Some Members of Staff Are Capable of a Lot More

Feature Article | August 24, 2005 by SAP News

Heiner B. has been in the company for eight years now. He is always reliable, well turned-out, and punctual. He is always courteous and helpful toward his co-workers. When he works, however, he does so quietly and secretly. Not even his direct superior knows exactly what he does. Heiner B. belongs to the quiet species of staff members who barely communicate while working. In fact, many bosses may think this is exemplary. But how would things look if he did actually communicate with his colleagues every now and again?
There have been many changes in the company over recent years. The magic word was “efficiency”, which translated into the bare fact of redundancy. Once the “pruned” departments have regrouped, many companies experience fresh disenchantment. The new economic miracle is nowhere to be seen. Is another wave of redundancies on the horizon? It doesn’t have to be that way, believes United Planet, Freiburg-based software manufacturer and SAP Business Partner. The “Summer ’05” release is the latest version of their “Intrexx Xtreme” software. Companies and public administrations can use Intrexx to set up and operate co-worker portals – often still known as intranets – quickly and easily, and also organize internal processes. Alongside countless new functions and templates, such as a tool for a quick company opinion poll (e-voting), the new version now also offers a project, task, and time manager.

Intrexx Xtreme speaks SAP Business One

Using a version of Intrexx Xtreme developed in collaboration with SAP, complete corporate solutions can be creates quickly and easily from a single source. The package contains templates and applications for creating comprehensive corporate solutions developed jointly for SAP Business One. Data can be made available in real time in personalizable Enterprise portals and dashboards with drill-down functionality using the Software Development Kit (SDK) from SAP Business One.
Intrexx Xtreme and SAP Business One enable consistent user interfaces and working environments, known as workplaces, to be developed for the first time. These enable SMEs to implement the full range of e-business functions transparently and consistently.
The software solution, which – as is normal for portals – can be operated via a standard browser, is completely oriented toward teamwork. Each project is broken down into individual tasks, and these in turn are allocated to the team members. All participants have access to a virtual project space in which documents or memos are stored centrally. The memos can also be sent automatically via e-mail, if required. This means that staff members who travel frequently and external project participants are always kept fully informed. A central portal provides each team member with information about the current project status and whether any individual jobs are behind schedule. Ready-made analyses and a graphical overview are aimed at project managers and managers.

Role playing within the company

Fully integrated into the company intranet, the Intrexx Xtreme project studio includes a user-management module that provides all information based on roles. When a member of staff logs on to the intranet, their start page contains a portlet with a list of the tasks personally assigned to them plus other useful company intranet information. If the staff member wants to tackle one of these tasks, he or she clicks an “accept” button, and the time spent on the task is recorded in the background. As soon as the job is complete, the staff member stops the recording and the time is automatically assigned to the project.
United Planet have a simple recipe to encourage staff members with previously unstructured working patterns toward the methods of modern project management. “Like CRM, project management is a complex topic, which, as a rule, requires considerable training in both the software and the various procedures involved,” says Axel Wessendorf, MD of United Planet. “This is also the reason why companies have in the past been reluctant to implement what are doubtlessly intelligent and useful tools, such as CRM or project management. In order to remain competitive nowadays, each tool must be checked for its ability to derive an efficient solution from what is a chronically scarce resource, namely the ‘staff member.’” The solution itself came into being in the course of a project named “Motivationsorientierte Wissensbewertung” (motivationally oriented knowledge evaluation) sponsored by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, in which United Planet collaborates with the Fraunhofer Institut Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation (Frauenhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, IAO) in Stuttgart.
The entire portal software application with user management, application and layout manager, and many other useful tools and templates costs a one-off price of approx. €100 per employee, and the Intrexx Xtreme project studio has a one-off cost of €1,298. An unrestricted version of Intrexx Xtreme can be downloaded from United Planet’s website. Further licenses only need to be purchased above the sixth user.

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