Monday Feb 11, 2013

Do You Know the Risk of Shadow Processes?

In order to do business, companies need to buy and develop many applications. These applications help companies perform various functions. Usually, employees may need to access multiple applications to perform an end-to-end function or what we call a business process.

Take, for example, Order Management. In order to take and complete an order, you may need to access CRM system, Inventory Management, Fulfillment, Shipping and Accounting systems. Most of the times these applications are standalone or at best have point-to-point integration. There may be many activities that you need to perform while processing an order that may not be covered with any of these applications. These activities are called process whitespaces, the steps that are not covered with any of your applications. Usually such activities are performed using emails, phone calls, memos, exchanging spreadsheets etc. These are the shadow processes in your organization - the undocumented, unaudited, non-traceable activities. So where is the problem, you may ask. Problem is that these manual activities cause inefficiency in the organization. In the example above, you may not have visibility into the status of an order at any given point in time, and you’ll tend to run business using dated reports. If a customer calls in to check order status, your employees have to access multiple systems to provide that information to the customer. This leads to waste as well as leads to employees taking decisions based on outdated or incomplete information.

In some cases, your company may also be exposed to compliance risks for not having traceability for all required activities. Using manual procedures means that your compliance and audit costs go high, hitting your bottom line and exposing your company and employees to fines or penalties.

One of the key values of BPM is to fill these process whitespaces and make your business more efficient. The idea is not to replace your existing systems or applications. The idea is to leverage your applications (CRM, ERP, SCM) and define an end-to-end efficient process that fills the whitespaces. Let the applications do what they are best at. Do not make unnatural customizations to COTS applications to fit your processes. Use BPM to bring application together and create custom processes. Any activity that is performed in BPM based application is auditable, efficient and enhances visibility across your business. Check out this demo that talks about using BPM to create efficient processes on top of your applications.

Sunday Apr 15, 2012

BPM in Financial Services Industry

The following series of blog posts discuss common BPM use-cases in the Financial Services industry:

  • Financial institutions view compliance as a regulatory burden that incurs a high initial capital outlay and recurring costs. By its very nature regulation takes a prescriptive, common-for-all, approach to managing financial and non-financial risk. Needless to say, no longer does mere compliance with regulation will lead to sustainable differentiation.

For details, check out the 2 part series on managing operational risk of financial services process (part 1 / part 2).

  • Payments processing is a central activity for financial institutions, especially retail banks, and intermediaries that provided clearing and settlement services. Visibility of payments processing is essentially about the ability to track payments and handle payments exceptions as payments flow from initiation to settlement.

For details, check out the 2 part series on improving visibility of payments processing (part 1 / part 2).

Thursday Mar 29, 2012

BPM in Retail Industry

The following series of blog posts discuss common BPM use-cases in the Retail industry:

  • ARTS Reference Model for Retail
  • Retail 2.0 represents the transformation in the retail industry triggered by the accelerated shift towards online and mobile technologies and social shopping paradigms. Never before has the consumer been of more importance or should i say in greater control, especially so due to the shrinking information asymmetry between merchants and consumers that has tilted the balance of power in the latter’s favor.

For details, click Customer Experience Management for Retail 2.0 - part 1 / 2

  • Below is a concept architecture for streamlining front-end, mid-office and back-end interfaces through shared process to achieve consistency and efficiency in managing the customer experience from order capture to order provisioning.

    For details, click Customer Experience Management for Retail 2.0 - part 2 / 2

Friday Feb 24, 2012

BPM in Utilties Industry

The following series of blog posts discuss common BPM use-cases in the Utilities industry:

  • Meter-to-Cash is the primary revenue generating activity for down-stream utilities. Traditionally, there has been little impetus for utilities to strive for cost efficiencies across this activity due to the revenue ceiling imposed by regulated prices. Today, utilities are faced with capital intensive investments in upgrading to smart-grid/metering infrastructures and consumer-centric revenue models e.g. net-metering and time-of-use pricing that could potentially drive down revenues as consumption shifts to off-peak periods. Hence, utilities can no longer afford to neglect efficiencies in their meter-to-cash cycle.

For details, click Meter-to-Cash Optimization for Smarter Utilities

  • Today, utilities are committing to capital intensive investments in upgrading to smart-grid/metering infrastructure driven by government regulation and consumer awareness. However, iIn this process of becoming increasingly “smarter”, the digitization of the grid is blurring lines between operational, information and communication technologies. This inadvertently makes the grid highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, physical sabotage and equipment malfunction in the “last-mile” i.e. Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

For details, click Mitigating Cyber-Security Risks to Smart-Grid AMI


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