Fascinating mail from Microsoft CEO was sent to all the employees, which conveyed the message very loudly, that evolution was the past as well as the future of Microsoft. The vision of Microsoft- they have changed the world and they will continue doing so. This is the true vision of the IT software – be the change and bring the change. It’s a vision which is difficult to be transformed into a roadmap and yet more difficult to follow.
But only this holds the key to the success and sustainability of IT software. There are not many IT traits today which have survived and evolved through ages. More often than not, a new technology overrides the older one and makes it sink into oblivion.
Business Process Management (BPM) is one of the few IT traits today which has its roots back in 80’s. And, still it’s growing, evolving and spreading. There must have been something significant, something extra-ordinarily different from the other technology tools. BPM must have done something very right that the others couldn’t. If we start thinking and unraveling the mystery, the first thing we would think of is- innovations that happened around BPM in decades. No one can deny that R&D is a key contributor for the long existence of BPM. However, innovation alone will fail to answer our question. There are examples of IT tools and traits which were innovative and disruptive in the market but became obsolete in time. For example: pager replaced by mobile, Orkut by Facebook, Symbian by Android, etc. So, other than innovations, BPM must have done something very right over the ages. Let’s try to find out what that could be.
Thinking of fundamentals of BPM, the key reason for BPM’s success is – illustrating a vision along with a roadmap even before the implementation kicks off. All successful BPM vendors throughout the world would certainly agree that the success of a BPM program in any organization, depends a lot on what the organization thinks of BPM. Organizations, interested in adopting a BPM tool may or may not be aware of the full capability of a BPM tool. In organizations, the need of a BPM tool usually comes for the automation of a single process or to address the business specific needs of a particular department. This is a beginning of something new but it starts with a narrow vision. If the organization starts BPM adoption with this vision in mind, they are restricting themselves with limited BPM capabilities and the project will soon come to a hopeless end. So the proper planning for BPM adoption is very crucial. For so many years, BPM vendors have been doing exceptionally well in taking a lead role in the planning phase of BPM adoption. Successful BPM vendors ensure the following things prior to embarking upon the BPM implementation phase:
a) BPM should be a CXO initiative: To involve the CXOs in a BPM initiative is a must. It should be kept in mind that the true benefit of a BPM solution can be realized only when it is adopted organization-wide and not just in few departments. That means, eventually in the future, all the departments of the organization will have to use BPM tool. If the BPM initiative is not on the CXO’s agenda, it is almost impossible to implement it organization-wide. So, BPM vendors always involve CXO-level people in discussion from the very beginning even though it may be a small initiative from a particular department.
b) Present the Roadmap to the CXOs: Long term vision is something the CXOs crave for and hardly misses their eyes. So, the BPM vendors create the BPM adoption roadmap and share it with the CXOs. The roadmap typically captures all the milestones of BPM adoption and how much time it takes to reach those milestones. The roadmap further clarifies what kind of BPM benefits, the CXO can expect in different BPM maturity levels along the curve, and in how much time it will be realized. The procedure to measure the tangible benefits and how to comprehend the intangible benefits also becomes a part of an elaborate roadmap. If the CXO has multiple business objectives in mind, prioritization of those is also very important in this exercise. Because, based on the objective priority, the BPM implementation roadmap will be defined. In other words, the CXO must know what he is going to get and in how much time from the BPM initiative. For so many decades, BPM successfully projected and achieved the CXO level objectives, and this is undoubtedly one of the key reasons for BPM’s glorious existence today and in the future. The expectations and the business benefits of a BPM initiative have changed over the years and for that reason, BPM also evolved itself in innovations through decades. But the important thing for BPM has always been how to fit in the CXOs vision of his organization’s future.
c) BPM gives benefits to all: The users of As-Is business have to agree and appreciate that the advent of BPM in organizations, is not a threat but an opportunity for all to improve and perform better. Now, conveying this message to the future BPM users, is as important as involving CXOs in the BPM project. It is very common in users to be reluctant to changes and more particularly when the changes come with a looming threat of headcount reduction and being monitored all the time by business stakeholders. In other words, bringing automation means, all the users are susceptible to job insecurity and losing control of their daily operations. And this tends to lead them to reject the BPM project. For so many years, BPM vendors have successfully preached all level of users- how BPM will help in their day-to-day activities, make them more effective and probably help them get a promotion. And most importantly, BPM vendors have convinced the users that- the automation brought by BPM only ensures restructuring of the organization by changing user assignments in different roles and certainly not by reducing headcounts. A typical example could be, re-assigning more users in customer facing roles rather than in back office for improved customer delight.
d) Defining the BPM maturity level benefits: BPM in different maturity levels exhibits different kinds of benefits. In generic, organizations are made aware that they will observe the following benefits in different maturity levels.
Level 1- Cost optimization and operational excellence: This is the basic benefit, an organization observes immediately after start using the BPM solution.
Level 2- Adherence Regulatory Compliance mandates
Level 3- Monitoring and continuous improvements: A CoE can be formulated at this level which takes care of new process roll-outs and improvement of existing processes
Level 4- Aligning organization strategy with BPM: This is the phase when the CXOs start tuning the organization-wide BPM architecture to achieve the highest priority business objective. This is the time for CXOs to look back at the BPM roadmaps and how the business objectives were prioritized earlier in the planning phase. For an example, a bank’s top priority business objective could be- improved customer delight and satisfaction for competitive edge, in other words customer centricity is the highest priority.
At this level, BPM must ensure that all the customer facing bank processes like – New customer on-boarding and KYC, Customer Request Management, Customer Correspondence Management, Loan Request and processing, etc. are leading to customer delight. These processes are effectively helping in getting new customers, retaining old customers, and cross-selling & up-selling products, to the right customers. Revenue generation using BPM solution is possible when the business strategy gets successfully aligned with BPM.
After this level, there comes the enhancements, modifications and the need to assimilate evolving market trends like cloud, mobility, social media, etc. For example, a bank might have successfully automated its Customer Request Management process earlier, and now needs to integrate the same process with social media for even better customer delight and service management.
So, we can say that, the reason behind BPM’s long sustainability is the philosophy it brings in any organization with its adoption. An organization adopts BPM with at least 7-10 years of vision in mind and slowly BPM becomes the backbone of their IT infrastructure. Then, it can’t be replaced, but only improved, as all the mission critical business processes are running on BPM. And, this is why, for an organization, the journey with BPM will not end, because there is no final destination, there is only moving from one business objective to another. BPM is a journey. Sit back, hold tight, and enjoy it.
Bio: Sandipan Chakraborty is part of the Marketing Team at Newgen.
Traditionally, small parts of a process (work-step/s) have been performed by different workers who add some value at each work-step. However, increasing automation has led to reducing of the repetitive work and work-steps involve very little value addition from each worker. To keep work interesting and meaningful for a knowledge worker, and to enhance efficiencies, each knowledge worker is expected to perform the task end-to-end. This requires knowledge workers to collaborate in both structured and ad-hoc manner depending on how the case shapes up. Typical “case management” application areas include a benefits claim processing, an investigation by a government agency or a loan request processing.
“Case Management” includes usage of content, collaboration and support for dynamic work allocation. Within such cases, exceptions are unpredictable and rather become the norm. Such “ cases” can only be visualized and modeled into a process after they are completed. Therefore, to successfully manage the “Case”, along with the Content Management tools, the information worker also requires social/collaboration tools for the ad hoc work, and tools like BPM, and business rules for managing structured work.
Bio: Rohit Thakur is Senior Manager-Marketing, at Newgen Software
The demands on the Finance and Accounting (F&A) function in business organizations are significant, with constant pressures to achieve process compliance and increase business efficiency and agility, while also driving down transactional costs.
As a result, finance operations demand a transformational approach with higher automation, better process visibility and enhanced business agility. A Business Process Management (BPM) solution is the right tool for finance functions seeking not just cost savings but also process efficiencies and compliance, as well as improved management reporting. BPM enables business organizations to model, automate, manage, and optimize their F&A procedures.
Newgen’s BPM-based F&A solutions help clients overcome the problems posed by manual systems, by enabling continuous streamlining of processes in order to improve efficiency, control, compliance, and risk mitigation, to meet the challenges of a highly volatile business environment.
Newgen’s BPM suite has been recognized by top analyst firms. Two Newgen clients- Unilever and Future Group were declared winners of the 2011 Excellence Awards for Finance & Accounting (F&A) Transformation through Shared Services. While Unilever Shared Service (erstwhile Indigo) was recognized under the category of Excellence in Servicing Clients in the Sub-continent, the Future Group Shared Service won the award for Excellence in Strategy towards Financial Transformation.
Newgen’s solutions are designed to automate a wide range of F&A processes, such as accounts payables, receivables and fixed assets, general ledger and policy owner servicing, etc. Newgen helps clients to improve operational effectiveness while allowing them to leverage their existing technology investments. Business benefits delivered to the client by Newgen’s F&A solutions include:
Bio: Garima is Manager - Marketing & Communications at Newgen Software.
Last night I participated in a webinar titled “Banking Transformation Needs Smart Automation”. The webinar highlighted BPM and ECM as catalysts for financial services transformation and how business benefits could be accrued from their implementation. The speakers included Derek Miers, Principal Analyst of Forrester Research and Mridul Sharma, Senior Vice President, Solution Delivery Team, IndusInd Bank and Ritesh Verma, Head, CoE Banking Practice.
Mr. Derek Miers talked about “Driving Transformation in Financial Services.” He began by stating that most organizations today are in the midst of one of the most disruptive shifts in economic history. The shift has been from producers and those who hold capital to consumers. Consumers he said had a plethora of choices today and even more so in the finance and banking industry. He went on discuss the gradual transition from the way banking services were delivered on paper to the 360 degree approach that is followed today. He stressed on the fact that since customers had so many choices, the greatest differentiator was how customer experience was delivered to customers. If customers were dissatisfied, they would invariably jump ship. To keep in tune with customer needs, organizations had to evolve and transform themselves. Mr. Miers spoke about how processes were at the center of this transformation from Traditional Line Management to Processes and Services Management. He argued that this did not warrant a Band-aid approach where specific systems or parts of the organization were changed but more like a “Wellness Program” which brings overall vitality, rejuvenation and business transformation. He felt that customer centricity should become the default behavior of the organization and especially its front line.
This approach reminded me of the term “Big Process” that I read in an article by Connie Moore titled “Embrace Big Process Thinking” where she said, “Big Process is when senior-most business and technology leaders embrace business process change by shifting the organization’s focus from isolated BPM and process improvement projects to a sustainable, enterprise-wide business process transformation program that is then supported and driven by top executives.” I think this aligns perfectly with what Derek was trying to explain.
Derek went on to elaborate on how organizations should build their transformation plan by focusing on outcomes and working backwards to the processes it needs to deliver that outcome. He concluded by highlighting that organizations should look at this as an opportunity to shine and take the lead rather than waiting for change to happen.
Mridul Sharma then took the speaker’s role and discussed how Newgen’s BPM solution helped the bank to improve processes, reduce turn-around-times, foster transparency and lay the foundation for a paperless and green office.
Ritesh Verma concluded the presentation session by discussing Newgen’s capabilities in BPM and ECM and stressing on how Newgen is in the business of transforming banks. He went on to point out how Newgen has become a key enabler for fast growing banks. He also enumerated the company’s achievements in the BFS industry and its pedigree of 850+ installations across 45 countries. He concluded by showcasing the number of clients Newgen has worked with and how it has helped 119 banks across the globe to achieve their business goals.
The webinar was wrapped up by a Question and Answer round where participants interacted with the key speakers.
Name: Imroz Adeeb
Bio: Imroz is Associate Manager - Corporate Communications at Newgen Software.
Creating software from business requirements or walking on the water is very easy if both are frozen. No doubt one of the major challenges software companies face is to manage change during the coding phase. A good number of linear and iterative software development model concepts are available in the market. Even though these orthodox Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) models have good success rates of providing satisfactory software solutions, most of them fail to provide the solution in time.
More often than not, this happens because of the unforeseen changes or the new requirements which were not included in the requirement documents. Also, this kind of change requests make the entire project susceptible to potential risks as the partially built software may decline the newly suggested changes which are technically infeasible.
Unlike any other software, a BPM software solution always expects to have a lot of change requests during the coding phase. In fact, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the change requests during the implementation phase, best capture all the non-functional requirements for any BPM solution. A BPM solution never works in silos and on the contrary it gets all the individual business systems together on a single platform so that they can work collaboratively. Extensive integrations, rich GUI, user-friendly look and feel, adherence to branding guidelines on the screen (fonts, logos etc.) are some of the requirements which usually come up during the implementation phase. Now this is a challenge for all the BPM vendors and implementers to welcome all those changes and incorporate them in the solution without extending the project delivery time.
All the top notch BPM tools, available in the market are already over saturated with functionalities and features.
So, the discriminating factor between any two leading BPM vendors is not the BPM tool kit any more but their capability to implement the BPM solution in lesser time by addressing all the last minute changes.
All the BPM vendors use their own techniques and procedures for implementation. Newgen Software is not an exception. We have started using the Prototyping model for the BPM solution development which is by the way the most praised and the least followed method across the globe. Prototyping is highly praised because it ensures faster project delivery than any other methods and is least followed because it demands incorporating the continuously evolving solution requirements while developing the solution. The solution developed with available requirements is shown to the client for feedback. The client usually gets an early idea of how the solution will look like in real. Client feedback forms the basis for the requirements for the second version of the solution. After a number of iterations between the client and the development team, the solution becomes ready to be deployed. However, the process is not as easy as it sounds. It requires extensive domain knowledge of developing same kind of business solutions which bring the efforts to perfection in quick time.
Newgen has its ingenious methods and approaches for the prototyping model. Very recently, we have used this technique successfully for a leading European bank. We have fully automated 7 processes in 18 months and the solution has been deployed across 3 countries with 3 separate document management system implementation. So, the Newgen’s Prototyping model speaks for itself. Below is a generic overview of the model:
By using the Prototyping model, allows Newgen to design and release the 1st level of BPM solution without doing any custom coding. The entire deployment is completed in 3 levels.
Level 1- In the first level, the processes are designed as per the Function Specification Diagram (FSD) prepared for the project. Designing process does not include any kind of coding and is built upon the core functionality available within the product. Level -1 includes the following tasks:
First level usually takes 2 weeks time to implement the solution.
Level 2- In the second level, the validation check is provided. Level -2 includes the following tasks:
The 2nd level usually takes 2-4 weeks of time
Level 3- In the last level, all the integrations with external business systems are done. Depending upon the complexity, the last level takes 3-5 weeks of time.
The level-1 implementation is done by using the extensive domain knowledge that Newgen has on different verticals like Banking, Insurances, Financial Institutions, BPOs, SSCs, Telecom, and Government with the wide range of features available in the BPM suite. So, as soon as the level-1 implementation is over, it can be moved to the production site and the client can start using the BPM solution instantly. That happened with the European bank. The users’ feedback on the level-1 system was used to make improvements for the 2nd level. This innovative implementation approach results into the following benefits:
Bio: Sandipan Chakraborty is part of the Marketing Team at Newgen.
In order to capitalize on the growing market opportunities and mitigate potential risks, businesses need to follow the rule of thumb – ‘Sound business processes are the backbone of a business’. This looks like a simple rule, but when brought into practice turns out to be a rather abstruse proposition owing to the fact that the very definition of a ‘sound business process’ keeps changing continuously. Change is the order of the day, and only processes that adapt and respond quickly to changing market requirements, deliver sustainable business advantages. This ability of a business to identify change and to respond quickly to it is termed as business agility.
Now that we understand the basic meaning of business agility, the challenge before us is to understand not only how to achieve the threshold business agility to rise above competition, but also how to maintain that competitive edge. The solution is obvious – incorporate business agility into the very nature of your business processes.
Dynamic processes, capable of reacting and adapting to an ever-changing business environment, can be achieved by underpinning business processes with an efficient Business Process Management (BPM) platform. BPM is essentially a strategic management discipline aimed at continuously improving processes spanning business functions, bringing about the much needed visibility, and agility to facilitate business innovation. Further, the Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) component of BPM enables better control over process output and extensive process performance reporting. To sum up, BPM combines technology with strategic management practices to address changes in real time with minimal IT efforts and thus drives business agility.
Bio: Garima is Manager - Marketing & Communications at Newgen Software.
In this fast changing business landscape, the only thing that has managed to keep pace with the evolution of technology is the evolution of customers’ expectations. Customers today demand more of everything; more value for money, more features, more comfort, more customization and more positive experiences. Apparently, this poses a challenge for businesses to meet and exceed customer expectations, in order to remain competitive. However, this challenge comes with a surprise package – the opportunity to build customer trust and loyalty by surpassing customers’ expectations and gaining a competitive edge over other players in the market. To leverage this opportunity to its fullest, a business needs to focus on achieving process agility or the ability to align processes with dynamically changing market requirements.
Access to the right information, at the right time, by the right people is the key to profitably meeting the ever-increasing customer expectations, in a volatile and globally competitive business landscape. To achieve true agility across the breadth and scope of all operations, an organization needs to practice continual process improvement by implementing more flexible and transparent processes and systems that are capable of accommodating changes seamlessly and quickly.
Automation of business processes has become the order of the day, but to differentiate themselves from competition, business organizations are increasingly turning to Business Process Management (BPM). At its outset, BPM primarily focused on automating workflows and moving documents from “system to system”, but today it has evolved to incorporate more “human-centric” and role-based capabilities across the process lifecycle. This enables stakeholders at different levels of the organizational structure to take the appropriate action at the right time and to more directly drive the creation and management of business processes with minimal dependence on IT. An efficient BPM platform underpins the IT infrastructure and enables an organization to lower operational costs, increase productivity and enhance customer experience.
Bio: Garima is Manager - Marketing & Communications at Newgen Software.
Indian banking sector is poised to become the 3rd largest in asset size by the year 2025 as per the IBA-FICCI-BCG report, titled “Being Five-Star in Productivity – Roadmap for Excellence in Indian Banking”, launched at the recently concluded Global Banking Conference, organized by IBA and FICCI at Mumbai. The report further sets out an action agenda for banks, based on a benchmarking exercise conducted across 40 banks, highlighting that the banks have to strive for excellence on five dimensions: with one of the dimensions being lean operations.
In the context that the second highest number of people are employed in non customer-facing, back-office roles, lean operations can be achieved by digitization of processes and centralization of back office operations, while the employees having customer facing roles can be based at the leaner front office / branch.
Care must be taken to ensure that at the process design stage, we must take a customer-centric approach, so that centralization does not lead to lack of touch with the customers.
For the high volume and relatively lower transaction value lines of businesses like retail banking, non customer-value adding activities need to be centralized and modeled as a lean process, eliminating all error-prone, redundant and superfluous activities like manual hand-offs, over-staffed tasks, needless paper movement, redundant checks and validations etc. Focus of process design should be on providing a smooth and efficient interface between the customer centric branches and centralized back-end operations factories.
For lines of businesses where the transaction volumes are low, the cost savings from centralization will be less. For such lines of businesses, the transactions will be lesser in number but the size and complexity of transactions would be higher, thus requiring higher levels of customer service. Here, the efficiencies can come by bundling of processes across customer segments with a focus on seamless alignment between products / offerings and targeted customer segments.
The underlying technologies for enabling swift implementation of any BPR exercise and continuous process improvement for operational excellence consist of ECM and BPM platforms based on digitization, document management and workflows, and productivity tools like monitoring dashboards etc.
Thus, at a time when most banks have already implemented “Core Banking Solutions”, BPM and ECM platforms present an answer to the question “what to do after core banking?” Another important benefit offered by these technologies is the ability to meet regulatory compliance, which is again a very important factor, especially in the light of the prediction that Indian Banking industry will become one of the biggest in the world by 2025, and that along with great size, must come great responsibility. Or is it that, only due to our prudent and responsible banking practices shall we be able to become one of the biggest in the world?
Bio: Rohit Thakur is Senior Manager-Marketing, at Newgen Software
Masaaki Imai introduced the Kaizen method for continuous incremental improvements to the corporate world, through his book, ‘Kaizen: The key to Japan’s success’, in 1986. The concept spread across industries like fire and became a fad the world over. The Japanese philosophy of Kaizen is about constant continual improvement at low cost, involving everyone at all levels in the organizational structure, and applying much common sense.
Assuming that every aspect of our life should be driven by constant improvement, Kaizen aims at elimination of waste (activities for which the input – output ratio is extremely low). It often refers to rearranging processes in a better and less complex workflow. The next step is standardization of this better process. The cycle of Kaizen activity also known as Shewhart cycle or Deming cycle has the following four steps that are repeated ad infinitum:
Manual coordination of activities in organizations leads to inefficiency and errors in the operational process and often obstructs process improvement itself. Business Process Management (BPM) was recognized by the academic world in the fifties and sixties as an effective tool for managing quality. Later, Hammer & Champy (1993) defined a process (business process) as “a collection of activities that takes one or more kinds of input and creates an output that is of value to the customer.” With their definition they highlighed the benefits of process management, process (re-) engineering, and workflow management to business managers. They established the importance of BPM to the success of modern enterprises. BPM leads to a continuous cycle of process improvement. Ideally it aims at saving money, saving time, improving compliance and adding value to an organizations workflow. The BPM lifecycle involves the following major steps:
Today, BPM in its capacity as a continually evolving set of technologies, to establish goals and strategies for the improvement of operational processes that affect an organization’s performance, to some extent is Kaizen.
Achieving effective citizen services is the single most important objective of all e-Governance initiatives. Several major initiatives such as online registration, e-filing of returns, building approvals, waste management in municipalities, certificate issuance, etc. have been taken by governments to meet this objective.
These processes need to be monitored and controlled, rolled out quickly and changed for delivering new and better services to citizens. Thus it becomes imperative to implement an effective Business Process Management system for delivering citizen centric services.
BPM addresses the challenges faced in delivering effective citizen services
To provide effective citizen services, it is imperative to ensure that service requests are responded to in the defined timelines. For achieving this, a system should be put in place for monitoring and tracking of requests. Strong exception handling and escalation capability is also required. BPM brings increased visibility through dashboards and monitoring, resulting in faster response times to citizen requests, leading to better adoption of the system and project success.
For e.g. If time frame of 10 days is defined for issuance of Identity Proof then adherence to the time line would require real time tracking & monitoring of requests. If any exception is found such as ‘Date of birth not filled’ or “Photograph not clear”, it can be routed for taking appropriate action. Such exceptions can be isolated and tracked to closure to ensure the services are delivered to citizens.
Delivering Citizen-centric services requires multiple approvals, workflow, processing etc. These workflows involve lots of human decision-making and are document & form-intensive. These workflows require flexibility and cross-department functioning. This requires forms to be made available online for citizens to avail the services. These forms need to have the provision of attaching documents and triggering a route for respective departments to process this request.
Implementation of these processes involves a lot of reengineering. The solution for any large e-governance initiative cannot be rigid and should be built for change. To effectively support reengineering of such government processes there is a strong need for having a business process management framework that gives control to the process owner for quick and effective change management. This also facilitates quick roll out of any new sub-processes.
E-Governance services are accessed by citizens through online portals, kiosks etc. Once these services are available and being used by citizens, the need to add more and more services becomes meaningful. A strong BPM framework used at the back office to deliver these services can facilitate quick deployment and rollout of new services.
Over a period of time, government departments have put-in a lot of time and effort on automation of various individual functions. Many of these applications are fulfilling their objectives but running in silos. One of the critical success factors for the Mission Mode Projects would be the ability for the new solution to co-exist with and leverage the existing IT investments and legacy applications. The BPM platform provides a framework to integrate these services together and deliver the advantage to citizens quickly without the time consuming process of re-building all applications from scratch.
Using Business Process Management as platform for building such services will effectively meet the needs of government process reengineering, human centric workflows, monitoring dashboards, quick building and rollout of new services, change management etc.
Amit Maheshwari18th Nov 13 Posted a comment on Technology Enablers for Better eGovernance
Very Informative, Small and Crisp blog.
Nitin Khanna28th Oct 13 Posted a comment on Upgrading to next level of examination marking
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Maharrey22nd Oct 13 Posted a comment on Dynamic Case Management – A Fusion of BPM, ECM and Business Analytics
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Ezekiel Brooke22nd Oct 13 Posted a comment on Understanding the Basics of Customer Communication Management
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