Tag: business processes

Nov
2011

Prototyping Model- A Newgen Discriminator for Faster BPM Solution Implementation

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:

  • Process Route Designing
  • Electronic Form Designing
  • Configuring e-mail triggers & Exception Management
  • Document digitization and document type creation for viewing or modifying
  • Folder structure creation for document upload
  • Secured document archival in the folders etc.

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:

  • Form Field Validation
  • Data Verification
  • Process Flow Validation

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:

  1. No of iterations for change request were reduced for the solution implementation and hence faster implementation of solution is possible
  2. Less effort was required in reviewing the process which means better man power utilization
  3. Process users get to know the process in the early stage and give their feedback for improvements, which means faster acceptability of the process and the solution gets user preferred  look & feel very quickly
  4. Minimal process downtime as the process is good enough to run in the production site at Level-1

Bio: Sandipan Chakraborty is part of the Marketing Team at Newgen.

Sep
2011

Back To Basics – Value Chain & BPM

“When the economy turns south, companies turn inward and focus on operational excellence to prepare for the upturn in economy” – Janelle Hill, Gartner Analyst.

The Value Chain is a concept of business management. The idea of the value chain is based on the process view of organizations, the idea of seeing a manufacturing or service organization as a system, made up of subsystems- each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Inputs, transformation processes, and outputs involve the acquisition and consumption of resources – money, labour, materials, equipment, buildings, land, administration and management. How value chain activities are carried out determines costs and affects profits. The main purpose of the theory is a shift in the focus on operational excellence as a source of competitive advantage. 

Business process management (BPM) is a holistic management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. BPM attempts to improve processes continuously. It is argued that BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach. An empirical study by Kohlbacher (2009) indicates that BPM helps organizations to gain higher customer satisfaction, product quality, delivery speed and time-to-market speed. Michael Porter through his book ‘The Competitive Advantage’ introduced the concept of the Value Chain. He suggested that activities that are efficiently managed within an organization will add relative value to the service and products that the organization produces, and all these activities should be run at optimum level if the organization aims to gain any real competitive advantage. If they are run efficiently the value obtained should exceed the costs of running them i.e. customers should return to the organization and transact freely and willingly. By implementing BPM in the activities defined by Porter’s Value Chain Framework, the organization will not only ensure smooth functioning of the activity in isolation but also a seamless integration between all the activities. I believe an organization can achieve Competitive Advantage by studying the fundamentals of Michael Porter’s Value Chain Framework, and implementing the principles of the BPM.

Hence it is important to understand the relationship between the BPM and Value Chain and how BPM can facilitate creation of an environment that will provide the organization with a competitive advantage through Value Chain Analysis.

 

Name: Swapnil

Bio: Swapnil is part of Newgen's Presales team, working for the company's Regional Office in Mumbai.

Sep
2011

Escalating Customer Expectations – Challenge or Opportunity

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.

Aug
2011

Synergized Process: Automate to Differentiate

Human Resources have always been an integral part of any organization and the success of an organization is largely dependent on the quality of its resources. To achieve optimum utilization and efficiency of human resources, various strategies are introduced by different organizations, such as training and development, reforms in policies for recruitment, selection or retention, change management, better compensation, programs to enhance employee motivation, recreation, employee benefits, facilities and so on, the list is never ending.

Many organizations feel that productivity can be increased by motivating employees or providing training; many feel that change in management structure is required, recruitment should be proper, working environment should be improved or policies should be changed while some others feel that incentive or payment structure should be improved. Similarly many more thoughts are there to debate, but in this post I would not discuss the improvement in employee productivity through these means, but explain how supporting employees by providing tools which can help them to gain edge faster, as compared to traditional means of improvement, which can at times prove to be sheer wastage of time and resources. In simple terms if you are weak in calculations then instead of learning mathematics and going through the learning classes, just use calculator and move forward. So in my opinion, we should improve our abilities instead of improving our inabilities. I don’t know how many agree with me but this my perspective.

Please do not misunderstand me, as I am not at all against any of the traditional means to increase employee productivity, but I am attempting to suggest methods to synergize the ability of employees. Based on the above argument, IO believe that every organization  must have automated business process for the tasks which are repetitive in nature or require fixed or closed ended operations, such as approval of a loan for a certain value on fixed parameter, or classification of customers for insurance approval, or calculation of perks, incentive, targets etc based on fixed calculations, or taking any kind of business decision based on business rules,  or physical activity like retrieving a physical document from the record room etc.

These repeated activities generally do not involve creativity and decision making, but can result in employee dissatisfaction or monotony in job or wastage of human intelligence for the jobs which can be performed through automation. Automation will help employees in performing their jobs with accuracy (through automated tools) and allow them to devote more time in improving processes to increase operational efficiency and reduce turn around time.

Identifying this need of business organizations across industry verticals, Newgen has developed software products like Document Management System and Business Process Management System to take care of all possible process automation needs of organizations and help these organizations in synergizing employee productivity; just like what calculators did to enhance the productivity of individuals with weak calculation skills.

Name: Hemant

Web Site: http://www.newgensoft.com

Bio: Hemant is Senior Manager - Processing Services with Newgen Software Technologies Limited

Aug
2011

KAIZEN way of Digitization: Automated Technologies for Scanning & Content Capture

Organizations are now more concerned about greater efficiency with low cost of operations, a great composition for win-win scenario. Every organization uses paper documents in some way to run their day to day business and is also putting its best efforts to reduce paper usage without affecting its business while trying to improve the efficiency at same time.  The best method to achieve the said goal is digitization and automation of the complete business process. Automation through BPM (Business Process Management) solution and digitization through DMS (Document Management System) solutions will improve the process time drastically and eliminate the use of paper documents respectively, a win-win situation.

Basic input for any automation or digitization process is to scan the documents (to eliminate the dependency on paper documents) and capturing of contents on paper documents (to run the process based on the contents mentioned on the paper documents), but the cost of operations and wrong selection of software/ hardware results in dropping the great idea of progress through automation in about 60%-70% of the cases.

In my earlier articles like “Document Quality Analyzer: Automated Quality Checking without Operators “, “DIGITIZATION OUTPUT: Operator, Not Scanner, Defines Production”, “SaaS (Software as a Service) – Software on Subscription Based Model”, “DIGITIZATION – King Without Crown of Business Universe”, “DIGITIZATION REDEFINED – Digital Camera as Book Scanner”, “Data Capture/Entry without Operators (ICR Technology)”, we have shown the methods to bring down digitization cost, but the cost of content capture is still a cause of concern. The simple reason for this is the lack of awareness about great technologies such as ICR (for automated capturing of hand written contents), OMR (automated capturing of bubbles, check marks etc) and OCR (automated capturing of machine printed contents).

Availability of ICR technology has helped to capture content from documents for many years, but the basic requirement of this technology is, documents in structured format (fixed position of text on the documents), whereas about 90% of the documents are semi structured or unstructured, but the advancement in ICR technology has now shown the way to cater even semi/unstructured documents, now even running handwriting can also to captured by the software and saved as digital content. ICR technology is now so flexible that even floating text (if the position of text varies in every document) can also be captured and saved as structured digital content.

Now the full cycle of digitization i.e. “Scanning” and “Content Capture” is completely automated and completed with minimal expenditure, while resulting in huge improvements in efficiency of business processes. A true example of the “KAIZEN” method.

Name: Hemant

Web Site: http://www.newgensoft.com

Bio: Hemant is Senior Manager - Processing Services with Newgen Software Technologies Limited

Jul
2011

Is BPM Synonymous to Kaizen

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:

  1. Standardize operations
  2. Measure the standardized operation
  3. Gauge measurements against requirements
  4. Innovate to meet requirements

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:

  • Model - preparing a flowchart of the various steps in the process
  • Develop - defining the process and integrating the existing technology
  • Deploy and monitor - put to action and collect statistics to quantify improvements
  • Analyze and improve - identify bottlenecks and make changes to do away with them

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.

May
2011

Webinar Recap – Accelerate Time to Business Outcomes through BPM

Newgen successfully conducted a joint webinar with Forrester Research Inc. Guest speaker Clay Richardson, leading expert in Business Process Management, from, Forrester Research Inc., explained how BPM based solutions can help meet your business goals & transform your business.

The webinar also featured Anand Raman, VP-Marketing, Newgen, who walked the audience through two BPM case studies where:

• A leading bank reduced its customer on-boarding time by 60% within three months
• A leading Insurance firm achieved an increase in productivity by 250%

The webinar also helped in gaining insights on how BPM based suites can help you to:

• Achieve business results in one business quarter
• Achieve Agility and market responsiveness
• Increase Customer delight
• Ensure Adherence to Regulatory Compliance
• Scale capacities for managing growth
• Reduce Cycle Times
• Manage cost and productivity

May
2011

BPM as an Enabler for GRC

With greater than anticipated exposure to unforeseen adverse happenings in the global marketplace, there has been increased pressure on companies across industries to prioritize risk mitigation and regulatory compliance. Stricter compliance requirements from regulators have made it essential for businesses to evaluate and more prudently manage their risk profiles.

Compliance is complex while non-compliance can prove to be extremely costly to a business. Regulations are generally complicated and specify a range of required activities for an organization to meet regulatory standards. This requires investing real time money and energy into developing a Governance Risk & Compliance (GRC) strategy that is robust with regards to data storage and delivery, dashboard-enabled and can intelligently map enterprise processes to strategic business assets.

In a constantly changing regulatory landscape, a business needs to ensure that business rules are tightly coupled to business processes, enabling real time process updates. This means, as soon as a process changes, so should all associated metadata and rules.

Business Process Management (BPM) plays a critical role in helping organizations manage and mitigate risks by supporting their compliance strategies – allowing organizations to shift from project-based, highly manual, and resource-intensive processes, to an approach that emphasizes business practices and processes that are in sync with current and future compliance requirements. Investing in the right BPM suite, with comprehensive risk assessment and management capabilities is critical for an organization to build a sustainable business process improvement program.

Process intelligence and real-time visibility of business operations, is essential for a sound GRC program. A BPM solution with a user friendly Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) module enables management to monitor business activities, as they occur, ensuring both compliance and a high degree of risk management.  BAM generates customized alerts based on rules defined in the dashboards for each category of user enabling corrective action as the process is being executed.

Given the benefits provided by BPM, it is an essential component of a  foolproof compliance strategy.

Apr
2011

Shared Services Centers – Sustainable Value Creation through BPM

Today, more than ever, organizations across the board are looking for ways to improve their bottom line by reducing operational costs and turnaround times and improving productivity and efficiency. An increasingly popular and effective way to achieve this objective is to establish a shared service centre.

However, to tap into the wealth of opportunities that a shared services model provides, organizations need to become familiar with the management, technological, and process challenges and develop an efficient framework to support SSC deployment. Done correctly, after a strategic evaluation of processes, a shared service centre can bring significant benefits to businesses. Some of the benefits of a SSC are:

  • Centralized back-office functions with predominantly a transactional focus
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better service quality
  • Access to a pool of skilled staff with specialized skills
  • Adoption of best practice approaches
  • Shifting the focus of staff from redundant operations to innovation
  • Continuous performance improvement

Although a shared service model has so many benefits, many early adopters of this model failed to realize true strategic value from this proposition. Why? The two key determinants of success for a SSC are customer satisfaction and continued cost reduction. To achieve sustainable measures for both these indicators, a strategic evaluation of the processes to be transferred and a sound understanding of the tools, design and implementation of a shared service centre are imperative. Identification of the business processes best suited for a shared services conversion is critical to SSC success. Efficient functioning of noncore business units and optimization of processes to reduce costs and oversight, not only allow businesses to offer better pricing, but also improved customer service and shorter turnaround times.

The shared service phenomenon is all about simplifying enterprise processes and driving continuous process improvement. To optimize the benefits of moving to shared services, organizations should implement a business process management solution (BPM). BPM improves overall visibility into the business and provides enterprises with the necessary tools and skills to quickly respond to marketplace developments. While SSCs strive to stabilize processes, BPM helps the parent organization in continuous process improvement and acts as a catalyst for change. BPM enables SSCs to adapt to the changes faster and hence contributes directly to helping the parent organizations in faster realization of sustainable business value.

Oct
2010

Think Process “Failure is not an option”

Imagine a world without traffic lights.

Will it bring down the sky, no it will not.
Will it stop the people transportation process, no it will not.
Will it be the “end of days” for the gas emissions, no it will not.

So when nothing seems to yes in the statements above so why this hype about the “Process Automation and Excellence” business and how that is related to the traffic lights.

In this world of ever changing business dynamics, traffic lights act as guide posts for standardization, regulation, structuring, monitoring and accountability of human flow management (HFM) . Without them the HFM will still happen but with delays, accidents leading to damages (physical as well a mental) and complete chaos.

I look at process automation as traffic lights to contain the organizational chaos. They help design, document, administer, execute, monitor and control processes, people and transactions.

Quite a long sentence and quite a big task at hand but this is the only bridge that leads to “SURVIVAL” of the organizations in the future and construction of this bridge needs to start now, if the same has not started.

“Process Organization” is not about blueprints and acronyms but is all about vision, adaptability to change and culture management . You make them your friends and you will find your “Bridge across Forever”.

Some thoughts that i picked from commonsense and some reading that i did with my daughter in her authors and movies club.

Ability to Change (Speed, Innovation and Information):

“They were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying ‘Faster! Faster!’ but Alice felt she could not go faster, thought she had not breath left to say so. The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything”.

Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”? makes me think about , when Alice meets the Red Queen. They are running and running, but appear to be not reaching anywhere. What comes as a surprise is that with current speed and all the efforts they still will only be able to keep them in the race with the surroundings and they need to run twice as fast to see some changes and reach somewhere ahead of the crowd.

Survival in today’s competitive landscape can have the same dimension. In order to excel and outshine, firms have to manage dynamic changes continuously and consistently, in terms of adopting new business models, launching new products and services, way they service the customers, meeting compliance before it becomes a legal battle….

And to do all this they need to adapt an “Agile Process Tool”, one that has Agility to manage and accommodate changes (internal as well as external), has Process at the epicenter as a guidepost and Tool to make the entire offering more system driven.

Ability to lead and steer through the Human Trap (Command, Empowerment, Culture and Accountability):

My second thoughts come from the greatest war movie “The bridge across river Kwai”, some might see this movie as one depicting a great war story and yes indeed it is but another perpective that can be applied to the business landscape is how Leadership and human management can lead to significant results, Gen Nicholson’s audacious pursuit to build a bridge with a planned process embedded with rules and his clash of wills with the Japenese General had only one factor leading to success and that was the commitment and contribution that he got from the soldiers, in an organization context too, what drives the difference between success and failure is the ability to plan and execute a process with enough command from the leadership team (involvement), empowerment (user friendly tools) and management of culture (Human behavior and motivation) of resources involved in leading the wave.

Management of culture being significant here as that acts as a game changer, cutural issues don’t surface or get documented but are soft factors that if managed well can lead to building a dream organization, also significant here would be the need to set this process for acceptable culture once as a foundation and have all organizational policies and procedures evolve around that culture.

Ability to amalgamate Jack Welch with Nostrodamus:

Imagine having the execution skills of Jack coupled with vision of Nostradamus, organizations worldwide strive years to get this combination of genetic code only to realize that this might be a mirage they were chasing all the way.

Smart leaders across global competitve organizations have found an answer to this using the “process excellence” model. Here the road to serendipity is driven not by chances but using frameworks that help predict outcomes (Dashboards and Simulation) and usage of automation tools that can help them execute and adapt to journey of continuous improvement.

I still wish the quest continues to create a DNA with the combination of Jack and Nostradamus but till we get there let us focus and strive to use the alternatives to guide through the fast paced, cut throat and ever changing economic ecosystem.

May God help the Titanic organizations of this world, for all others there is still a “Process Management” Lifeline.

and remember the immortal sentence from the movie Apollo 13 by the Mission Control leader Gene Kranz: “Failure is not an option.”

Bio: Ashish is Director - Business Development at Newgen Software Technologies Ltd.

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