Nurturing Business Innovation to Maintain a Competitive Edge
Business innovation is when an organization introduces new processes, services, or products to affect positive change in their business. This can include improving existing methods or practices or starting from scratch. The advantages of scale and the imperative for serial innovation—may be even more relevant today as innovation leaders need to adapt to rapidly shifting patterns of supply, demand, consumer behavior, and ways of doing business.
Innovation is critical to business health. It helps organizations effectively respond to unforeseen events, solve complex challenges, and catch up with advances in technology. It means being able to respond more effectively to increasing customer expectations and choices. And it means being able to create increased value for the customers that they value.
Digitally Transforming to Remain Competitive
Industrial machinery manufacturer Andritz produces highly specialized parts and machinery for hydraulic power plants and paper machines. Founded in 1852, they have a heritage of innovation in industrial machinery production and have delivered tens of thousands of machines to customers across industries to help them achieve profitability and sustainability. As a customer orders a new machine, Andritz engineers take a close look at the customer’s requirements to develop a customized solution that provides the most efficient outcome for them.
To enable engineering teams to work more productively and meet the needs of customers, Andritz wanted to equip engineering and research units with flexible IT solutions to help them deliver the optimal solution for customers faster.
Andritz shifted its focus to digitalization, such as the integration of sensor-based machine data, aiming to develop new services and products for its internal customers. Andritz’s IT team used SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix, a low-code development platform, to deliver several new applications to the business in a matter of days.
One application was focused on the inspect-to-quote process. Previously, this process took approximately 14 days. Andritz wanted to further digitalize their inspect-to-quote process and digitally transfer all inspection documentation into the customer’s quote. With the new application, which integrates with SAP S/4HANA to access existing data, the inspect-to-quote process is not only paperless, its 50% faster – which translates to better service for customers.
Driving Exceptional Outcomes
Now Andritz IT can build prototypes for new applications that can be shared with the business in two weeks, as opposed to several months in the past. This enables them to rapidly implement new digital products that give them a competitive edge. And by providing the business with templates, each business unit can tailor customized applications to its unique needs, and more importantly, the needs of their customers.
BCG Research (1) has shown that companies doubling down on innovation during downturns—using the opportunity to invest and position for the recovery—outperform over the long term. But doing that successfully requires developing a clear innovation strategy and supporting it with appropriate investment, leveraging the advantages of scale, and ensuring that your innovation system is nimble enough to spot and seize the best opportunities quickly and decisively.
It will be exciting to learn more about how low-code development can help nurture business innovation during Mendix World which begins on September 1st. Join the ‘Simplify Your Transition to SAP S/4HANA Without Stopping Innovation’ in a Lead the Way session.
Learn how you can use low-code to drive digitalization and innovation forward!
1 – Boston Consulting Group, The Serial Innovation Imperative, June 2020, [Michael Ringel, Ramon Baeza, Rahool Panandiker, Johann Harnoss]