How we can profit from Lessons Learned

By documenting Lessons Learned, positive, as well as negative, insights from projects are written down, in order transform the knowledge gained into an asset of experience for future projects.

Typical questions are:

  • Have we learnt anything from our previous experiences?
  • Have we critically reflected on our experiences and drawn the right conclusions from them?

Lessons Learned workshops are usually held at the end of the project. And while there is nothing wrong with this approach, a lot of the knowledge gained during the project may still be forgotten and no longer recorded.

Hence, it is recommended to carry out Lessons Learned sessions after each completed project phase in order to make use of as many of the experiences made as possible for each following step in the project cycle. All findings should be debated, and measures should be derived accordingly.

Lessons Learned documentation often disappears in someone’s drawer and will only rarely be used for subsequent projects. To ensure that analogue or even entirely new project plans can benefit from projects that have already been completed, at Inspiricon, we have made the Lessons Learned documents accessible to all project managers and consultants in our company and stored them centrally.

How we can profit from Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from an upgrade project

In addition, we should not only investigate the negative experiences. There is also a lot to learn from our achievements and we should not take our factors of success for granted.  Instead, successful projects should also be tracked and documented thoroughly in order to be able to reproduce the perfect procedure at any time.

And although a Lessons Learned process might require some additional time, it is well worth the effort because the amount of time wasted on recurring errors is much higher.

At Inspiricon, we emphasize the documentation and consideration of lessons learned throughout each individual project phase. And with our best practices, we will gladly assist you in successfully implementing your projects.

Thomas Dietl Project Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0


Project management

Project management – why the foundation should be laid before the project begins

Various recent studies show, that, still, a large number of IT projects fail or are only partly successfully finished. Most projects are completed far too late or the budget is exceeded severely. And when budget and time schedule are actually met, unwanted compromises are often made, which will very likely interfere with the businesses processes.

This seems odd, especially as a distinct project management has developed into a commonly recognized success factor for projects.

Therefore, we want to highlight different project management methods in our article as well as the essential factors and prerequisites that are necessary to successfully implement IT projects.

The benefits of using a project management is often underestimated in (small and medium-sized) companies!

Not all projects are the same

Every project has its own characteristics and special requirements. Projects should not be perceived as isolated endeavours, they are always embedded in a project environment and interact with it. Influences from this environment can have strong effects on the whole project.

Let us first take a closer look at the different types of project management.

Types of project management in the IT environment

1. “Traditional project management”

Traditional project management

Characteristic for this type of project management is a sequence of project phases divided in milestones in initiation, planning, monitoring, control and project completion. The network planning technique is usually used as a method for process planning. Dates, costs, use of resources and results are determined as far as possible at the beginning of the project. This planning-oriented method is mainly used for projects that have to be completed on a certain date. Changes to the plan are handled via change request.

2. Agile project management

Agile project management aims to make project implementation flexible to unpredictable changes in the environment and also in the scope of services. This is mainly done with the help of short planning and execution cycles called “sprints”. An exact specification of the product takes place only during the project. There are strict budget specifications. A characteristic of this approach is that the focus is mainly on the (partial) result and acceptance by the users. The management and control of agile projects and processes is very dynamic and flexible in order to quickly implement change requests from the user.

Agile project management

The best of both types

In practice, there is often a mix of traditional and agile approaches – better known as a hybrid project management approach. The traditional process model forms the organizational framework, whereby product development takes place according to agile principles.

But what is the best way to carry out your project?

Which methodology fit my projects best?

Method selection:

Whether agile or traditional – for each project, the appropriate method has to be found, depending on the respective conditions. With the right approach, a successful project will always be on time and in budget.

There is no ” template” for successful project management!

Here is the good news: project management is not based on fixed templates, there is no such thing as the one and only perfect project management each project, and it is also not bound to a certain size of the company or the project. Rather, project management can be flexibly adapted to the needs of the company and to the project structure. Usually, the best suiting project management concept is developed individually for each company and tailored in such a way that it fits the project and the objectives.

Is it worthwhile for your company to develop such a concept?

Investing in project management pays off in the long term!

Initially, project management means increased planning effort at the project’s run-up, which ultimately pays off at the end of the project through cost and time savings. This investment, at the beginning of the project, ensures a smoother course and offers quite a number of advantages:

  • Common understanding of all participants in regard to the project goal
  • Reduction of the project costs
  • Reduction of the required time
  • Improved adherence to deadlines, milestones, etc.
  • Early detection of plan deviations and initiation of countermeasures
  • Improved cooperation between team members / project participants
  • Achievement of objectives according to a schedule agreed upon

In order for projects not to be doomed to failure even before the start, and for the increased investment in planning and control also to pay off, it is desirable to have the project manager start working before the start of the project.

Getting the project manager (PM) on board early will benefit a project tremendously

Essentially, the PM is responsible for the successful planning, implementation and control as well as for the completion of a project. Furthermore, he guarantees a structured approach from the very beginning. Many discussions with PM colleagues showed that the greatest challenges during the management of the project are often similar in different projects and can often be traced back to a too late integration of the PM. It is therefore advisable – especially before the actual start of the project – to get the project manager on board early in order to progressively minimize the potential dangers of failure.

The PM can provide support on the following topics:

  • a clean clarification of the order, i.e. definition of the scope of the order/target
  • a good project setup
  • the definition of measurable goals and acceptance criteria
  • promoting a common understanding of the project

The main tasks of the PM

  • Clarification of the project objective and the assignment
  • Designing the Work Breakdown Structure
  • Estimating expenses
  • Creating the schedule
  • Coordination and control of project processes
  • Leadership and organization of the project members
  • Cost calculation
  • Risk assessment and budgeting
  • Planning, implementation and control
  • Takeover of project communication

A bad start of a project cannot only endanger the success of your IT project. Under certain circumstances – if the project budget is large – an unprofessional implementation of a project can also jeopardize the success of your company!

The optimal use of project management minimizes the risks that can disrupt a project. That way, opportunities can be exploited, project goals can be achieved qualitatively, and the success of the company can be ensured.

We will help you with our expertise in project management!

Our project managers possess the necessary methodical tools as well as know-how and experience from many successfully implemented projects for the execution of your project. At Inspiricon, both, practiced project management and leadership skills as well as proven and tested methods and tools are used in the project process.

Thomas Dietl Project Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Helping Santa

Inspiricon is helping Santa Clause

The centre “Mother of God” is a determinated children hosting service house set up and supported by the religious Congregation “The Sisters of God’s Mother” from Cluj-Napoca (a Greek-Catholic religious establishment). The house was established in 1993 and has a capacity of 10 placements. The beneficiaries are children aged between 3 and 8 years. Most children for whom placement is assured in this centre are children coming directly from the natural families. Most are cases that have been monitored by the Romanian Child Protection authorities for years, or children for whom emergency placement has been established, due to the critical situation of the family of origin.

The house hosts the children for a given period of time, until they reach 10 years or are adopted. Over 200 children have lived in this centre through these years.

Three sisters headed by Sister Bernardina, or Mother Adina, as the children name her, are involved in this work, while seven committed people permanently help at their education. One of the sisters is a qualified nurse, another sister is in charge of the administrative part, while the rest of the staff works as caregivers-educators, social workers, chefs or administrators.

The centre does not have a permanent sponsor to support the work of the sisters, and the financial aid granted by the state does not cover the expenses of the auxiliary staff. Individual donations are the ones that help sisters raise the children.

Inspiricon wants to support this generous initiative and contribute financially to the sisters’ effort to offer love and joy to these children. Changing the role of SAP consultants, we enthusiastically accepted to become Santa’s helpers. Armed with detailed shopping lists, we crossed the supermarket aisles to fully respect the children’s wishes, which, it can be said, that were very sweet: scented oranges, crunchy chocolate or sweet gingerbread.

We are happy and grateful for having the chance of contributing to the devoted work of these three sisters.

Claudio Volk Member of the Management Board
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0

SAP BI Congress

For the 3rd time in a row, the SAP BI Congress took place at our Romanian location from Cluj-Napoca! New and already familiar faces came together in the early evening of May 16 to learn the latest insights and trends from the SAP world.

This year we chose to host our congress at the Platinia Conference Hall Hotel, one of the most modern conference centres in the city.

The motto of this year’s event was Innovation, fact which was clearly reflected by the selection of the presented topics. The focus of the presentations was therefore on the following areas:

  • BW/4HANA,
  • UI (Frontend) Strategie with SAP Fiori
  • And Machine Learning.

This awaited our more than 70 participants:

  • Opening by Andrei Vlad // CEO Inspiricon SRL
  • Topic lecture: BW4/HANA: Next Generation Data Warehousing // Victor Livadaru, Senior BW Consultant, Inspiricon SRL
  • Topic lecture: UI Strategy with SAP Fiori // Andrei Ghiura, SAP Consultant, Inspiricon SRL
  • Short coffee break for networking and energy boost
  • Topic lecture: Machine Learning on SAP Hana // Gerald Iakobinyi-Pich, Solution Architect, Inspiricon SRL
  • Digression: Mythbuster: Work efficiency // Dan Ionescu, Danis Consulting


Inspiricon-congress-SAP-BI (1)

The conveyed information did not only consist of pure theory, but reflected the practical experience from our projects. The participants took an active part in the discussions around the lectures. Many questions were asked and the information exchange between our speakers and the participants became easily active.

“I am delighted that our congress has been so well received,” said Andrei Vlad, CEO Inspiricon SRL. “With this event we would like to spread the image of Inspiricon beyond the borders of Cluj and place ourselves not only as an attractive employer, but also as a company that can proactively debate new topics and even has experts within the company!

After the presentations we invited our guests to have a drink and an sweet appetizer. During networking, the participants were able to ask further questions and deepen the insights they had gained from the SAP world. The atmosphere was very pleasant and there were lively conversations.

We are already looking forward to the 4th edition of the BI Congress in Cluj next year!


Ioana MihaiMarketing Assistant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0

New Line of Business: Supply Chain Management

After four years of dynamic growth, Inspiricon has decided to establish a new line of business: “Supply Chain Management”. This restructuring will help Inspiricon further raise its profile, combine its process skills in the field of supply chain management with its extensive SAP Business Intelligence knowledge, and better align its expertise with market demands.

In its relatively short company history, Inspiricon has already build an impressive track record: From the introduction of a global price tracking tool for the strategic purchasing division of Giesecke & Devrient GmbH and the provision of targeted and systematic project management and coaching services to ensure the timely introduction of a production control center at Kulmbach Töpfer GmbH to the optimization of the global logistics processes for a world leader in the additive manufacturing sector – over the past few years the list of success stories has only grown longer.

The main focus of the line of business:

Supply chain analytics and performance measurement:

Supply chain analytics creates transparency and visibility along the supply chain, unlocking hidden potential in logistics and supply chain management. Typical objectives are the improvement of delivery performance, responsiveness and adaptability of supply chains, lowering order lead times, reduction of inventories, increasing capacity utilization and/or an improved planning accuracy. To achieve that performance metrics are selected and visualized.

Performance metrics help to resolve conflicting objectives and identify deviations, opportunities, and risks; provide insights on inefficiencies, help determine opportunities and allow companies to measure the performance of their processes, organizational units or employees. They provide a foundation for the implementation of required optimization measures.

To maintain the validity of performance metrics, their number should always be limited to a reasonable amount. Additionally, companies need be able to identify interrelationships and assess root causes. In a well-tuned system of performance metrics, these relationships can be broken down all the way to the level of basic operational data. The initial question in the definition of such a system is always: Which metrics are worth analyzing at all?



Supply chain analytics applies analytical software and methods to supply chain processes and data – from planning, procurement of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to final transport to the customer. In addition to big data, real-time data analytics, and self-service BI, mobility and cloud are becoming increasingly interesting in this field. When aligned to business requirements on the one hand and IT-strategic prerequisites and considerations on the other, these disruptive technologies already today are transforming the way companies plan and steer their supply chains in a meaningful way.

Our services in the new line of business: From the development of a performance measurement strategy and the definition of relevant performance metrics to concrete implementation of SAP technology – with the new line of business, Inspiricon leaves no relevant aspect of a supply chain analytics project uncovered. Once we have developed a customer-specific strategy and captured every single requirement, the next step is to discuss implementation scenarios, design customized solutions, and implement them with a constant eye on meeting the stated objectives.

By giving actionable recommendations on the selection of suitable tools and providing helpful best practice guidance on how to apply them to the implementation of visualizations as well as for analysis and assessment of data, we help our customers to take care that essential information and insights do get to the right people in the right way and at the right time. Hereby we enable our customers towards faster decisions, which do support their continuous business success.

Do you require assistance in selection of strategic performance metrics or would you like to know more about the performance metrics in SAP’s Business Intelligence software? We will be happy to bring you up to speed in a one-day workshop.

Supply chain digitalization and Industry 4.0:

The increasing pace of digitalization, which is further accelerated by the internet of things, is creating new challenges in the business intelligence space. Industry 4.0 goes beyond opening up new perspectives and opportunities in shaping the supply chain, creating never-before-seen processes and business models. How can analytics technologies support this process and how are future requirements on modern BI systems going to change? What new possibilities and insights will come from applying them to the changing process landscape?

In their joint study titled “Procurement 4.0”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics and the German Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics have come to the conclusion that, given the increasing levels of digitalization, complete autonomy in operational procurement processes could already be achieved today. Essential process activities would be implemented by means of modern technologies, which would not only result in a shift of focus towards strategic procurement and along with it in increased expectations and growing complexity, but also in a fundamental change in how the procurement role is perceived. It would increasingly move towards interface management or data analytics.

At the same time, the number of modern technologies employed in modern production lines is steadily increasing. “Smart factory” is a term used by researchers to describe the vision of manufacturing environments with production lines that, for the most part, are capable of organizing themselves without human interaction. Cyber-physical systems are to communicate with one another using the internet of things while being controlled using artificial intelligence (AI) methods such as machine learning.

Several logistics-related surveys have found that the majority of forwarding agents – companies, that contract logistics service providers (LSPs) to move cargo – and almost all logistics companies already leverage various technologies to track locations and movements. On top of that, there are several other basic technologies in the field of sensor or Auto-ID (RFID), mobile communications, or planning and simulation, which are very popular and widespread. And given the fact that these technologies don’t seem to be fully rolled out yet on a broader scale or used universally, one thing quickly becomes apparent: There is even more untapped potential, when it comes to the technologies that are built on top of them, for example in the area of big data. There is no shortage of companies that fall into the trap of collecting data without having a clear idea of how they can actually leverage it to their advantage.

Major objective of the line of business SCM is therefore to bring the two worlds together – the process perspective of the supply chain and the latest analytics technology – to combine them into new and innovative use cases. We focus on today’s trends and challenges in supply chain digitalization and keep a close eye on the latest technologies surrounding big data, advanced analytics, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Current approaches are already bringing actionable improvements in the context of supply chain risk management and tracking and tracing.


Companies from a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and trade to consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and many more, do find that the services in our new line of business are exactly, what they are looking for. Would you like to find out more about our methods and projects or is there anything else we can do for you? Be sure to come back to our blog for regular updates. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us directly, we’ll be happy to hear from you!

Sources:  Supply-Chain-Controlling mit SAP BW (SAP Press)

Daniel Schauwecker Lead Consultant Visualisation
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0


Inspiricon opens new office in Freiburg, Germany

The location’s focus is on big data, machine learning, and new SAP technologies

Böblingen/Freiburg, April 13, 2018 – Inspiricon just keeps on growing! On February 1, 2018, Inspiricon AG opened its new offices in Freiburg, Germany.

“Being close to our customers and employees and maintaining a local presence is very important to us – which is why we have strategically chosen Freiburg,” explains Andreas Keller, Associate Partner at Inspiricon AG and head of the Freiburg office. “In addition to traditional SAP BI consulting, our local team will be specializing in big data, machine learning, and new SAP technologies.”

With the opening of the new Freiburg office, Inspiricon is paving the way for the years to come: It now has the space it needs to grow and the planning for additional offices is already underway.

The teams started moving into the new office space at Schwarzwaldstraße 78b in Freiburg in February. It is located on the 2. floor of the Zentrum Oberwiehre, a busy downtown office and shopping center, making it easy to reach.

The official office warming party was held on April 12, 2018, and customers and companies from throughout the region were invited. The program also included several power presentations:

  • Daniel Schauwecker, Lead Consultant Visualisation at Inspiricon AG, shared insights about Supply Chain Visibility via Real-Time Cargo Tracking and Monitoring.
  • Andreas Keller spoke about his project (which was successfully concluded at the end of February 2018) for the German Federal Foreign Office: With SAP HANA & SAP BI: Using Public Internet Sources to Forecast Political Crises.
  • Current research was another topic of the day: Dr. Marcus Vogt, professor at the Stuttgart campus of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University, gracefully agreed to hold a presentation of his own: Enough Data Is Not Enough – A Look Into Data Science.

The evening was framed by an informal atmosphere and captivating conversations.

“We have set up an office at an excellent location that will ensure our future growth and gets us closer to the customers we serve in this region,” says Claudio Volk, Member of the Management Board at Inspiricon AG.

Address of the Freiburg office:
Inspiricon AG, Schwarzwaldstraße 78b, 79117 Freiburg, Germany

You can download the press release as PDF here.

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening


5 Tips How To Write A Concept Document

According to the Longman English dictionary, a concept is “an idea of how something is, or how something should be done“. From this definition we can conclude that a concept document is a document that describes the purpose of a project or a set of necessary steps in order to achieve the desired result.

The main purpose of a concept document is to present to the interested clients a clear overview of the project that is to be made. If the concept is clear, easy to read and understand, follows a structure and the presentation of the ideas is comprehensive, the chances of the project to be accepted are increasing. These are also showing the client that the concept document was conceived in a professional manner with the collaboration of the entire team involved and increases the chances for future projects, too.

1. Why is a concept document important?

There is no “recipe” for a perfect concept document. The structure and the content may vary depending on the purpose of the project. First of all, a concept document is brief and may contain between 2 and 30 pages, depending on the complexity of the project that it describes. The main scope of the document is to give all the necessary information about a project to the reader.

2. Appearance

It is important to build a template that can also be used for future projects. The template should be styled according to the company documents, including a standardized header (ideally with the company’s logo and the page number) as well as a footer with information such as the version of the document (e.g. 2.0, 2.1). All the content should be correctly arranged in the page and keep the same formatting and style across the document. The font should also have a readable size, at least 12 points.

3. How should it be structured?

First, a concept document should have a clear structure and should contain detailed information about the project and its importance. All the concept documents should begin with the version number, a history of the changes, together with the name and email address of the person responsible for the document.

Although a concept document can be created for many topics, we’ll focus on projects from the IT branch such as web and mobile applications.

The first page should contain the title, the version as well as the date on which it was created (this is required in order to ensure that the version of the document is the up to date).

Also, very important is a table of contents, which is extremely useful especially when the document has more pages and a page by page search approach would take more time.

It contains all the needed information in order for the project to start, such as introduction, overview, architecture, permissions, UI Design (appearance), prerequisites or responsibilities.

4. The contents

In the next lines we’ll make a short summary of what each chapter should contain. We’ll take as example a concept document for a mobile application.

The introduction part includes a short presentation of the concept document, as well as information regarding the purpose of the document (e.g. This document describes the concept of the application).

The overview section is one of the most important ones. Here can be found a summary of the app that is to be developed including information regarding the intended functionality and a few hints on how the app will be used. Here is also included information about how would app helpful for the client.

In the architecture section you will find a sketch with the different levels that the app includes (e.g. how the data is transferred between front and backend and to the mobile app).

It is important to have a mock-ups / charts in order to show as much details as possible about the desired outcome. This should match the appearance of the final project. If a change is made in the design of the product or a new feature is added (e.g. a new button/ tab in the app), this should also appear in an updated version of the concept.

If the app contains more views, for better readability each view should be contained in its own subchapter as login screen, main screen, add user screen and further on. Also at least one mock-up for each screen is desired.

The next chapter contains the prerequisites. Here are contained the prerequisites that are to be fulfilled in order to achieve the desired functionality of the app. For example, in order to run a certain app, it is required a server that is able to host the web application and for a mobile app is required a phone with the Android version above 6 or iOS version above 9. This information is very useful for the client, in order to know if the app is supported by the current configuration.

The final chapter should contain the responsibilities that fall on both parts. Here is specified what the company that develops the app puts at disposal (e.g. the UI, the hosting on the web, the storage and so on). This offers the client a clear overview of his responsibilities.

Very important is to proofread the final version of the document. A person who hasn’t read the document should take a look at the final version in order to check for errors or inconsistencies.

5. Inspiricon example

In the following lines, an Inspiricon template will be presented. Because an image is more than a thousand words, we will show you how an Inspiricon template looks like. In the image below, is presented the first page, containing the title, the version number with the date together with the Inspiricon logo and the copyright notice.


Image 1: Example of a first page written for a concept document

The contents page is shown below. All the chapters are defined clearly with a distinct number (i.e. 1, 2, etc.) and the subchapters with a version number that is linked to the main chapter (e.g. 2.1, 5.2.3, etc.).


Image 2: Example of a content page written for a concept document

Next comes the version history page, where can be seen an overview of the changes made in the document, together with the version number, date author and the notes (where necessary).


Image 3: Example of a history page version written for a concept document

The writing of a concept document can be seen as a team work as all the parts involved (i.e. Architects, Project Managers, Developers, etc.) come with additions or confirmations to the document. All the involved parts must collaborate in the creation in order to assure that the presented information is as accurate as possible.


As a conclusion, a concept document should be as clear as possible and should answer the majority of the questions such as: “What for a product is that?”, “How can it help me?” or “What does it look like?”. A person that reads for the first time the document should have as little unclear aspects as possible.


Răzvan Ciupei QA Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0

Inspiricon’s SAP Fiori app receives the ERCO Innovation Award 2017

The Performance Cockpit App scores high at the annual Innovation Award

Each year, ERCO GmbH honors outstanding innovations. In 2017, the Performance Cockpit App won the coveted award in the Innovation Award Organization category.

You can read all about the project in our blog (click here for the full article). The main objective was to deliver a solution to analyze and visualize information with SAP Fiori in real time. The project aimed to provide ERCO’s 250 sales representatives all over the globe with a mobile app that would allow them to have their daily updated key figures readily available on their iPads.

In the end, we had created a mobile, streamlined, and most importantly highly intuitive process that enables ERCO to monitor and modify its forecasts. This puts the latest data at the fingertips of executives and sales staff alike. This adds significant value to the data, which is particularly beneficial in business intelligence scenarios, where the worth of information is determined by its timeliness.

What can the Performance Cockpit App do?

The app, among other things, gives ERCO:

  • shop floor options regardless of time and place
  • performance overviews that are updated daily
  • more visibility for its sales division and headquarters
  • the ability to derive sales-related measures
  • periodic annual forecasts for its most important key figures


Key Figures Performance Cockpit

Figure 1: Overview of the key figures compared to projected values and last year’s value


Oder Volume Performance Cockpit App

Figure 2: Overview of the order volume compared to the planning data and last year’s values

“We are looking forward to work with Inspiricon on implementing more exciting projects in the future,” said Celina Berg, the project’s manager, after completion of the project.

Go to our website to read the success story on this project.

Gerald Iakobinyi-Pich Solution Architect
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0

Inspiricon keeps growing!

From 1st February 2018, you can also find uns in our new office in Freiburg, Schwarzwaldstraße 78b.

Close proximity to the market and our clients are of high importance for us – thus, we establish the new office in Freiburg.

Our consultants work not only with the classical SAP BI topics, but mainly with Big Data, Machine Learning and new SAP technologies.

We are looking forward to exciting new projects!

Inspiricon Office Freiburg

Linda Schumacher Marketing
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0