Sunday Apr 14, 2013

Cloud computing is the new normal. Process Excellence, Service Orientation is hygiene.

This weekend there was an interesting show titled "Cloud Computing, Beyond the Hype" on NDTV Profit

The show had Sunil Jose, vice president of applications at Oracle; Sanket Atal, CTO of Makemytrip.com; Sanjeev Prasad, CIO of Genpact, and Biswajeet Mahapatra, research director of Gartner as panelists. While the show was obviously focussed on Cloud computing. There are some snippets which I thought were highly relevant for BPM and SOA.

Highly Recommend that you view the entire show, Have embedded the video below.

Be sure, you hear:

Sanket Atal, CTO of MakeMyTrip.com @03:07 mins, "MakeMyTrip Architecture is Service Oriented"

Sanjeev Prasad, CIO of Genpact @4:51 mins : "Lead by Process, need technology to make it happen"

Sanjeev Prasad @5:31 mins, "Deep Insights into Processes & Data".

Sanjeev Prasad, @11:33 mins, talks about the customer workflows(read processes) hosted at Genpact.

You could also view the Video here


My previous article talked extensively about Oracle BPM for BPOs. I was quite excited to hear Sanket & Sanjeev share similar thoughts.

Monday Mar 25, 2013

Oracle BPM for BPOs: Lifecycle of an Outsourced Process

BPOs are Organizations that contract the operations and responsibilities of specific business processes from their customers. The nature of outsourcing of the process could be the complete process, a large segment process or even a specific function.

Largely their operations can be categorized into :

Front-office operations (contact centers): Contact centers rely extensively on telephony for both in-bound and out-bound contact with the client's customers. They mostly integrate with their client's CRM systems & Telephony systems. For front office operations, real-time visibility into the various communication threads, revenue per transaction, conversion rates, shrinkage, call handling rates, schedule adherence, etc. is the key for the outsourcing enterprise.

Back-office operations: For processes related HR, Accounting, Finance, Payroll, Legal, Invoice processing etc., large enterprises whose core business is not the above Lines of business  may choose to outsource an entire process or subsets of each process in an LOB to BPOs.

As is evident from the description above, the core business of BPOs is to deliver efficient business processes. In that context BPOs have long relied on Business Process Management technologies to deliver efficient processes to their customers.

Let us now look how BPOs can use BPM technologies in the life cycle of an outsourced process. For that, let me illustrate the life-cycle itself. 

lifecycle

  1. BPO's Pitch an offering to the Outsourcing Enterprise.
    • Discover & Identify the as-is Process Model: The customer running a complex process has documented their processes in tools such as Visio, or, can be disocvered during the study phase by the BPO.
    • Showcase the to-be Process Model: These processes need to be imported into Oracle BPM, refined and modeled in an optimum way using standards based technologies
    • Simulate the process model : BPO's can highlight the ROI aspect of running the outsourced&optimized process by using an exhaustive simulation of transaction volumes that the customer could experience.
    • Play the Process model to get the feel of execution by end users: The only way an outsourced process can be experienced before it is in production was through mock-ups until recently. Not anymore, you could pretty much play the entire process out even before the on-boarding has started
  2. On-board the process: On-boarding is the critical most phase in the process life-cylce for the BPO. It is this phase where the BPO is gaining negligible revenue from it's customer while incurring costs on-boarding the process. Typically it takes about a month or two to on-board a process. A BPO needs to reduce the on-boarding time as much as possible to impact revenue and increase customer delight. 
    • Model the end-to-end process exhaustively : Model the process to fit the systems, content and human interactions the process implements. 
    • Simulate to identify load related issues and optimize process before executing it. Identify the capacity of systems integrating with process and simulate the process with peak capacity metrics
    • Implement UI for human tasks:  This task was time intensive as developers spent most of their time developing UI artifacts meeting exact requirements . With Web Forms and ADF, time lines can be reduced radically
    • Integrate Apps: The Customer may require real-time integration with his enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM and other transaction critical systems. The BPM solution should be based on a strong SOA backbone and B2B capabilities
    • Integrate Communication components: It is imperitive to integrate to the customer's communication software such as email, SMS, voice etc. integration with communication software should be out of box for the BPM system
    • Integrate Content: Outsourced Processes related to Account payable & receivable, legal procesess, processes with signed application forms all require integration with Document Management Systems both on the customer's end as well as the BPO. Integration with multiple DMS or Content systems should be out-of the box
  3. Implement the Process
    • Provide complete visibility into the various stages of the process being executed: The process modeling solution should provide the ability to define KPIs and key metrics which can be surfaced onto a Real-time dashboard for process visibility & alerts. This requirement is relevant both of agents executing the process at the BPO and customers 
    • Manage Task Assignment: The  BPO agent team executing the process should be able to distribute workloads among the team members based on various algorithms based on skill, load, and productivity
    • Manage Process Instance queues: Working Shifts & multi-location execution is norm when executing processes. A set of instances being executed in the Gurgaon office could migrated to the Jakarta office as and when needed. The BPM system should support migration of process instances from one queue to another seamlessly 
  4. Execute the Process : Process execution involves human interaction from various channels(web, mobile, voice), integration with services(applications, communication, network), events, messaging, data sources, content etc., The BPM system should support all the integration scenarios. Customer team, Agent team, Management and process owners should all be able participate and execute the process and collaborate when executing the process.
  5. Monitor & QC the process 
    • Run self running QC Processes: BPO should be able to model & implement self running QC processes based on reducing sample sizes of the agent tasks being quality controlled. Business rules play an important role here to define which activities should be QC's and which need not be.
    • Analyze KPIs: The BPM solution should provide rich real-time analytics of process execution. This helps the agent team to take stock of where they are w.r.t the targets they intend to achieve, error rates, escalations and so on. Customers could be alerted with key execution metrics to provide visibility on process execution
    • Monitor the health of the Process on IT parameters: IT Admin teams should able monitor the health of the IT systems participating in the process, they should be able to throttle message inflow & outflow to various IT systems based on the capacity of the applications
    • Alerts
  6.  Audit the Processes : BPOs have to adhere to stringent audit requirements that their customers' have to adhere to in their respective geographies. This means that compliance & audit-ability is the key aspect of the outsourced process. Archival of executed processes, generating audit reports, complete transaction data visibility for audit teams should be inherent to the solution.
  7. Optimize the Process : An optimum process model today need not be the best fit for future needs as the nature of transaction and processes change. 
    • Round-trip Simulation: The BPM system should provide round-trip simulation capability to fetch execution KPIs from production systems and use them as an input to simulation models of the refined process
    • Version management: The same process can have different flavors with minor modifications to suite various geographies, market seasons etc., The BPM system should support the need for running multiple versions of the same process & also schedule version changes.
    • Process Migration : Migrating to a new optimized version of the process should be seamless and should involve running process instances too.

While the elements in the life-cycle are generic and apply to any outsourced process, the descriptions & screen images that you see are all delivered by Oracle BPM. This clearly highlights how Oracle BPM delivers value to BPOs. While there are many BPM solutions that can meet expectations on a particular stage of the process life-cycle. Oracle BPM can address all phases in the life-cylce of an outsourced process

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