Tag: business process

Aug
2013

BPM sustains because- it is a journey and not a destination

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.

Nov
2011

Driving Agility and Business Performance by Continuously Improving Business Processes

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.

Jun
2011

Achieving Effective Citizen Services through Workflow & Business Process Management

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

  • Efficient Tracking and Monitoring of Citizen Service Requests

    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.

  • Flexible workflow for cross department functioning

    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.

  • Effective Change Management to support Government Process Re-engineering (GPR) initiatives

    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.

  • Quick Rollout of new Citizen Services

    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.

  • Leveraging existing investments – New Solution co-existence with Legacy Systems

    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.

May
2011

Why BPM for ‘Grievance’ Management in the Insurance Domain

“A grievance is most poignant when almost redressed.” – Eric Hoffer

Managing grievances or complaints is one of the top priorities among all private and public sector companies these days; in fact it is the ‘key’ to the growth of any business in today’s fast moving and competitive market.

Today, all major regulatory bodies are concerned about customer rights and fair trade. Almost all major regulators across industries have set up robust grievance management and redressal mechanisms to service and protect interests of end customers.

Seeing exponential growth in the Insurance domain, the IRDA recently developed their Integrated Grievance Management System. The key objective behind this development being to have a single collaborated grievance and complaints redressal system integrated with individual grievance systems of all Insurance companies. This will enable end customer to file the complaints directly on IRDA portal, which in turn will transfer the complaint to respective insurance company’s grievance system and track status updates as per defined turned around time and guidelines. With this IRDA will now be able to track the progress of complaints and overall performance of the Insurance companies.

Customer centric organizations today look for a robust complaints tracking system to ensure superior customer care support and service to their esteemed customers. Inside the organization, internal employee force, complaint redressal process & policies and automation tool together are responsible for successful functioning of the customer care function. The first two of these concerns are overcome with proper training and motivation of employees, buying external expertise or consultancy for best processes and polices, inputs from regulatory compliances etc. But the major that organizations face is in deciding right automation engine, which is robust and flexible enough to adapt to their requirements.

Some companies develop their own custom built systems, which take ages, battalion of resources and months to develop. Some go for readymade CRM tools, but such systems are rigid enough to meet: organizational needs, adherence to compliances, process flow specific requirements and flexibility. Custom changes are again time and resource consuming, and add more rigidity to future change management. Also, overheads and maintenance costs on such systems increases exponentially over a period.

There is another approach to automate these requirements over a BPM (Business Process Management) based platform. An efficient BPM engine enables organizations to automate their business processes within the time frame of readymade tools and with the flexibility of custom built systems. In terms of cost, BPM based automation averages between both and over a period has exponential ROI, when the platform is extended to automation of other processes.

BPM’s graphical process modeler enables process design over clicks as per “your organizational needs”. It enables companies to easily configure their business logics, compliances, escalation matrix, approval flows and reporting metrics as per organizational requirements. Using the graphical process modeler of the BPM engine businesses can design their end to end grievance and customer complaint management process, right from complaint initiation till capturing feedback. Initiation of grievances can be through multiple sources like email, web portal, IRDA’s IGMS system, scanning of physical complaint letters, phone etc., and once initiated all requests can be routed to the central BPM workflow. Thereafter, the requests are routed to the grievance team, internal stake holders and approvers as per the defined flow. BPM’s push based queuing mechanism auto allocates the tasks to respective users. Users will open their respective transactions and initiate the resolution process. System keeps track of the defined TATs (turnaround time). Configurable and advanced TAT management system ensures that the operations meet regulator defined TAT. System sends emails or SMSs in advance to respective users, approvers and stakeholder before crossing the defined deadlines. Based on configured rules, the system can also auto escalate cases to respective users.

“Complaining from dissatisfied consumers is considered as an indispensable tool to learn the Voice of the Customer and becomes increasingly important in many business contexts.” – (Crask et al, 1995)

BPM’s real time reporting engine, configurable report building wizards and management dashboards enable learning the limitations, monitoring the grievances and inputs for further change management of the processes. BPM’s graphical process modeler further enables the organization to adopt inputs from such reports and ensures business advancements.

Mar
2011

Shared Services Centers – The Challenges Faced

In a highly cost-conscious business environment, companies have been on the look out for various technological advancements and business models that might help generate a better bottom line. This has resulted in companies across various industries and geographies shifting towards a shared service model.

The basic objective of a Shared Services Center (SSC) is to achieve a higher level of service quality at a lower cost. The centralization of back office tasks including finance, human resources (HR) , and information technology(IT) functions, enables business integration and can lead to significant cost savings. Further, shifting to a SSC allows management to focus on strategic initiatives, freeing time and resources for better decision making. Apart from the major non-core, support functions such as finance, HR, IT, legal, procurement, shared services can also potentially expand into other support functions such as marketing, customer support, distribution and logistics.

However, instituting a SSC is only half the measure towards an improved bottom line. The first and foremost challenge lies in the implementation of new standardized processes (not transfer of existing processes), while making a shift to a SSC. Before migration to a shared services center most processes are performed locally and economies of scale are expected to result from the elimination of redundant business processes. Secondly, SSCs are under constant pressure to reduce costs, while at the same time improve quality through better customer service and a lower defect rate. Finally, as soon as the SSC has been established and is operating steadily the focus changes to continuous improvement of service delivery. In order to ensure sustained value, the SSC needs to proactively anticipate changes in ‘customer’ requirements and respond accordingly.

SSCs need technology that can address these challenges and simplify the consolidation, centralization, standardization and automation of functions and processes. This is where Business Process Management (BPM) can add value. With the market maturing and focus shifting from simple to complex processes, BPM brings about continuous process improvement and enables SSCs to achieve operational process excellence for optimal service, quality and cost.

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