Review of the 5th SOLYP3 Key User Circle

Friday, 13. January 2017

The SOLYP-Strategy in Advent 2016:
Give, Exchange and Enjoy

To put the advent strategy “Give, Exchange and Enjoy“ in action, some well-known SOLYP3 users met in Nuremberg on 1st December 2016. SOLYP3, the Strategic Intelligence Software, joined up companies of various sectors and sizes. Not only were the speaking parties of SCHULER AG and ALTANA AG present but also TDK, Epcos, Sto SE&Co.KgGA, Job AG, BASF AG and Winkelmann Gruppe didn’t want to miss the latest news on the SOLYP3 development.

A strategy for the environment and employees: How ALTANA AG and SOLYP3 protect and preserve
 

Mrs Daniela Peñailillo of ALTANA AG made it clear in her impressive speech that SOLYP3 can not only navigate and create strategic planning processes more efficiently but can also put other process contents into more detail. She showed how SOLYP3 questionnaires can define company targets, to increase transparency and to generate reliable numbers for the annual sustainability reports in the sectors of environment and work safety.

Sustainable corporate management plays a key role for the market leader of special chemicals, ALTANA AG with its turnover of 2 billion € and 6.000 employees: “Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand“ emphasized Mrs Peñailillo.
That’s why the company was awarded “Gold“ status after being thoroughly audited by the international rating agency EcoVadis. Because of their market significance they hand in reports at the UN Global Compact Initiative. The environment-related sector EH+S works on subjects like waste and crisis management as well as sustainability reports.

In 2007 all necessary data regarding CO2 emission, water usage and waste of over 50 production and sales sites were put into Excel, which was a time consuming process and prone to error. The decisive change in the management of this highly complex data was brought on by looking into other departments. ALTANA AG has been successfully working with SOLYP3 in the areas of strategy/ M&A to navigate their strategic business development. From strategic planning, Mrs Peñailillo also took on the administration of sustainable targets with KPIs.

Specific targets were set relating to CO2 emission or water usage in the environmental sector or the number of work accidents and the related number of lost working days in the sector of work safety. Only one SOLYP3 questionnaire had to be compiled to gather and merge this data of over 50 business units. Apart from being a uniform and central data collection Mrs Peñailillo highlighted more benefits:

  • SOLYP3 reporting delivers reliable data which can be immediately included in sustainability reports.
  • Improvements in the sectors work safety and efficient use of resources can be controlled and measured by KPI standards. Projects and other initiatives were helping to significantly improve key figures (with the help of SOLYP): “Numbers are going down“ Mrs Peñailillo is happy to hear.
  • Target tracking and business unit development can be viewed and made accessible by generating PowerPoint slides by the push of one button.
  • Various reports of all environmental KPIs are available to the corporate management while on a divisional level the same KPIs regarding production can be retrieved.

ALTANA AG will also be integrating “Work Accident Indicators“ (WAIs) in SOLYP3 and therefore make a specific questionnaire available to mere sales offices as no KPIs are pursued regarding emission and usage. The test phase of this integration is already running and as well as Mrs Peñailillo, ALTNA AG and their employees, we all may enjoy a cleaner environment to which SOLYP3 makes a small contribution.

Schuler AG uses SOLYP to implement business strategy
 

Speed and focus are the two successful factors of strategic business management. Dominik Semet of SCHULER AG gave specific insight how SOLYP3 navigates this highly sophisticated strategic process and helps to reach targets.

For more than 175 years SCHULER AG manufactures industrial presses of the highest quality and became, together with the rise of German car manufacturer, market leader in this sector. Today the company with their 6800 employees accounts for a turnover of 1.2 billion € and has production sites in Brazil and China amongst others. Eight divisions of global responsibilities, including “Automotive“, “Intelligent Tooling Systems“ and “Services“, contribute to the business success.

Based on timely roll-outs of the strategic process as well as in-depth SOLYP3 questionnaires with their generated charts, Mr Semet descriptively leads through SCHULER’s strategic work that the goal it is to create so called blue books: to define a corporate strategy for one year.

Dominik Semet clearly presented various SOLYP3 questionnaires that lead SCHULER AG from market analysis to strategic development to definitive action to achieving targets. He gave special attention to the comments function about the performance of individual product groups. A yellow, red or dotted edging of a segmentation matrix of A to C makes it instantly clear which markets have a chance for growth and which markets have not been addressed.

Next to charts for the development of sales and profitability, Semets colleagues discussed foremost strategic directions for new business against existing turnover.

From 0 to 1000 pages in 6 seconds: SOLYP3 is in the fast lane with JOOX

Any news on the SOLYP3 development? – Jan Borchers, co-founder and chief developer of SOLYP Informatik GmbH, answers this question with an impressive demonstration: he generated a planning band with 180 pages in 3 seconds using PowerPoint! After that one of 1000 pages in 6 seconds which is rare in practice! The explanation in one word is “JOOX!“

How is it possible to reach this tremendously high increase in speed with a new tool like that? Simply because JOOX puts an end to creating slides on the client. In the past Visual Basic Scripts had to be unzipped and executed on the workstation of the strategic responsible. The pptx charts are being created on the server with a minimal memory footprint. That means that in practice JOOX can be implemented in the current server environment of the client without further ado. No more investing in new hardware to increase the speed.

But that’s not all – JOOX offers more advantages:

  • The slide creation is made independently of the MS Office version that is available on the client.
  • An office viewer on the client is now perfectly enough to generate, to present and to discuss PowerPoint charts. Therefore, mobile devices like tablets can now be used. Strategic work becomes more mobile and more agile. Out of the office presentation enable new freedom for strategic creativity.
  • Finally, the client can be consistently used because of the extremely short preparation time of the charts.

Unfortunately using JOOX leads to a small disadvantage, “no more forced coffee breaks in the future“ admitted Borchers. No problem for BASF AG who already use JOOX for faster presentations: astonishment followed by enthusiasm.

No more open heart surgery: SOLYP3 in the test centre
 

Many customers like ALTANA AG and BASF AG already profit from the SOLYP3 test centre. Ralf Böhmer, project manager of SOLYP Informatik GmbH, used the motto “No more open heart surgery“ to sum up the advantages of the SOLYP hosted offer and discussed all success criteria with colleagues responsible for strategy.

Compared to previous work procedures, to test customised SOLYP3 application initially in house and to go live after the customers’ approval, the SOLYP3 test centre offers a series of advantages:

  • Both client and SOLYP3 developers can access the test centre, they can both see the same process and potential errors. Therefore, processes become transparent, traceable and most of all faster and errors can be fixed within 24 hours.
  • The customer delivers realistic test data based on past experience and therefore ensures a test environment very close to reality.
  • Only when a SOLYP3 version is agreed on and released by the test centre, does the delivery to the customer take place, who profits on a more trouble free installation process and less cost of installation.
  • Because of the parallel running of the test centre a productive system is available to the customer at all time. The testing of the latest SOLYP3 modules doesn’t interfere with daily work in the slightest.

Strategic responsible were discussing the matter and came to the conclusion that if an extension or a restructure of the existing SOLYP3 system is carried out it should initially happen in the test centre. This method is also useful to get to the bottom of all possibilities of the system: “Many times one knows what one wants when he sees it“ one SOLYP3 user very accurately remarks.

With respect to the test data there was also unison: it should turn out as realistic as possible to enable a realistic test running. Böhmer emphasized that a filling of the test centre with sheer “blind text“ lessens the informative value. The initial filling of the system from the customer requires a certain effort as well as the willingness to realise some sensitive data comes into the open.

BASF AG was not afraid to take this step and made very realistic data available and registered. The result: reaction and development times got reduced significantly. The whole system has become much more agile according to Martin Rügamer, co-founder and chief developer of SOLYP Informatik GmbH.

Take a glimpse on the wish list: What wish has SOLYP3 granted in 2016 and what does the New Year bring?

After the end of a pleasant event all round, Rügamer and Borchers got inspired by the festive season to take another look at the SOLYP3 wish list of 2016. The SOLYP3 developers can put many features, new innovations and improvements under the Christmas tree:

  • Nucleus7 is a considerable face lift for the core version of SOLYP3; the upgrade on JAVA8 closes sensitive safety gaps which were still open on JAVA7.
  • Many don’t want to miss the input help: interactive info boxes support master data by describing the last four units that have been worked on and by delivering clues for input procedure. Whoever doesn’t want to use them can just minimise them.
  • A special relief for Super users: Infix offers a full text search of lists, shows hits and highlights the sources.
  • The administration of classification criteria was designed to be a lot more comfortable. Dependencies can be moved within the structure tree: A number of data sets can be worked on at the same time.
  • Graded write permission can be assigned to certain questionnaires. This means that in practice the questionnaires are being left open top-down, while they get closed down at certain times bottom-up to disable any more filling. Centrally, the system guarantees a unified data base and doesn’t have to be pursued individually.

Right from the start of 2017 SOLYP3 developers aim to fulfil quite a number of ambitions – many of which were inspired by customers, some by themselves:

  • SOLYP’s portfolio which includes Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2, will be expanded by the Berkely developed Open Source data bank PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL supports Windows, Linux and Unix and is, very interesting from a commercial point of view because licensing cost for its use are omitted.
  • The drafting is supposed to be supplemented by new options: A choice of slides or of whole chapters can be individually compiled in advance and then minimized.
  • Number oriented slides of lower levels are supposed to be incorporated in higher ones – directly in the client. This enables a fast view of hard data without taking soft data or special cases into account.
  • JIRA is the name of a new ticketing tool which protocols bugs and features and enables the communication between the SOLYP3 developments and the customer without media inconsistency. Previously, emails with error descriptions and screen shots had to be sent back and forth, whereas the customer can view the status of his ticket. This increases transparency and decreases error, at least in theory. The practise test of a JIRA demo version has to be prompt in order to estimate the impact on customer communication.

The SOLYP3 development takes all these and other innovations and improvements to support the demands of the entire company and to make SOLYP3 a little bit better each day. The SOLYP team welcome all input and feedback, praise and criticism to put all their ambitions into practice. The Key User Circle made its contributions as in every year and the whole SOLYP team would like to express their cordial gratitude.

We also would like to say thank you to Mrs Daniela Peñailillo of ALTANA AG and Mr Domink Semet of SCHULER AG for their stimulating speeches as well as to all other committed participants. We hope that you gained ideas and inspiration for your strategy work and could exchange information apart from your daily work and could enjoy a festive evening in the Christmas market town of Nuremberg.