The German Chamber of Commerce (IHK) in Karlsruhe acts as a consultant and service provider representing the interests of its some 68,000 members. Actively involved in politics and administration, the IHK gives a voice to the local businesses of the Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden and Rastatt districts. It organises vocational training and advises its members on all issues related to business. When it came to automating individual administrative processes, IHK Karlsruhe and Bechtle created two applications with Microsoft Power Automate, learning about how to leverage Power Automate in the process.
The German Chamber of Commerce (IHK) in Karlsruhe represents the interests of its nearly 68,000 members and therefore local businesses in Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden and Rastatt districts. Their tasks cover a wide-range of services and which are, in part, prescribed by legislation. It also supports businesses to find the perfect location in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion and advises politicians and administrators on business-related issues. The IHK’s close to 130 employees support the region’s entrepreneurs to train young talent, lower energy costs and find the right innovation partner through consultations, information and teaching. It also sets examinations and swears in experts. In order to work as efficiently as possible, IHK were looking for a solution to automate and digitalise individual business processes, which they found in a Bechtle workshop on Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate. In Power Automate, the IHK saw an opportunity to automate individual processes within its Microsoft-based IT environment to enable a paper-free office. The first step was to authorise credit card use and order office equipment and hardware. In future, IHK Karlsruhe wanted requisition notes to be filled in digitally so that they could be forwarded to the responsible department head—something that was easy as pie with Power Automate.
We were made aware of Power Automate during a Bechtle training. We had been on the look out for a solution to digitalise our paper-based processes for a long time, and Microsoft Power Automate, Power Apps and SharePoint Online make that possible. In a joint workshop with Bechtle, we developed initial models, getting to know the features as we did so. It didn’t take long before we could model processes ourselves. Bechtle remains on hand to advise in case of any new requirements or difficulties.
Thorsten Gloss, Bereichsleiter Software und Digitalisierung, IHK Karlsruhe
The Bechtle experts initially held a one-day workshop with IHK Karlsruhe to discuss the required processes, which Bechtle was then able to digitally model, which was then adapted to the new technology before an initial build. The first step in the process was to use Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate to program a test environment for credit card use and ordering office equipment, which was then migrated into a productive environment. The processes were created in Power Automate with the IHK Karlsruhe on-site. While working on process automation. The IHK’s IT staff learned how to implement Power Apps and Power Automate themselves. In a final step, Bechtle put the processes into regular operation so that they could be used in IHK Karlsruhe’s day-to-day business.
For continued support with additional automations leveraging Power App and Power Automate, IHK Karlsruhe concluded a separate contact with Bechtle. This means that the IT company will be on hand to answer any questions or resolve any issues when the IHK digitalises their next processes. The automated consolidation of documents upon a colleague joining the IHK as well as the notification of responsible parties is in planning.
The automations implemented by Bechtle via Microsoft Power Apps and Power Automate have reduced two time-consuming paper processes at the IHK Karlsruhe. Instead of manually requesting permission to procure certain goods or sue the company-own credit card, this is now possible with just a few clicks. These Microsoft automations have made the IHK much more efficient and it can now digitalise further processes by itself with Bechtle on hand to offer support.