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The Polish digital transformation is turning mature. In developing BPM systems, digitalization leaders are increasingly focused on building relations between customers and their own employees, pushing previously promoted operational excellence into the background.

The digital transformation in Poland has many faces. The mature business environment in Poland means you can find everything from fledgling digitalizers, just embarking on their first implementation of ERP systems, to entities which have been freely leveraging solutions to automate and modify business processes.

DIGITALIZATION: NOT JUST FOR THE SAKE OF IT

Transforming from analog to digital solutions, with creative use of the latter to build business advantage, is no longer limited to market innovators. It is an increasingly common element of innovative business strategies.

According to Forrester, cost reduction is no longer the main motivation in business process management. It is being squeezed out by more strategic process digitalization (Business Process Management Playbook, Forrester, 2016). However, experts believe that operational excellence should not be a goal in and of itself, pointing out that effective digitalization is often determined by optimization focused on digital consumer contact points.

This approach is being practiced by a growing group of Polish companies, on the bleeding-edge of domestic businesses. These organizations are already using BPM/RAD solutions like WEBCON BPS, and are developing their own digital solutions in order to adapt them to business demands concentrated around the digital expectations of consumers.

A survey conducted by WEBCON in May 2017 concluded that the BPM implementation areas most important for businesses next year include sales and consumer relations (40%).

Interestingly, the surveyed companies consider the digitalization of human resources (39%) as equally important. This means that as digitalization takes a leading role, organizations are starting to see the need to take care of their most important resource – their employees. The obvious, immediate benefit for both sides is the automation of simple, repetitive tasks. This unshackles the time and skills of personnel, allowing them to focus on more creative activities. Providing employees with innovative systems alone is not enough, though. What also matters is providing equal and easy access to information, fair and structured involvement in decision-making processes, and quick and effective HR support. The classic understanding of process optimization, i.e. the drive to operational excellence, is slowly taking a back seat.

Other areas identified by users for digital development include finance (33%), investment and project management (29%), and quality management (28%). The remaining 23% of respondents said that BPM tools could be used to develop the following areas: integration with third-party systems (e.g. SAP), IT support and ticket processing, production development and planning, orders, purchases, operating processes, logistics/shipping, complaints, and project coordination. It should be noted that a number of respondents plan to develop out-of-the-box processes, tailored to the strict guidelines of their internal clients.

Leading companies have already completed stage one of the digital transformation, the development of classic business processes. With things like invoice approvals and holiday requests established, businesses are starting to fully appreciate the potential offered by BPM tools. They’re hungry for more, and demand is growing every year - says Radosław Putek, CEO of WEBCON.

THE BUDGET IS NOT THE SOLE IMPEDIMENT

Reports on a global scale indicate that, while the popularity and recognition of the digital transformation grew in 2015 by 50% compared to 2014 (Google Trends, 2016), 47% of companies have not started to embrace it (Progress, 2016). Luckily 55% of them planned to start making changes in 2017 (Progress, 2016).

Why is Polish business afraid of digitalization? The companies surveyed by WEBCON identified factors impeding their implementation of BPM platforms in organizations. The most important ones were insufficient human resources (49%) and resistance to change (42%). Interestingly, hesitant management was tied for third with insufficient budgeting (37%).

Less significant reasons listed by WEBCON’s clients included problems with determining the actual ROI (18%), concerns with long implementation times (15%) and other issues (5% of all respondents) like other ongoing IT projects.

The poll results clearly show that it is very important to build awareness of the benefits that come from the use of innovative IT tools in business, Radosław Putek says. It should be noted that the current trend is to lower the entry threshold and develop solutions that enable easy changes in applications, especially when the project’s scope and goals are not yet crystal-clear - continues WEBCON’s CEO.

THE APPROPRIATE TOOLS TO ENSURE SUCCESS

The digital transformation spreads from vertical processes into horizontal ones, penetrating individual departments and functions, reaching outside the organization. This is what Gartner calls the creation of a digital ecosystem. It requires creative business process management, which can only be accomplished with the appropriate tools. Tools that are agile enough to keep up with the ever-changing business environment.

According to Gartner, less innovative BPM solutions (lacking efficient change management for example) will prevent 80% of companies from reaching the desired objectives of their digital strategies in 2017. Gartner’s experts point out that only 40% of company tasks are routine enough to be handled with traditional BPM systems. The remaining 60% demonstrate a certain level of uncertainty and cannot be predicted or modified in advance. Gartner notes that in 2017, 70% of effective business models will be based on handling unstable processes, changing according to client needs.

When it comes to processes requiring ongoing adaptation to both external market demands and internal requirements determined by the needs of employees, the long-term solution is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool. These tools enable easy creation of business applications, with quick and simple modifications, not requiring programming skills -says Radosław Putek. Market leadership can be gained by through a company’s quick reaction to or even anticipation of certain situations and events - the CEO of WEBCON adds.

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