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Technology – the great enabler?

November 08, 2013

In any business the requirement to have efficient business processes is key. Within a service environment, this is further compounded by…

…an environment that is constantly changing and where many clients and their individual contract complexities demand individual rules around SLAs, billing rules, document templates etc.

How can the service provider deliver their service to the client to the required standards, cope with the changes and range of variations and still be profitable and competitive?

This is where the right technology can make a massive difference – as long as it’s designed and deployed in the right way.

As well as handling key processes – automating, controlling and providing information where required, the ability to cater for customer specific rules and facilitate organisational change is crucial. Organisations have many forces acting on them, which means the ability to rapidly change the business processes just to compete is a part of life. Events such as winning a new client, an existing client with changing requirements or changes in the marketplace all require the business to change. In order to fulfil its role as an enabler in this, the technology employed should also have the inherent agility and flexibility to facilitate this organisational change. There will always be a requirement to adapt in line with these influences to improve overall performance.

The challenge for many companies is finding the time and resource to achieve that while also doing the ‘day job’.

Technology that enables change

A case in point is the new Business Process Management (BPM) functionality in Zafire’s Smart service management software. This allows users to create and manage customer-specific processes very easily ready for the system to use immediately. Through integration with best of breed tools users can also visualise and manage key business processes even further, allowing analysis for ROI or modelling purposes and collaboration with other members of the organisations for process design.

For example, the incident management process is clearly vital for any service management company. With Smart’s Business Process Management capability this process can be fine-tuned so that the system can automatically apply different rules per customer, customer group, product or product group. This gives a level of control that realises greater efficiency, reduced costs, reduced risk, increased compliance and a competitive advantage. If a new process is needed then this can be created by the user, with client-specific rules, in a matter of minutes – and be live minutes later.

Billing and invoicing routines are similarly important. By having the ability to create individual processes per client this reduces effort and risk and the number of incorrectly raised invoices. Billing accuracy and credit control are improved, as well as the relationship with the customer.

Inherent agility

In fact these are just a few examples. The key requirement here is that, in its role as an enabler, the software has the inherent functionality to enable the most complex business processes to be broken down to granular level for in-depth analysis and improved performance. Furthermore, the ability to support different processes for different clients enables you to provide tailored solutions across your customer portfolio without compromising efficiency and productivity.

The types of rule that can be applied include:

  • Cost thresholds and charges
  • Document templates, including remote engineer templates
  • Data capture requirements
  • Alert triggers and templates
  • Warranty validation rules
  • Task generation
  • Authorisation / sign off
  • Stock lookups and security rules
  • SLAs and escalations

In summary, the Business Process Management software module delivers the following:

  • Extensive functionality to manage any requirement.
  • The ability to manage many complex scenarios.
  • The flexibility and agility to enable rapid business change.
  • Support for collaboration.
  • High visibility to fully understand the impact of change.
  • Analysis of potential return on investment.

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