In markets on January 17, 2012 at 2:42 am
Firms competing in mature markets usually apply two broad strategies to secure growth and profitability. The first strategy centers around aggressive pricing. This strategy is particularly tempting in downturns or to force competitors out of the market. But overall, it is a shortsighted strategy and hurts long-term profitability despite apparent initial success in terms of growth. The cut in margins is usually the start of a downward spiral followed soon by some cost cutting in its various forms, which is the ultimate goal of most Business Process Management (BPM) projects and the only justification for oversimplifying customer-facing processes with flowcharts. The result is poorer service and product quality, the outsourcing or even complete elimination of services with all its dire consequences but without bringing back margins to sound levels.
The other strategy is about focusing on customer outcomes. This requires a shift from the notion of products and services as a commodity to that of shaping the perception of the customer in terms of value received. In this setting the customer judges about the successful outcome of a business process instead of a bureaucratic system. In most cases this is a substantial differentiator from the competition. However easy it sounds this shift is not something that can be achieved overnight and it is certainly no one-off procedure.
Starting with the focus on customer outcomes requires goal-orientation, transparency and empowerment in process planning and execution. It considers knowledge and an organization’s adaptive capabilities to put it into action for accommodating different customer preferences. Giving participants the means to create a value perception interactively instead of mere exception handling along a sequence of predefined steps builds the cornerstones of long-term customer relationships which result in increased loyalty and revenue.
In general, markets on March 16, 2011 at 8:55 am
Real-world business experience as well as research-backed evidence show that traditional IT concepts fail when it comes to improve the performance of knowledge workers. Yet it is this segment of high-value decision makers growing both in numbers and importance throughout mature market economies. One thing that’s puzzling is why organizations don’t invest in the proper infrastructure to provide them with appropriate software and tools while they seem to be perfectly clear about the importance of such an investment and the impact on strategic business objectives. This, at least, is one of the conclusions from a study conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of ISIS Papyrus among 150 process professionals.
Other findings from this study show the following issues prevailing in many organizations:
- Substantial lack of coordination of data, content, workflow and rules between information systems
- Rapidly changing business processes
- Annual costs of process change are twice the cost of initial installation
- Internal obstacles slow down process changes
- IT support remains crucial for process changes
- Overwhelming majority wants knowledge worker empowerment to create new processes
All these problems that cannot be solved by mere process automation and increased governance is a clear call to action for executives because there is a disconnect of process management and business objectives. To keep their companies competitive they have to understand what IT can do to support innovation and creativity and why flowcharted process maps will ultimately fail to do so.
An adaptive approach that defines outcomes rather then predefined process steps is a major step in this direction. It relies on top-down transparency as to business objectives and management targets and bottom-up transparency as to individual goals of the process owners as well as on a balance of value proposition and perceived value for the customer. A technology that enables such empowerment of knowledge workers must provide the necessary authority, means, and relevant information for effective execution. Flowcharts and half-hearted approaches that try to loosen the harness of rigidity just a little bit and leave no room for individual decision-making are definitely not enabling any creativity. On the contrary, it’s at the leverage points of processes where individual skills and experience determine a positive customer outcome and subsequently a business’ success and growth.
In markets, product on December 9, 2010 at 8:25 am
Internal processes and technology implementations must be able to accommodate the perpetually fluctuating aspects of business and compliance requirements. From the Basel Accords to Sox, MiFID etc. there’s an ever growing amount of regulations while at the same time businesses have to adapt to changing patterns of customer behavior and to incorporate new channels of communication.
Any business or organization generating high volumes of business communication for their customer base such as financial institutions, insurance companies, utilities, telcos, hospitals, or government agencies, has a critical need to disseminate the most up-to-date information quickly and accurately to end users. However, if a law is changed or terms/conditions are revised and the material reflecting these changes is either inaccurate or not distributed in a timely manner, an institution leaves itself vulnerable to potentially massive fines for non-compliance or even litigation.
Additionally, business and marketing users are pressed hard to keep up with shorter product lifecycles, rapidly shifting consumer behavior and new channels of customer communication. Yet too often their dependency on IT can make simple text or layout changes for marketing messages, legal disclaimers, logos, or new contract templates a matter of months and finally outvalue the potential gains. A common approach to overcome this dilemma is to decentralize document composition using standard office tools or island solutions but this again creates issues with compliance and CI and increased time-to-market and usually turns out to be even more inefficient and costlier.
The ideal solution would therefore unleash the power of multi-channel communications, reduce time-to-market, enable document reuse, and enforce compliance while business and marketing users retain control over their documents and reduce their dependency on IT.
The Papyrus Platform from ISIS Papyrus provides the ability to automatically close the communications loop across all channels and to deliver personalized communications, integrated marketing campaigns, TransPromo campaigns, and structured ad-hoc communication for increased customer retention while achieving full compliance through process-embedded regulation and audit control.
In key function, markets on November 29, 2010 at 9:37 am
It is actually not recent news that business application development as it has been practiced over the last two decades or so is unsatisfactory for both business users and IT departments as well as for the businesses as a whole that are supposed to be supported. What is new is that this general discomfort is voiced increasingly more often and more notably.
Typically those business applications are built on static models with heavily customized code and just cannot cope with the flexibility and the dynamic changes required by most businesses today. Information and meaning is hidden in forms and other design artifacts and completely isolated from users’ tasks and activities. Though the design problems in this sort of application development and the subsequent costs of maintenance and upkeep with changing requirements are obvious and well-known it appears as if there is still too much reluctance to get rid of such not-even-near-good practices for the perceived sake of “maturity” and other pretexts.
The Papyrus Platform from ISIS Papyrus by contrast is purely standard software that is not being customized for individual customers. It uses a model-preserving application technology to avoid programming projects. It is easily integrated into legacy systems by loosely coupled messaging interfaces to remain flexible, platform independent and upward compatible. Applications are defined and loaded into the platform as so called Framework Apps. Because the application is defined through object models and rules that are also fully documented in the central repository it can be maintained by non-programmers and to some extent even by business users, thus providing substantial savings on cost and resources. The ease of maintenance is referred to as adaptive and means that business users can make a permanent changes (if authorized) to the process template during the execution of a process instance and thus create a new process variant. This again offsets IT and shifts collaboration between users and IT to a more strategic level in the business’ best overall interest.
In hot tip, markets on September 7, 2010 at 7:00 am
In a joint effort ISIS Papyrus and AIIM present a new white paper to the general public which is probably the first of its kind to cover the topic of Adaptive Case Management in comparable depth.
We took the opportunity to talk to one of the first readers of this document who happens to be a process manager at a large financial institution. His comments were as follows: “This is a really valuable paper. We’ve been impressed by the hands-on approach which actually tells us what ACM is all about and where you can get with it in real-world applications.”
“You know, so far we viewed ACM as little more than yet another three-letter acronym with a lofty theory behind it to spur sales and we couldn’t really see any practical value for our day-to-day business. But now everything appears to go together with what we are doing to service our customers and suddenly it makes perfect sense.”
“For the first time I understood the rigidity of certain processes which we apply in our organization that we created with our BPM tool and what case management can do to overcome this shortcoming by allowing us to share all our customer-related communications across departments and with outside partners and how many resources we are currently wasting by cumbersome workarounds and manual processing to which we thought there were no alternatives.”
“But then again you see that you are not alone with the trouble you have in managing a great variety of data from different sources and organizing it all in a collaborative setting and hopefully there will be more related information available when businesses start to rethink how they go about their most sensitive assets, that is their customer data and what customers actually tell them about themselves across all media channels.”
To get your own insights about ACM and to learn how other organizations handle the issues and opportunities when it comes to dynamically managing exceptions or ad-hoc processes you can download a copy of this groundbreaking research from the ISIS Papyrus website.
In general, markets on May 26, 2010 at 2:48 am
ISIS Papyrus announced that AG Insurance, a subsidiary of ageas (formerly Fortis SA/NV) has selected the ISIS Papyrus Platform for adaptive case management (ACM) to enhance Insurance services (claims, underwriting and general services) and resolution in several business lines.
AG Insurance is implementing the Papyrus Business Communications and Process Platform, with rollout beginning in summer 2010, to support a company-wide project.
“The Papyrus approach to fully integrated customer communications aligns perfectly with our business and technology requirements,” said the program sponsor of AG Insurance. “We look forward to rolling out an advanced case management solution that will meet our operational goals and lead to both enhanced performance and increased customer satisfaction.”
Ideal for implementing an integrated solution for communications across different systems on several platforms, the Papyrus Platform will help AG Insurance drive the consolidation of current platforms to reduce complexity and cost and improve time-to-market.
“AG Insurance and its parent company ageas are known for being progressive and innovative organizations in the financial sector that have achieved success by maintaining a focus on creating the best experience for their customers,” said Annemarie Pucher, CEO of ISIS Papyrus Software. “The Papyrus Platform offers a win-win for AG Insurance, ensuring that the Insurance staff and system can respond, react and adapt efficiently to meet the diverse and changing needs of customers without sacrificing on quality, speed or compliance.”
As the implementation is completed in each business unit, AG Insurance will use the Papyrus Business Communications and Process Platform to optimize processes, tasks, communications and documents across a wide range of insurance activities.
In markets on April 15, 2010 at 7:38 am
Under the title “Mastering the Unpredictable” a recently published book deals with the aspects of how IT can support knowledge work, or unstructured processes, in typical modern workplace settings. For this purpose the book describes how case management is to be seen apart from conventional notions of business process management.
Max J. Pucher, Chief Architect of ISIS Papyrus, has contributed to this landmark publication with a chapter called “The Elements of Adaptive Case Management”. At the center of his considerations lies the fact that many current implementations of process and case management solutions are at odds with modern management concepts. While that applies to all workers, it is especially relevant for highly skilled knowledge workers. Motivation is achieved by empowering people to be valuable team members rather than through command-and-control-oriented process implementations. Adaptive case management sits at the center of gravity for process, content, and customer relationship management and therefore plays a key role for effective execution toward business goals.
While ACM is about bringing the benefits of adaptability to existing knowledge workers, Mr Pucher proposes to expand that into “Adaptive Process” that combined with an empowerment management paradigm turns more production workers into knowledge workers rather than just automating the production workers’ work. Adaptive process technology exposes structured (business data) and unstructured (content) information to the members of structured (business) and unstructured (social) organizations to securely execute—and continuously adapt with knowledge interactively gathered during execution—structured (process) and unstructured (case) work in a transparent and auditable manner.
More about this interesting topic can be heard at the 2010 ISIS Papyrus Open House and User Conference in Vienna, Southlake, TX, and Kingsclere, UK, where Max J. Pucher will talk about “Adaptive Process and Empowerment” in his keynote address.
In benefits, markets on November 12, 2009 at 2:30 am
The enterprise IT market is often characterized by fragmented products for specific applications. Although their hard-coded functionality may seem sufficient for the intended purpose it is time and again overlooked how much effort it takes to integrate them via XML and SOA.
The Business Architecture concept of ISIS Papyrus therefore provides businesses with a single consolidated information system that offers collaboration, process coordination and role coaching on top of the background data processing. This single information platform enables a business to model its key information assets, to support its process workgroups and to create and retain the knowledge about how the business actually performs its processes. All this knowledge and experience is shared between workgroups according to authority. Management can monitor quality criteria and audit each single process if needed. Because it is a single life-cycle platform, software borders do not exist and process optimization is a continuous exercise that does not require complex projects.
Enterprise architects who hope to create an infrastructure of replaceable components by segmenting and layering various products have to consider poor compliance to standards and continuously changing products. These are major stumbling blocks for an enterprise architecture, whereas ISIS Papyrus integrates seamlessly with legacy applications to provide instant benefits with its rich functionality and platform and output channel independence. On the long term it provides an application infrastructure that allows for a gradual enterprise strategy towards consolidation with no additional integration efforts.
In analyst report, markets on July 30, 2009 at 7:57 am
As reported earlier, a Forrester Research report on Document Output For Customer Communications (DOCCM) yielded excellent results for ISIS Papyrus and concluded that its vision in this area by far exceeds that of other vendors.
Forrester defines the term DOCCM as follows: Software used to compose, format, personalize, and distribute content to support physical and electronic customer communications and improve the customer experience.
The report then describes three application needs as part of DOCCM:
- Structured Output runs in batches, often in large volumes. Structured output is scheduled, consistently formatted, and sent as part of a service relationship (much like phone bills and brokerage statements); it also includes batch digital or offset print runs.
- Interactive Output marries custom content or data with preset structure. Interactive output requires the human touch, often matching variable customer data with structured forms or templates, providing a more individualized output; examples include customer correspondence and negotiated documents like group insurance policies or derivative and margin contracts“.
- On-Demand Output is triggered by multichannel requests. Events from the Web, fax, phone, email, transactional systems, or enterprise applications drive on-demand output, and on-demand events may also be initiated by a human being via a keystroke, as in call center correspondence.
As all these areas are very well covered by the Papyrus Platform business architecture with its concept of consolidated processes in the context of inbound and outbound content the positive results come as little surprise. To read this interesting report in detail request your copy now from ISIS Papyrus.