In order to arrive at the ultimate destination of Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) “plug and play” success (“The Emerald City”), it requires an understanding of the journey (“The Yellow Brick Road”) and its potential dangers (“Lions and tigers and bears—oh my!”).
Despite all the drum-banging around digital transformation, recent survey results of business process buyers and providers indicate that most are not ready to embrace the magnitude of the change required to achieve the next level of “plug and play” services.
“I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then, I’d sit and think some more.” The Scarecrow
Technology is hyper-dynamic. Almost everything that makes your life easier and more convenient is digital. Less than 20 years ago a cellphone was the size and weight of a brick, certainly not “smart” and out of reach financially for most people. Now we can chat with friends using voice commands, ask Siri or Cortana to look up bits of information we’ve forgotten or even watch movies or listen to podcasts as we sit patiently in airport waiting areas.
As individual humans we can adapt pretty easily to technology and its impact on our lives. However, large corporate enterprises are often still supporting legacy systems dating back to the 70s and 80s struggle to keep up.
Yet, every CIO and senior executive understands that digital technologies, intelligent automation and advanced analytics are the “brains” of the organization, helping to deliver the insights required to stay nimble and competitive.
“I could stay young and chipper
and I’d lock it with a zipper,
if I only had a heart.” The Tin Woodsman
A 2015 study by HfS Research of 178 service buyers shows that “seven-out-of-ten enterprises over $10B in revenues do not expect their core enterprises to be delivered As-a-Service for the next 5 years.” They will, instead, be leaning on traditional labor arbitrage models.
Why? Most likely because process and technology are the heart of any operation, and many companies are not as far along the maturity curve as hoped. To stay “young and chipper” companies need to adopt technology, rethink old ways of doing things and step out of their comfort zone, exploring new possibilities.
HfS has noted, “Worryingly, as the future reality for business operations unravels, new research shows more than two-thirds of today’s enterprises are simply not ready for what’s coming. They’re blissfully unaware that their comfortable world of reactionary operations and legacy status quo is going to get ripped apart.”
As well, in the 2016 SSON survey of 500 Shared Services and Outsourcing practitioners, 79% believe their strategy will deliver dramatic and recognized value beyond cost savings. “Most respondents agree that Process Excellence is driving radical change… while innovations such as RPA and Digital Disruption get lower ratings.”
It would seem that there is still plenty of opportunity to simplify operations and take action against significant process inefficiencies throughout the enterprise. This needs to happen first before real change can take place.
Enter the shiny promised land of the Emerald City of BPaaS (Business Process-as-a-Service), a 5th Gen BPO offering that optimizes processes to help clients reduce capex and opex, helps organizations have greater capacity elasticity and improved time to market.
Two of the (many) key attributes of BPaaS address the heart of every organization’s first step toward “plug and play” success: The need to simplify and standardize.
- Simplification: Practitioners are hosted and leveraged (1:many) across different clients in a shared service model.
- Standardization: Services are delivered with standard F&A processes with some configuration (and little or no customization).
However, streamlining and standardizing business functions aren’t the only factors in a successful journey. There is a need to re-visit the fundamental reasons for why such projects fail to deliver the expected result.
“But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mowess, if I only had the nerve. Oh I’d be in my stride, a king down to the core I would roar the way I’ve never roared before.” The Cowardly Lion
What’s the biggest barrier to change? It’s usually a potent mix of a couple of factors:
- People’s comfort with the status quo.
- A lack of understanding of the degree of change required.
- A breakdown in communication
These can be the true “lions and tigers and bears” that businesses will encounter on their journey. To drive change, organizations need to be courageous. They need to have the nerve and resilience to conceive of, implement and enforce digital and process transformation.
This means getting the right level of executive sponsorship to own and drive the change process. There needs to be an atmosphere of creative willingness to write off legacy technology and processes in favor of simple, less complex options. It means starting with the end in mind and being clear about the business outcomes you want to impact.
As well, it’s essential to communicate intentions and leverage key stakeholders. In our experience with facilitating change for our clients, one place to start is to develop “Vision Champions” by leveraging your in-house experts in the vision, design and communications process. And, then testing for understanding and acceptance.
Companies know and understand this in theory, but the practice of change management is often a lesson in the cold reality of dealing with human resistance to change and unexpected hurdles that arise along the way.
Here at Sutherland, we are not only process leaders, delivering “plug and play” business process services, but our #1 job is helping our clients realize change through F&A transformation. It’s what we do day in, day out.
In my next post I’ll share how we helped a client define the business outcome and then enable technology, process redesign and change management practices to achieve their goal.