In the past, when companies optimised processes, they increasingly focused on introducing automation and a new IT-workflow. However, the envisaged improvements and savings very rarely came to fruition and it was not always certain that the investment would prove profitable. Successful optimisation requires the interplay of various components. Otherwise, there is a serious risk of increasing material costs without reducing personnel expenditure.

There are various reasons why simply implementing a new IT-system does not automatically lead to improvements and savings. The most obvious obstacle is the fact that the new IT-solution does not fit in with the familiar working methods. Unless the processes and structures are modified, the new opportunities will not be fully seized, or the familiar processes will be transferred to the new IT-solution and become even more rigid. In both cases, the result is the same: nothing really changes and the new IT-system does not produce any notable savings.

The reservations and insecurities of employees can also prove a hindrance. New, sweeping changes generated by an IT-workflow are often regarded with suspicion and rejected. This resistance is then disguised with many “objective” reasons why the new IT-solution is of little use, for example overemphasizing and generalizing specific problems. Once this resistance has formed, it is almost impossible to obtain widespread acceptance of the new features and the optimization fails.

The next problem is that the new IT-workflow may simplify many activities but does not necessarily produce clear, efficient processes. It is also possible that taking a purely “technical” view will increase the cost and complexity of the new work processes, thwarting the original goal.

Once all the obstacles mentioned above have been eliminated, the next problem arises: efficiency potential that is not quantified is rarely realised. This means that if the savings linked with the individual modifications and improvements are not quantified in an acceptable manner, it is practically impossible to realise them. It is not enough to estimate that “the improvements must save X%”, and this approach can quickly lead to “passive” resistance among employees.

One critical factor that is often underestimated is realisation planning and execution. The outlay and resulting resistance are particularly underestimated. After all, only what is realised in a concept actually counts. In addition to realisation management itself (which ultimately correlates to traditional project management), success is primarily determined by “soft” factors.