Ardeshir Pezeshki, Practice Director, Business Transformation and BPMS Solution Architecture & Design, Wipro Technologies
In today’s competitive markets and the complex operational environments, organizations are challenged by various internal and external forces to provide their customers with superior products and services while trying to prevent their margins form plummeting any further. Organizations are forced to keep up with their customers’ shopping behavior and customers’ desired interaction medium, while optimizing total operating costs and achieving highest levels of compliance.
Customers’ increasing appetite for convenience and prompt delivery of products and services has forced organizations in all industries to rethink the way they interact with their customers and fulfill customer needs. More and more customers nowadays place orders for their desired products and services “on the go” using their smartphones and/or using different points of private and public internet connections, without even stepping a foot into a store or an office. With respect to products sales, stores these days are increasingly turning into satellite showrooms where customers can touch and feel merchandise physically, but the actual product fulfillment is handled in distribution centers hundreds of miles away. Considering the existence of virtual storefronts and advanced points of sale like amazon.com, eventual diminishing of stores and showrooms is a market reality, and no longer an imagination.
With respect to business operations, organizations’ greatest challenge these days is how to make such online customer interactions information-reach and operationally-actionable on a real-time basis. Depending on the nature of the business and the industry, organizations are faced with any combination of the following challenges:
1. End-to-end view of operations and value chain, by including customers and vendors as part of a holistic and end-to-end business process
2. End-to-end operational optimization and efficiency
3. Operational accountability, transparency, and traceability
4. Case management and parallel processing to achieve end-to-end efficiency
5. Predictive processing based on predictive process analytics
6. Initiation of appropriate activities within the organizations and across their vendor organizations electronically and on real-time basis
7. Access to relevant information across different applications within the organization and across vendor organizations as needed
8. Effective compliance management (both corporate policies and regulatory mandates)
Through effective implementation of the above objectives, firms are able to unify and interconnect internal and external processes for the operational benefit of all involved parties.
An advanced class of technology titled Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) has helped organizations to achieve most of such operational objects if designed and implemented properly. The following is a graphical depiction of conceptual reference architecture for implementation of BPMS platforms to achieve such business and operational objectives:
Upholding the importance of all listed operational objectives, the case management and the predictive processing are currently the latest and the hottest operational topics which are discussed and examined within many organizations across different industries in order for the entities to maintain their competitive edge and operational niche. Effective case management has gained focus due to customers’ impatience in receiving their desired products and services in today’s marketplace. Design and implementation of effective case management structure within an organization often requires end-to-end view and optimization of the currently-disjointed business processes by the way of eliminating process gaps and redundancies in a holistic view. Achieving such objective certainly involves operational improvements in advance of any process automation.
Predictive processing has gained focus not only due to the customers’ impatience in receiving their desired products and services, also due to the increasing importance of doing it right the first time. Predictive processing applies to the operational scenarios when certain quantitative and/or qualitative processing parameters are unknown at the time, but if the parameters were known or could be predicted, advanced start of additional process events could shorten the end-to-end cycle time notably.
As it is evident from the above explanations, implementa¬tion of BPMS platform is an element of a bigger picture commonly referred to as business operations transformation. There are a number of important strategic and operational activities which must take place prior to implementation of BPMS platforms. Depicted below is the sequence of required activities to ensure successful implementation of BPMS platforms as at a high level and as a best practice:
Definition of a forward-looking business strategy and operational model is the starting point for all operational and technological transformations in an organization. It is through this deliberate and cross-functionally-collaborative strategy formulation that the alignment of all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of its clients occurs. Consequently, organizational strategies these days include an important part referred to as digital strategy. Effective formulation and implementation of digital strategy shall include three important parts: integration, insight, and interaction.
As organizations are rapidly expanding the scope of their business processes to include their customers, partners, and suppliers alike, business-process-based integration across the backend systems to access information from different organizational data sources, as well as access to different partner/ vendor information are essential. Customers and suppliers, being external to the organization, do not have access to the organization’s backend systems. However, in order for them to participate in the processes effectively, they will need to view relevant data and be able to submit required information to conduct their process activities. Advanced BPMS technologies provide the required means for such integrations while enforcing MS platforms are designed to operate in complement of the existing integration and service layers.
Data driven analytics is vital part of predictive processing. Such analytics relies heavily on historical process data and the “big data” accumulated internally and/or received from external services. Today’s advanced BPMS technologies use such analytics and statistical predictions to make proactive process decisions on selection of suited alternative paths to complete process instances in shorter cycle time.
The demand for variety in modes of access and communication with organizations is not limited to customers. Organizations’ employees, partners, and vendors too require such access flexibility. The advanced BPMS technologies nowadays are featured with cloud, mobile, and social capabilities to satisfy such needs of their internal and external users.
Lastly, in order for the organizations to keep all of their operating areas functioning in sync, efficiently, and effectively over time, it is essential for the entities to implement a cross-functional BPM CoE structure at their enterprise level. A BPM CoE through its members must be aimed to achieve the highest levels of operational excellence through continuous improvement both intra-functionally and cross-functionally.