The statistics show it: Accessing the right information in the company is increasingly difficult. For example, every third search in the company already takes between 5 and 25 minutes. What’s more, in 67.5% of all cases it takes at least 3 searches to find the right information. This trend is not only felt by large companies with thousands of employees, but also by medium-sized companies with dozens or hundreds of employees. The reasons for this are trivial: rapidly increasing data volumes, employee fluctuations and an increased number of options for storing information.
This challenge was also recognized by the company Müller Maschinentechnik after discussions with the start up amberSearch. “Without the discussions with amberSearch, we probably wouldn’t have seen any concrete need for action on the topic of information provision,” says Lothar Vandeberg, Managing Director of Müller Maschinentechnik. When it comes to digitalization, Müller Maschinentechnik has always been well positioned and at the forefront. However, as various tools have been introduced, the possibilities for storing information have also multiplied. In addition, the switch from working in the office has been partially replaced by hybrid and remote work. Even before the pandemic, Müller Maschinentechnik already had some remote workplaces for field staff in various regions of Germany, for example, but this was not possible for all employees. As a result of the pandemic, the topic of remote work and thus also knowledge management took on another dynamic, as Vandeberg reports.
“In the past, a lot of our work was done classically via the grapevine, but with the introduction of teams, this has naturally changed,” Vandeberg explains. As a result, much more knowledge and information is now documented and can therefore be accessed by other employees. The challenge faced, however, was this: The opportunities for direct consultation had been reduced by remote work, among other things, which means that more asynchronous communication is taking place. The company gained flexibility and did not close itself off to the topic of new work. The company was open to digitization at a very early stage. At the same time, talks began with the start-up amberSearch. amberSearch is developing an intelligent solution for providing information that is based on existing data silos. Even though Müller Maschinentechnik was not aware of the need for a better provision of information from the beginning, the added value was quickly seen. In particular, the focus was on the field service, which often had to coordinate with the office service, design and project management in order to obtain relevant information. But by communicating via teams, much of the communication was now documented. However, it was also noticeable that the amount of data increases rapidly and the overview can quickly be lost — although certain filing structures were of course predefined.
Adding to this, Bastian Maiworm, co-founder of amberSearch, says: “Meanwhile, there are simply so many different software providers for a wide variety of use cases on the market that it is simply not possible to map everything via one system.” Sooner or later, employees fall into the habit of filing information according to their own system.
The cooperation with amberSearch
Since it was clear that the problem of providing the right information would not become any less in the coming years and amberSearch had developed an out-of-the-box solution for this, the decision was made without further ado to cooperate. Müller Maschinentechnik saw the opportunities rather than the risks in working with a young company. Therefore, the system was tested in the management circle without further ado. After this proved successful, the system was rolled out to the entire workforce. If someone at Müller Maschinentechnik is now looking for information, they can jump into all the main systems from one central point. “We are pleased that Müller Maschinentechnik is enabling its employees to work with AI-based solutions. This is a testament to an employer that is not closed to new things and also makes novel information management solutions available to its employees,” says Bastian Maiworm.
“We were particularly impressed that the system came directly out-of-the-box and could be connected within a very short time in consultation with our IT service provider,” says Lothar Vandeberg. The nice thing was that other use cases emerged in addition to the one originally envisioned: For example, the onboarding of employees who have just joined the company can be designed in a completely different way. During the onboarding phase, not all information can be conveyed in the depth that would normally be necessary. A positive side effect of amberSearch is therefore that employees can now find information on their own that would have previously required some further queries.
Another advantage is that the focus is not only on text data, but also on a wide variety of multimedia content. This includes, for example, images or simple messages in team chat histories. Now the amberSearch team is using the feedback from Müller Maschinentechnik to incorporate it into the further development of the solution.
The results of the collaboration with amberSearch
According to Vandeberg, the greatest advantages for Müller Maschinentechnik result from the daily collaboration and the reduced coordination effort, especially when cross-departmental coordination is required. Further optimizations resulted alongside in a more efficient onboarding process, as employees are now able to quickly pick out the answers to new tasks themselves.