as transparency, collaboration, business intelligence based on real-time data, and digital project and task management are inevitably negatively affected. In a nutshell, SMEs, in particular, can profit in many ways from the digitization. The following case provides an excellent example of this.

The digitization of processes and knowledge

Examples from the project:

  • Research project management: this was previously conducted in OneNote but is currently conducted in an integrated system of Jira and Confluence with links to in-house databases. For this purpose, a new app was developed, known as the Resource Manager for Jira
  • Employee Care with the Jira Service Desk (among other things, includes business travel applications and training requests). Goal: the gradual transformation to a digitized service organization.
  • Using Jira for tracking internal software development with Bitbucket.
  • Quality management in the Confluence intranet: including the mapping of the company processes with draw.io
  • Safety trainings and eLearning conducted using the Confluence and the Stiltsoft App Course and Quizzes
  • Contact and employee directory: Confluence with Linchpin User Profiles has been used to organize contacts and employee directories.
  • Communication: Confluence has been used as an intranet and knowledge platform. Blogging/micro-blogging is done, using:
    • Collaboration and project spaces 
    • Meeting Notes

The SME digitization has been successfully completed

Scope and Requirement Workshop

A clear definition of goals is indispensable for the success of a project. This does not only include the short and medium-term goals that need to be achieved but should also incorporate a more long-term vision. The successful cooperation between the client and demicon GmbH was based on this foundation from the beginning. After a required workshop was completed to commence the cooperation, there were periodic feedback sessions with decision-makers and continuous feedback was given in all stages of the implementation process. 

It’s refreshing to collaborate with a company that is willing to work iteratively. We are dealing with processes that affect the whole company and yet we get results quickly. We try our ideas in a timely manner and everyone involved learns a lot. It’s great that there is no fear of mistakes or feedback. It is so true that holistic progress can be continuously developed. –  Christoph Thomas, the Digital Solution Agilist at demicon GmbH.

Vision: #nopanopa // no paper, no pain

It was clear from the beginning that the goal was to digitize as many processes in the company as possible while placing planning and collaboration on a new project and knowledge base. After the evaluation, it quickly became clear that this trend-setting approach, with as little paper, Excel, and e-mails used as possible, could be optimally achieved with the Jira Service Desk and Confluence. 

Confluence, which was rolled out as a central knowledge platform, should serve as a cockpit for daily work. As a particularly logical step to reduce a large amount of sent notifications and CC emails during collaboration and projects, Confluence was not even connected to the mail server for notifications. In order to increase customer satisfaction with optimal user experience and intuitive information architecture, the app Refined Theme for Confluence, was used. This makes it easy to provide an out of the box Confluence platform with a suitable corporate design.

Change: C-level, stakeholders, and decision makers

In every change project, there is always the challenge of questioning the established structures. This often occurs in companies that have been successful in the market for a long time.  In addition, in times of digital disruptions, the previously established structures become uncertain. However, the willingness to change at C-level is absolutely critical to success. Using the example of that particular client, the positive impact of the change becomes clear when it is driven by the company’s decision-makers. An important piece of advice: Always identify the stakeholders early and get them on board.

Keep employees in focus and create an acceptance of the change

Even though the management actively promoted the digitization project from the beginning, it was always important to keep the focus on the implementation of the new tools in a step-by-step manner. A clear recommendation: Pay close attention to the fact that, in each case, concrete measures are taken, which offer employees added value for their daily work.  Projects that require change have a far greater chance of succeeding if open communication and a user-centred approach is pursued. 

Cultural and process change

Inevitably, new tools also change collaboration in a company. This starts with the collaborative use of Confluence and Jira & Co and predicts the ways that employees communicate with each other daily. Therefore, the companies need to equate the digital transformation with a “cultural journey”. It should be understood that tools for agile and collaborative work do not automatically make a business agile and improve collaboration. Rather, the change of the corporate culture towards a more open system only works step by step and is usually a real challenge for all participants. However, it is a challenge that is highly rewarding when implemented properly.

Transfer of processes is only superficially easier. Once all the stakeholders are on board, it is worthwhile, firstly, to visualize and clearly document the existing processes. In the project, this was done with the widespread Confluence app, draw.io. In the holistic approach adopted by demicon GmbH, process analysis and consulting with a sense of proportion was carried out during this step, in order to only digitize the processes that are really “alive”.

App Spotlight: The Resource Manager for Jira

In the client’s company, new and innovative projects are constantly being initiated in research. This ranges from materials research to the construction of devices to test researched molecules and to measure their properties. Such projects require certain resources (personnel, equipment, laboratories) and must be planned according to prioritization and dependencies on individual tasks. A control on the basis of people/time is, therefore, not sufficient.

Since Jira and the existing add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace did not provide sufficient solution, an individual extension of the software was programmed after the proof of concept. The new Resource Manager for Jira now allows resource planning to be done also on a basis of material resources, not only based on time. In other words: the company has a limited number of devices that are needed for several projects, for example, an electron microscope or a 3D printer. With the Resource Manager, you can plan and schedule these resources (devices) for all projects for optimal utilization. 

With the help of appropriate dashboards, all research tasks can be approved, and the results can be reviewed by the Steering Committee. The result: real-time controlling and sustainable planning for research project management.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about the Resource Manager for Jira.

What’s next? An outlook without the use of emails

It is important to realize that a digital transformation is not a project that can be completed in a day. Moreover, regarding the acceptance by employees, gradual further development of the digital tools is absolutely necessary. 

In this project, the next step in the further development of digital tools is already planned. Other software tools will also be integrated into the system and the management of the research projects should be further developed. The resource management app developed by demicon is also undergoing continuous development.

In addition, several other processes are still waiting for their paperless-equivalent options in Jira and the Jira Service Desk. It is clear that the goal of daily business processes, research, and project management without the use of much e-mailing cannot be achieved overnight. However, only those companies that begin the transformation processes can achieve this.

Atlassian apps in action

The Atlassian tools such as Jira, Jira Service Desk, Confluence and a wide range of other applications, can be successfully used in the digital transformation process. In practice, however, there is hardly an Atlassian toolchain without extensions (apps) from the Atlassian Marketplace. These apps are developed and deployed by third-party vendors. With over 3000 partly similar and very different solutions, the right selection in the “app jungle” requires good orientation. As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, we have the experience necessary to make the right choice for our clients. In addition, we are partners of many of the abovementioned manufacturers and, therefore, have direct contact with them. The right choice of apps to use is not always easy, so, rather let the experts advise you in this selection.

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