From Data to Services with Software
Specialized software can be used to control and monitor cash center processes in a targeted manner. That’s why software is like a “conductor for cash processing,” according to Ronald Hooijmans, Software Technical Sales Director Europe at Giesecke+Devrient Currency Technology. The following is a discussion of the “automation and data analytics harmony” that will soon be making cash center management more efficient and easier to plan.
Mr. Hooijmans, you compare software to a conductor – a conductor that can manage the complex structures of a cash center, for example. Why?
Because I believe that software is always the intelligent control center for every end-to-end solution. Without software, hardware is lifeless and silent, like an orchestra without a conductor: The musicians and instruments in an orchestra are useless if there’s no one to give the musicians precise instructions for the notes and rhythm. If there’s no conductor, there will be disharmony – and cash and disharmony don’t go well together in our business.
A lot of people don’t know very much about how conductors go about their work.
That’s true. People often don’t like to think in an abstract manner; they have a better understanding of things they can touch, things that move, things they can see. The relationship between software and hardware is a little like the structure of an iceberg: The hardware is the tip, the bit that you see above the surface, while the software is the base underneath. Still, both belong together and cannot be separated, which is why our primary job is to repeatedly emphasize and explain how important software will be in the future.
How can you do this?
By first and foremost developing processes with customers on the basis of their tasks and objectives with regard to both the present situation and the future. We need to ask questions such as what is the current structure of the cash cycle and cash centers and how will this structure change over time? This has to be extensively analyzed first because that’s the only way to define efficient processes and thus the interaction between humans, software, and hardware.
Focus on the automation of normal operations
And what does that mean exactly?
It means that we should support the customer and provide reliable advice concerning just how much automation is actually necessary – in other words, should there be full automation or would it perhaps be more sustainable to initially automate 80 percent of the tasks? We generally advise customers to automate normal operations and not go overboard by including every exceptional situation.
Successful automation cannot be based on rigid templates but must instead be developed in cooperation with the customer.«
Are you saying that you sometimes have to improvise with automation – like you would in a well-tuned orchestra?
Improvisation and intuition are extremely important, one reason being that we at Giesecke+Devrient Currency Technology serve as a creative partner for solutions, and to do this we need to examine and address the most diverse tasks and operations. To this end, we can make use of the wealth of experience we’ve gained in our 200 cash centers worldwide, without having to reinvent the wheel every time. Automation also always requires standardization. If they are to be successful, the standards we establish cannot be rigid templates but must instead take the form of solutions that are developed in cooperation with the customer and can be adjusted as needed.
The option to think further and explore new directions
So, individual requirements are the rule – but does a software like Compass® VMS have a sufficient number of configuration options for this?
Yes, this have been taken into account in Compass® VMS, which means the software can adapt to many customer-specific processes and requirements. The customization layer provides the flexibility needed to meet individual customer requirements without having to change the core of the program. We also enjoy a big advantage in that we not only offer programmable logic controllers, or PLC software and hardware; we’ve also integrated intelligence into the entire system. This gives us the option to think further and explore new directions.
The advantage of data-based services? That we can advance from the pure execution of cash processing operations to the establishment of more targeted predictability and planning.«
Well, first of all, the direction desired by the customer, namely to ensure that as few people as possible come into contact with cash. The other aspect is that we want to offer customers an increasing degree of predictability and move closer and closer to a type of production planning system. More specifically, the idea is to use virtual coaches to support cash center management operations so that service-level agreements can be upheld, or even upgraded, even if conditions become more difficult and market requirements increase. Customers want predictability and reliability, and they also want to know what they can do to make their operations more efficient and thus keep the cost of cash as low as possible. Customers also want to continue to play their assigned role as a supervisory authority that inspires trust – not only in terms of their function as central banks, although that’s obviously the most important aspect.
Data analytics for more efficient use of resources in cash centers
What has to be done in terms of software in order to achieve this?
The most important thing is to solve the data side of the equation. The ability to control processes logically will become more and more of a mathematical problem in the future – a problem that can only be solved with the help of a valid database. Only at that point will it be possible to make predictions about how business will develop, after which planning and capacities can be coordinated. If cash center managers know what the capacity utilization of their cash center will be on a certain day, they will be able to plan their resource utilization much more efficiently and never use either too many resources or an insufficient number of resources. We are aware of these market requirements and we take the initiative when it comes to supporting our customers with state-of-the-art technology.
To get back to the comparison with a conductor: Is data analytics the new “musician” in the cash center?
Actually, the new musician data analytics has been playing with the cash center orchestra for quite some time already. We at Giesecke+Devrient Currency Technology believe that our job in the future will increasingly be to work with customers to seamlessly integrate data analytics into their operational processes. The big advantage offered by data-based services is that they will allow us to advance from the pure execution of cash processing operations to the establishment of more targeted predictability and planning – in terms of both the cash cycle as a whole and individual cash centers.