Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Siemens Digital Industries Software is a computer software company specializing in 3D & 2D Product Lifecycle Management software.
Siemens Digital Industries Software’s sales teams needed a new approach to improve its integrated country plan (ICP) process. The spreadsheet approach they were using was outdated and cumbersome and unable to withstand the growing business challenges they regularly faced. Business intelligence information was in many formats and multiple systems. Different sales departments were going rogue, creating their own plans and using their own methods. Siemens soon learned that when reporting is seen as a burden, it is kept to its minimum requirements and filled without collaboration. This created an environment where there was neither engagement nor ownership and no consolidated view of planning.
Siemens understands that when you have a platform that encourages collaboration, you can leverage the whole organization’s knowledge. Embracing this, Siemens enlisted the Mendix™ platform to build an app that would allow them to significantly improve the ICP process. Mendix is a leading, low-code application development platform for creating and continuously improving mobile and web applications at unprecedented speed and scale. The ability for cross-functional teams to collaborate in an agile fashion is revolutionary for not only application development but for digitalization as a whole.
The ICP process is vital for Siemens as it is an internal process used to align a country’s sales targets and market targets to allow zone sales to determine the precise place to focus their sales efforts. In addition, it allows sales teams to prioritize the solutions that should be taken to market.
Despite how important the ICP process is to Siemens, it fell victim to the downside of traditional collaboration that many companies face. It had no user control and no user-specific views, which made it a frustrating experience for collaborators. Additionally, the plans relied on data from multiple, disconnected systems, which put the accuracy and reliability of the data at risk.
2020 proved that low-code apps are rapidly becoming a go-to solution for not just innovation but also vital improvements to efficiency, experiences, and system integration. Given that Siemens now had a low-code application platform within the Xcelerator™ portfolio, it made perfect sense to apply the technology to the ICP process.
The Siemens sales team that took on the challenge to build an app using Mendix included two rookies with no Mendix or development experience, three developers with no Mendix experience, and one expert who possessed both Mendix and development experience.
The team endured two weeks of boot camp training. They found that when engaging with Mendix, their development accelerated at a rapid pace. For example, one team member went from not being a coder to building basic microflows within one month. Six months later, this novice team member was building application programming interfaces (API) to connect SAP® systems.
The first proof of concept (POC) was built by just two team members, one of the rookies and the expert. The POC was built using spreadsheet data to ensure feasibility as well as value-add of key functionalities. After the POC was established, all six team members worked to build out the full app in a little more than two months. It was rolled out to 300 people and produced stunning results.
Breeding a collaboration and execution platform, the new Mendix-powered app created numerous benefits and saw the team’s mindset change from “where do I enter data” to “what can I see/learn?” promoting project ownership.
Among the notable benefits achieved, the app produced version control, secured user access rights so users could see relevant data, and enhanced information accuracy through system integration. Perhaps the biggest change brought about came through the team’s attitude toward the planning tool, as it has transformed from a task of entering data to full engagement with a planning tool that gives insight into the business and helps drive decisions.
This project progressed Siemens’ commitment to providing a more insightful, collaborative planning environment. Using simple spreadsheets was no longer required for country planning as the company moved forward in its digitalization journey. By using Mendix to build and use an app, Siemens gave up burdensome spreadsheets and significantly improved its ICP process today and into the future.