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| Nataša Centa in Mojca Hafner Jereb

Digitization of an advanced management

A mere wish to be successful is far from enough. To attain a certain goal, the right path needs to be taken and all available tools be utilized. A successful company cannot exist without computers. Computer tools untap immense potentials of IT technology. But only comprehensive use of such tools will bring the desired success.

Digitization of an advanced management

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As we know, dinosaurs went extinct even though they were awe inspiring due to their size. Probably, other animals were afraid of them instead of seeking shelter in their vicinity. On the other hand, petty, annoying high-pitched vermin known as mosquitoes survived despite of all human race detesting them and trying to do away with them. The reason why mosquitoes survived lies in their ability to adapt to every kind of change in the environment. Dinosaurs were cumbersome and lingered in their traditional ways. They failed to adapt and this is why they have died out.

What has been the most prominent difference between developed world and other countries for the past decades? One of the most obvious characteristics is surely how fast the work gets done. In the developed world, only "here and now" is appreciated. Manual preparation of invoices and receipts is a thing of the past. Postal firms see a decline in correspondence by mailing letters. Electronic means have become the preferred choice. Automatons (computers) reply to electronic purchase orders, send invoices and follow the status of purchases, payments and shipment. In developed countries and companies located there, only few tasks are still performed manually, while the majority of other work gets done by this or that kind of machines. Everything is organized and streamlined for the purpose of completing the work as precisely and quickly as possible. This boosts efficiency and at the same time cuts costs of labor and business operations. It is the higher quality and efficiency of work that increases the gap between successful companies (the developed ones) and the ones that lag behind and are on the verge of a more or less speedy downfall. Surely nobody wants to be unsuccessful, lag behind or even collapse. So, let's investigate a specific domain within your company where you earn your living and share responsibility for the best possible performance, and find out how you can contribute to better results and performance. Let's investigate the digitization of management and business operations as a whole.

HOW TO BECOME AND REMAIN SUCCESSFUL

As mentioned earlier, a lack of flexibility, adaptability and agility causes a company to lag behind. Today's business environment actually forces companies to change the framework of thinking and behaving. Only the ability to respond quickly can lead to survival. For some companies, it might already be too late, as competitors who responded quickly and started using modern digital solutions have gained great advantage and it is not possible to catch up with them anymore. While it is true that large and successful companies have already carried out their transformation, perhaps not everything is lost. However, each employee has to commit to partake in the building of an agile organization. Agile organization is by definition an organization that is willing to undergo changes. It may well be the case that approaches that worked in past decades, have become obsolete, and that organizations that keep clinging to old ways of functioning and thinking will become obsolete and fail to thrive. Let's remind ourselves of Olivetti, a prominent typewriter manufacturer. With a downfall of classical typewriters, Olivetti almost lost their business as they focused on their daisy wheel electrical typewriters. Even though their innovation was a breakthrough, there were already advances in computer text editors. Olivetti had to diverge from their breakthrough innovation to be able to continue their growth. Once they joined the stream of digital technology innovations, they managed to rescue their business. It was Olivetti's employees, organized in teams, who had found new, more effective ways to realize company’s goals. Do not allow your company to end up in a crisis forcing you to awaken. Start right away and transform into an agile company with new ways of thinking and functioning.

DIGITIZATION – INTRODUCE NEW WAYS OF FUNCTIONING

Digitization is not a mere extension of old ways of functioning and migration of paperwork to computer screen. Some people think that by putting data in Excel spreadsheets and correspondence done using predefined templates, enough has been done already. Still, this involves manual labor even though the data is stored in a computer. Moreover, some people continue to print the data on paper and fill long shelves with endless document files.

For instance, in monthly payroll calculation, a comprehensive digitization means to replace all manual calculation of travel related daily allowances, sick leaves, leaves of absence, overtime work, on-call duty hours, travel orders and so on, including the data recorded using a Time and Attendance terminal, absence approvals, work orders and also the data entered into personnel file system by employees themselves. There are IT solutions that can help you accomplish more and better in less time. Manually entered data are prone to error due to fatigue of the person who enters them or other factors.

Of course, there is also the issue of data security. What if your computer breaks down? The entire storage may get deleted. DVD-s or any other storage medium may also get damaged. Today's IT technologies use storage in the Cloud, which means that you can access your data wherever you are. This storage in the Cloud is also more secure in terms of hacker attacks, but of course you need to use appropriate equipment and change passwords regularly.

The digitization of Time and Attendance (and Payroll further down the line) will help you to realize for instance how much time an employee spends smoking in a dedicated smoking lounge. In our company, we had a case of a worker spending 90 hours smoking in a single year.

IMPORTANCE OF DIGITIZATION OR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The digitization or digital transformation of a company brings several advantages compared to classical manual processing. There are five important aspects to it:

1. THE WORK GETS DONE FASTER.

  • No more time-consuming data entry.
  • No more payslip printing and handing to each employee.
  • No more writing paper approvals for leaves and absences from work.
  • No more leave quota decisions on paper to be handed to each employee. The above list of documents is taken care of by means of employee's individual personal portal within a modern IT solution. The application provides data about a specific employee, a work group, or entire company, with a single click.

2. COMPANY EXPENSES REDUCE.

  • Administrative expense is less as there is less printing.
  • Labor costs go down as the person taking care of document printing is relieved of the task. IT technology enables the employees to open their own personnel file by themselves and print the documents that they need. As the documents are always available for look up, printing becomes unnecessary.
  • Overtime hours go down as the application enables managers to plan the time needed to complete certain work. Any hours exceeding the planned time are subject to manager's approval.
  • Corrections of Payroll errors and deviations become fewer. A company may have a number of different combinations of commuting to/from work. It is possible to define specific combinations in advance and apply them by simply clicking a button.
  • Employees who smoke, have coffee-breaks or leave the premises for short periods, need to register their absence so that this time gets counted as their personal time for errands, and consequently they need to make up for this time according to committed working hours.

3. COMPANY EFFICIENCY INCREASES.

  • The time previously required for manual data entry can be invested into people instead. You will have more time left for planning, searching for talents, and finding new work opportunities and work improvement tools.
  • The commitment and responsibility to enter travel order details after returning from a trip shifts to individual employees and their managers. Employees themselves can enter all the necessary details.
  • Employees can always look up their data. Any misunderstandings and inconsistencies can be rectified promptly.
  • It is easy to have an overview over the data, and the data is readily available for a variety of reports. You will only need a click to find out how many sick leaves there are in your workforce, who are the employees on a prolonged sick leave, or how many employees will be taking their annual leave in a specific period. This way, it will be easy for you to plan work for the people who will be attending during the specific period…

4. PAPERLESS OPERATIONS BECOME POSSIBLE.

  • Payslips, agreements, annexes to agreements, decisions on leave quota, decisions on overtime work, income tax payment summary, assessment sheets for annual appraisals in public sector, and a number of other document types are available to employees through their individual personal portals.
  • Public sector requires annual appraisal grades to be entered, and these are then the basis for the calculation of promotion. Modern IT solutions require the HRM department to only check who didn't manage to carry out the appraisal at a certain point in time. After the appraisal is complete, candidate promotion calculation follows.
  • Having completed company's digital transformation, reminders will be entered into a shared calendar, and also into each employee's personal calendar. This way, it will be easy to observe important dates (such as termination of a fixed-term employment contract, refund claim deadlines, medical examination periods, and similar).

5. DATA ENTRY ERRORS ARE PREVENTED.

  • Automated Time and Attendance registration eliminates errors in payroll calculation. At the same time, benefits the employee is eligible to on the basis of attendance, get calculated. Errors in determining employee catering meals, daily allowance payment or overtime work payment are eliminated. On-call duty is taken into account as soon as the manager enters an on-call duty order and the employee registers upon arriving at the location.
  • Each piece of information only needs to be entered once. Then, these data are used in other parts of the application as required. Any manual copying of data poses a risk of introducing error to the data.

6. COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS IS ENSURED BY THE SOLUTION ADMINISTRATOR.

  • The task of keeping up with changes in laws and regulations applicable to payroll and employee management is quite laborious and requires knowledge of laws. At the same time, any noncompliance with laws and regulations is a risk to the company and imposes criminal liability. The administrator of your IT solution is the one who takes care of compliance by paying close attention to changes in laws and regulations and implementing software changes relating for instance to the calculation of holiday bonus exempt from taxes, travel related daily allowance and similar.
  • Under user rights granted under GDPR, employees are eligible to look up their own data stored in employer's systems. Employee's individual personal portals within the IT solution enable employees to access their own password protected data by themselves, without any help from the HRM department.

You cannot turn the winds of development. But surely you can harness the wind and use it to sail into the future. Failing to embrace the digitization of company's work process and management means losing wind from your sails. In order to thrive, companies will need to put to use the possibilities offered by IT solutions and the digital transformation. Company size and market monopoly lose all relevance when facing today's environment. Adaptability is the feature to cling to. Company's agility is reflected in adopting the best solutions the market has to offer.

THE DIGITIZATION OF YOUR COMPANY WILL ENABLE YOU TO:

  • Complete the work faster and better.
  • Cut company's expenses.
  • Share the responsibility for data correctness between managers and employees.
  • Introduce paperless operation.
  • Comply easily with laws and regulations.

GO AHEAD STRIVING AND DEVELOPING INTO THE BEST AMONG THE BEST.

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Authors

Nataša Centa, BSc in Education, Mathematics and Physics, expert in HRM digitization by means of modern IT-solutions, Product Manager at Četrta pot, d.o.o., Kranj

Mojca Hafner Jereb, Bachelor in Organizational Management specializing in IT, consultant and expert for the implementation of Time and Attendance information systems, Product Management Assistant in Četrta pot, d.o.o, Kranj


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