Robotic Process Automation at CCI Munich: There is plenty to do. Marvin gets it done.

Seamless digitization is often only hindered by a few missing interfaces. The Munich Chamber of Industry and Commerce has found a smart solution: Marvin, a software robot, handles the transfer of data between different IT systems.

The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce are all set for digitization to ensure that important business processes are carried out quickly and efficiently. Almost 9,000 employees in 79 locations of Germany’s largest business organization use numerous specialist applications in their daily work to manage around 3.6 million IHK members.

At the CCI for Munich and Upper Bavaria, Sabrina Triebess is the project manager responsible for IT projects in the departments and drives digitization initiatives that further optimize internal processes for the about 440 employees. She identified a lack of interfaces between the CCI’s core applications as a bottleneck in the digital infrastructure that was reducing process efficiency: The transfer of data between the various IT systems was creating a lot of manual work for the CCI’s clerks.

RPA initiative at the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry

In early 2019, the head of project management becomes aware of the topic of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Could software robots take over monotonous tasks and automate processes across systems at IHK München? Together with the Chief Digital Officer, he puts RPA on the digitization agenda and hands over the project management for a proof of concept to Sabrina Triebess.

As part of a request for proposals, the project manager defines selection criteria for an automation solution at the Munich Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The RPA platform XceleratorOne (X1) from the German software robotics provider Servicetrace ultimately met the most important requirements.

After selecting the appropriate automation tool, Sabrina Triebess initially assembled a small and competent project team with representatives from the business departments and IT. She also relies on consultants from the IT consulting firm Aequitas to support her during implementation.

Pilot process: Digitize before automating

For the proof of concept, the RPA project team identifies the “Change bank data” process, which was very well suited for this due to manual and postal work steps. The project team around Sabrina Triebess aims to optimize this process via RPA.

However, a software robot cannot open letters or inspect analog documents. Here, the project team gains the first, important insight for the successful implementation of RPA: Before a process can be automated, it must be completely digitized. The unstructured data input by mail or fax is therefore first replaced by a standardized web form, which CCI members can use to submit their data online in a structured manner. With this digital data, the X1 bot, which is called “Marvin” at the Munich Chamber of Industry and Commerce, can then get started right away: Marvin checks the incoming data for plausibility, switches to the processing screen and adjusts the bank details.

“The goal is not to replace people with robots, but to use existing capacities more efficiently.”

Sabrina Triebess | Head of Project Management RPA at CCI Munich

Enthuse employees for RPA: IHK internal onboarding

After the RPA project team had productively implemented the “Change bank data” process with X1 in just two days, Sabina Triebess promoted the advantages of using “Marvin” during a workshop with the departments. “The main thing was to show the opportunities offered by the topic of process automation. The goal is not to replace people with robots, but RPA should eliminate repetitive and monotonous activities so that capacities can be used more efficiently.” (Read also: 6 tips for communication during RPA introduction)

In addition, Sabrina Triebess encourages representatives from the departments to “bring along” their own processes to check whether they are suitable for RPA. With the initial RPA check, all submitted processes were evaluated. The project team documented the results in a Confluence wiki accessible to all interested stakeholders.

Competence Center for Process Automation: Internal CoE for RPA

Initially, Sabrina Triebess automated processes on her own. As the project progressed, the project manager retreated to a large extent from the active implementation of automation and now fulfills a rather guiding function.

She established an internal RPA competence center for the actual “bot building”: Two “key users” extensively trained in X1 are responsible for the practical realization of the automation requirements from the IHK departments since the beginning of 2021. “This work-sharing concept with dedicated experts is working very well. Today, Marvin automatically works through five processes at our site. The goal is to identify and digitize further suitable processes in the future and to scale the RPA landscape at the CCI,” explains Sabrina Triebess, summing up her remarkable project success. Together with Marvin, she has taken digitization at the Munich Chamber of Industry and Commerce to the next level: “My team and I are really proud of this.”