For each person or company, digital transformation means something different. Mario Vesper provides insights into what digitization means in his everyday work life and what Intershop can do to help our customers drive their digitization.
Digitization in digital businesses – what is that about?
For our product development, the potential of digitization lies in reducing manual processes, for example when we translate test results into reports and dashboards. As Program Manager Products covering the Release Train Engineer role, my goal is to automate our processes so that the data enters the system without manual work. Digitization is to a large extent process optimization. When it comes to copy, edit and paste, this should become a thing of the past.
Customers state this, too. They may have a reporting tool in use, where they export and transform data to generate their Business KPIs. In order to provide a weekly reporting, the same processes have to be carried out again and again. This is time-consuming and resource-intensive, and can be overcome in a small project by automating these repetitive tasks.
So Intershop is facing similar challenges to other companies in constantly working on digital optimization?
Yes, of course, this is a continuous process, because it is constantly being re-evaluated. For example, when we integrate new features such as the newly supported MS SQL database or develop new products such as our Progressive Web App they have to be integrated into our standard processes. An optimization is always possible! Error avoidance and resource efficiency are a major driving force for automation.
Do you have an example of the optimizations you are currently working on?
Yes, these are primarily the tests I mentioned before. We have a test environment that automatically clicks through our products all day long, adding up to about 15000 use cases for the Intershop Commerce Management. The results have to be assigned to internal versions. If there are a few flaky test failures in about 15000 tests, that's within limits. But these failures must be transferred to a table and evaluated and analyzed in conjunction with third-party systems. We are still doing this by hand at the moment, but basically a machine could collect all the information, relate it and derive instructions for action. The efforts that can be saved in this way can easily be calculated. Here the return on invest is big enough that we will automate this in the next weeks.
So with the capacities freed up by automating repetitive tasks, customers can work on new systems, shops, sales channels or other ideas!
Yes, and if such a new feature is ready to be rolled out, there are manual processes left that can be automated subsequently. So you can always work on new topics with the same personnel and thus develop new functionalities economically.
What features are already deeply automated in the Intershop Commerce Management and what automation scenario are you currently working on?
Rolling out additional country channels is just a click away. Also, entering translations into the system is no longer a major manual effort. Starting with Intershop Commerce Suite 7.10, a customer can now import global product attributes defining the global product handling within the system, e.g., if they are displayed in the storefront. So the complete product import is now completely automated out-of-the-box and the effort to define it for each attribute within ICM has gone.
If you are an Intershop customer and have areas that require automation, maybe we can help out. Contact us and we will discuss these options for your specific case.