Being a leader in semiconductor solutions and microelectronics, Infineon is one of the world’s foremost technology-based businesses. Fittingly, Infineon’s IP function is a highly skilled and high-performing organization, managing around 12 000 active patent families. To stay on top, Peter Berg, Vice President of IP, and his management team wanted to make sure the IP organization was as efficient as possible and supported by effective software tools.
The desired outcomes were similar to what many IP professionals within the industry seek; to free up resources and spend more time on strategic and value-adding activities, to further harmonize ways of working and make sure efficiency is less dependent on individuals, and to facilitate collaboration with external IP agents and adjacent R&D and business functions.
Infineon management realized that a change in IPMS is a change in way-of-working, and that it was critical to get everyone onboard for the journey. Infineon also knew that many IP organizations had paid the price of trying to solve process efficiency issues with a new IPMS without doing the proper groundwork. This typically leads to functionality gaps and a system pushing unwanted behaviors to the organization, instead of facilitating and driving the wanted ways of working. Sometimes resulting in that the whole transformation collapse, and large amounts of money and time are wasted.
Approach and Impact
Together with Konsert, Infineon launched an IP efficiency project lead by Gudrun Völker and Kurt Mayer. The aim was to address efficiency pain points in the way of working and pave the way for process improvements and upgrading software tools to increase productivity, collaboration and user satisfaction.
The initial analysis and design part of the project resulted in:
- A clear map of current patent processes, including internal best practices and variations between IP teams.
- A clear and communicable view of the wanted way of working with input from external best practices.
- An action plan for how to address process improvements and cultural changes impacting the wanted way of working.
- An IPMS functionality requirements map, expressing the real needs for software tool support, and where compromises could be made.
- Quickly navigating the range of possible software vendor solutions, narrowing alternatives down to the viable options that matched the IP organization’s and interfacing stakeholders’ needs.
- Clarity concerning the main IPMS scenarios – keep, upgrade or replace – and what they meant for the IP organization.
- A case for change outlining the financial, time and change management needs of an IPMS transformation, with a business rationale and expectations on business outcomes.
The second selection and upgrade part of the project resulted in:
- Effectively evaluating the top IPMS solutions’ functionality and performance.
- Effectively assisting Infineon IP and Procurement experts in sourcing the IPMS software upgrade, meaning lowered costs but more importantly effective collaboration with vendors and getting the right software solution for the job, balancing configuration and customization with out-of-the-box functionality.
- Reduced uncertainty, risk and time spent, with capable resources facilitating change to not strain the IP organization or hampering the day-to-day operations during transformation.
- Effective implementation of the process adjustments, addressing identified way of working efficiency improvements.
By starting with a process review and frontloading IPMS requirements work, Infineon shortened the total change journey and reached a better end-state with a software tool that facilitates and ensures efficiency in their wanted way of working.