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Edge Business Solutions Framework

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

EDGE has been structured to handle specific enterprise workflows addressing access control, content management, intellectual property and security requirements. EDGE enables the enterprise to harness the power of Web 2.0 to drive customer loyalty, drive marketing and product management, as well as provide collaborative environments for promoting ideas that drive continuous innovation.

Web 2.0 has transformed the way we look at online community behavior and the possible implications of collective, collaborative knowledge management models. The power of the model has been universally recognized. However, the implications for enterprise adoption suffer from a lack of immediate consensus.

Jesu Valiant – The Major Service Industry Trends

With the above trends shaping the services industry; there is a need to address the ever-increasing gap with a solution from a technological and logical perspective that would stand to evolve with the dynamics of the service industry. We tend to get attracted to terminologies in the services industry ‘use case’ like KCS, Social Media, Collaboration, Analytics, etc., forgetting that these idea bundles do not have a tested platform with observable data that can be adapted in similar environments, providing the same yield. With such a dearth of proven solution models; here I am looking at replicating the models of successes and to present the entire solution in a concise logical framework for global comprehension.

Introducing the Edge Business Solutions framework; I address the technology components, logical functions, ongoing support and evolution to the ‘services’ business dynamics. This is a working  solution model adapted by a few organizations; there is a mapped platform, defined process set, metrics & measurements and a visible ROI.

The Edge Solution Framework

Jesu Valiant_Edge_Framework

Edge new market solutions are designed to address a wide range of challenges and help users increase performance levels and streamline operations. Lean is in Edge Solutions DNA, this DNA ensures that we structure and deploy specific enterprise workflows addressing access control, content management, intellectual property and security requirements. EDGE framework enables the enterprise to harness the power of BPA-BPM and Analytics like never before; having a direct bearing on ROI. Solutions help drive customer loyalty, drive adoption and better product management, as well as provide collaborative environments for promoting ideas that drive continuous innovation. Edge Solutions have helped transform the way we look at Business Process Management and the possible implications of collective, best practice models.

Key Solutions:

  • Knowledge Systems
  • Data Collection & Capture
  • Online Collaboration
  • Learning Management
  • Social Media Solutions
  • Document Management
  • Enterprise Wiki
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Analytics + Reporting Dashboards
  • Scorecards & KPI Management
  • Self help / DIY Solutions
  • Survey Management
  • Process Tracking & Scheduling

The range of Edge solutions and services are powered by a native Edge applications framework also named Edge; structured to handle three challenges: the intensive deadlines, the stringent checklist of flexibility & security, and a predefined set of functional classes written by experienced Web developers. Edge application framework lets us build high-performing, thoroughly flexible, deeply secure, elegantly designed, Web applications quickly.

Edge web application framework is a high level PHP framework that encourages rapid, expandable,  inter-operable, web applications. There are predefined modules addressing core functions of workflow, charting engines, access controls and the likes that augment any build and deploy scenario rather quickly.

For more information please feel free to reach to me at my business email address at jesu.valiant@csscorp.com.

Copyrights – Jesu Valiant 2012

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Strategic Financial Decisions – The Makers & the Breakers

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Taking the Shylock route today’s organizations embark on a journey that can directly drag the organization to perilous and disastrous route into a future that offsets the goals and the mission of the Board. The financial charter by process design, rests with the decision of a very few; these few sometimes do not get the pulse of the organization; they constantly vibrate at a frequency that is completely off course the Board and the Business. With the changing trends in the corporate leadership and their approach to profitability, the only line items these leaders  see are bottom line cost reductions, spree of acquisitions & improper integrations, investing into sales & marketing efforts of decade old services, misplaced S&M focus over geographies and services. They are not to be blamed, without any depth in the service LOB of the organization and the technology vertical comprehension skills these decision and their makers drag the organization down and ensure it sputters to an halt like an old blocked rusted carburetor engine.

I want to discuss a few key examples of such perilous decisions and the decision makers that have devastated tall standing organizations. These decisions and the decision makers have collapsed structures and impeded progress in the name of growth and profitability; bringing to the fore their cleaving to traditional business structures and not adopt to the dynamic business environments governing the markets today.

Nortel Networks: Nortel struggled with a string of weak leadership team who huffed and puffed their way through mistake after mistake until Nortel eventually collapsed. They were burdened with billions of dollars in debt after missing out to raise equity and till they became a penny stock. Poor management and governance saw class-action lawsuits that cost it billions of dollars. Nortel made a series of multi-billion dollar acquisitions that were spectacular failures. Causes: Incorrect and out-of-line Financial Decisions by the handful of leaders that devastated the growth Nortel had achieved over the decades.

Air India: Foremost the Public holding of a Commercial enterprise does never survive, except for entities like ISRO where scientists and industry experts rule the roost. As for Air India and Indian Airlines the decision on not to privatize proves costly. The Indian state with its plural and coalition driven political schema cannot in anyway manage to be commercial in the wake of massive industry competition. The rising debts over fuel, airport parking, salaries, maintenance, one does wonder the future course of the organization. Wages account for just 16% of total costs, so the scope for reducing losses through wage or employee reductions is quite small. Blunders aplenty thanks to the Union ministry like the; Air India – Indian merger, Not outsourcing of fringe and support work, severe misuse of perks, corruption driven losses from high places, No industry expert to run the show as bureaucrats and politicians CANNOT run an airline. The purchase of Boeing 777 and 787 Dream-liners far beyond the airlines need is another major factor in this. Recently reports indicate corruption in the sale of assets of the Organization. Causes: Well.. its political state leadership. What more can anyone expect?

The above listed instances clearly highlight the need to have a strategic leadership team that drives business performance and posses great acumen and wisdom. Having taken financial decisions based on traditional and primitive approaches do not help growth in organizations that operate in dynamic business environments, the need of the hour is to have a sane leadership that can rise up and adopt to the changes. In the name of Optimization – Penny Wise Pound Foolish. Whenever the corporate house starts building hurdles for business growth in any form with red tapes lined with laces preaching of optimization; its high time the second level leadership and mid management foresee the conclusion. In the above examples we see that in the dynamic business environments the decisions becoming debacles.

Jesu Valiant – 2011

CRM’s in 2011 – What the Market needs?

April 14, 2011 4 comments

CRM applications have traditionally helped in issue tracking, tasks management, accounts management and have all their product feature appreciations over the decade. All such enhancements have addressed feature extensions and few rare cases of interops with other applications. In today’s scenario the CRM features are being looked at from multiple perspectives with the advent of newer engagement models and transaction channels. The market does have its share of feature packed systems but features have only looked at addressing the legacy use cases and have not looked at widening the visions over next generation market needs and emerging solution areas. With a late awakening we now see an activity spree in the market that does signal that product companies are trying to make the most, by way of new pursuits and with a load of investments.

Here we take a look at ‘What the market needs today?’, the product stacks prescribed by analysts and how they hold good against the needs.

Gartner in its MQ for 2010 lists the following set of product companies.

Leaders & Challengers per GMQ 2010
-Oracle Siebel
-Salesforce
-Microsoft Dynamics
-RightNow
-Pega Systems
-SAP
-Amdocs

Lets see what are the overall Gaps that are abound in these products with regards to the realities and engagements of today and tomorrow.

1. Integrated E-Support:
With high levels of adoption over self service modules and real-time on-line support systems growing in demand, many CRM’s in the market have not the ability to provide an integrated E-Support Module. E-Support will be the set of functions or features that will help in rendering real time support that will be part of the CRM, i.e., an extension. The functionalities does not end with ‘Incident Tracking’, ‘Data Captures’ and ‘Account details’ but goes on to provide a real time engagement console with the transactions being recorded. Features like ‘Create my Case’, ‘Chat now’, ‘Click to Call’, etc are opportunities to be pursued by CRM companies. There however has been few market leaders who have built capabilities on these lines but much of the market needs here remains to be addressed.

2. Process Automations & Management:
Every Product TAC, Sales & Marketing Teams, Engineering & Design Teams, and almost all the functional arms of any product company plays host to a wide variety of processes and procedures around the tracked CRM entries. There are numerous processes that are covered manually with the reports that are extracted from the CRM databases. CRM here typically functions as a storehouse of data and performs case captures, beyond that all processes are manually managed by the varied functional units within and organization. They have Excel based macros that process data outside CRM, they have audit screens done over third party applications, they utilize web based tools to automate other process and work-flows complimenting the data capture done by the ‘expensive’ CRM.
Here is an opportunity to fill the Gap and make available process / work-flow management functionality as part of the CRM to position product as a market differentiator.

3. Social Web Interoperability:
The last couple of years have seen the emergence of Social media, with direct identification of the individual profiles and engagements globally, this new medium demanded immediate attention from all of the enterprises and corporations. In the wake of Facebook, Twitter, third party forums & wikis, Collaboration platforms, there was an immediate need to listen, manage, engage, analyze these data streams that are out there. The negative impact that can be caused due to mis-management of this medium with its virality over comments and posts posed a very high risk proposition. Many CRM’s today fall absolutely short of capabilities to address this widening gap, however there are a few market leaders who have in the past months frantically went on an Acquisition spree or a partnership spree to add this strength. Salesforce & Raidan over Service Cloud 3, Lithium acquisition of Scoutlabs are few of the attempts made to address this gap.

4. Social Analytics:
With much said and more done over Social media on providing tools capable of listening, capturing, monitoring, engaging of conversation over the Social Web and third party portals and forums, there emerges the strong need to analyze these in line with the few key business cases and identify, get insight,  pursue opportunities, [Social Media Analytics features]. This key feature set is not offered by many in the market. There are only a few product based solutions that currently have tried to build capability here, this area is yet to evolve and the critical aspect of providing Business Intelligence over Social Media is an open opportunity for all the CRM’s out there. With the complexities and lack of analytical cases to pursue and render value there is whole lot of ideation and product features that sprout here with no comprehensive solutions. Again a very strong opportunity for CRM product manufacturers to set their pursuit on.

5. Data Reporting & Analytics:
Much of the CRM’s data reporting revolves around volume driven reporting and rule engine based reporting. Across all the CRM’s that are being adopted there exists a huge gap over data analytics and advanced reporting. We have modules on CRM today that provide the advanced users the ability to query the backend data stacks to procure reports and a very low level slice and dice capability. This gap here to run Analytics and Engineer Insightful details is a Grey area. Although the reporting capabilities have matured, the gaps are huge and every CRM user community over all the product pursue a separate MIS and Data analyst functions outside the CRM process. The market will lap up opportunities here and this can be a huge market differentiator for CRM product companies if they address this glaring gap.

6. Integrated Knowledge Solutions:
Based on an analysis performed over enterprise technical support customers, I could see exponentially at least 15% of customers demanding DIY kits – Self help systems for them to drill down into the solutions. There is also the tremendous gap between the product and its relative documentation that can be ‘called upon’ even by agents who work on incidents and tickets. Both for the customer to assist in better adoption of service or product and for the engagement teams to arrive at a solution to help in better and quicker closure the backend process of Knowledge creation, management, references, knowledge pushing, archiving, etc., remains much to be desired even with the market leaders and the challengers. Solutions over this can be a tremendous value.

Jesu Valiant

Developing Social Capital – An Approach

March 15, 2011 1 comment

Its all about building a soul into the spirit of the community, Social networks have been in existence for centuries; yes… its certainly true. Human communities settled and formed communities on river banks for thousands of years and were united as a social group with goals structured around food & hunting, shelter, security, mutual support, farming, etc., these communities grew big and formed distinct civilizations. In today’s world we try doing the same over a virtual platform, things can be so basic and simple provided right insight and approach is formulated.

The key in building social communities lies in the understanding the basic constituents. Every community and social grouping has fundamental units of functions [SFU] – Social fundamental unit,  addressing and enabling these units to function is key to the success of building community and social groups. Like in the real time communities there are some fundamentals that needs to be imbibed while forming communities.

1. Community Bonds among Individual elements.
Bonding within a community is very important, to create the bonding there needs to be goals defined and all in the community inadvertently pursue these set of goals. Its like floating a forum for users of one product series who want to achieve better product adoption and usage across as a group commune together. Some publish articles, some post questions, some answer, some pool in external references, etc., This is the key , build tools and work-flows around these goals to ensure that there is always an opportunity to debate, share, compliment, report, reference, etc., These help building relationships and bonding within a group. There is always Cohesion and Inclusion and no Confrontation or retributions.

2. Community Bonds between Groups of Elements.
Having these all out functional groups there is the next level of collaboration in the form of inter group bonding; in a community business support environment users will need each other strengths to collaborate for a solution. An example is a product buyer comes with an issue on the product compatibility with another brand over certain feature sets; he posts a question over the forum, over FB wall and possibly tweet too. Here there is an opportunity for this reported cause to get viral and many to see it for the good and for bad. There needs to be a response and this can be addressed by the Individual elements or Other Groups of Elements. There can be a technical support team that can respond; if an user reports an issue with much complexity like an interoperability then is not in the control of the support team, they can very well invoke the design & engineering team to advice and action. This is community supporting community, build bonds between groups of elements; this is also called as community support.

3. Platform as a Component.
With the complexities of real life engagements moving into a social application based interaction and responses, there needs to be a strong platform and governance model that helps in bridging the gaps between monitoring, responding, evaluating, enabling, analyzing etc., from a product manufacturer perspective. It also needs to take care of applying work-flows that will support knowledge sharing, collaboration, ideation and support, best practice mapping, etc., There are many a systems at play in the market there are a few that have listed below. These platforms offer the facility and functionalities to support most if not all of the above.

Social capital means the intensity, virality, capability of a Social community. The more the cohesive strength and collaborative spirit the higher the capital. Better Social capital translates to the following benefits for a Product & Technology Manufacturer.

1. Reduces transaction costs
2. Provides vivid and direct avenues for revenues
3. Provides a competitive edge
4. Social Capital with the best practices provides market differentiation
5. Social Capital with the right systems enable conducive collaboration environment
6. Helps build openness and transparency
7. Community Involvement Builds Social Capital
8. Promotes Accountability
9. Product and Logo Loyalty
10. Community Satisfaction & Delight
11. Direct channel with customers

Jesu Valiant – 2011

Shared Services – Boon or Bane?

March 12, 2011 Leave a comment

With the financial year 2010 – 2011 drawing to a close, corporations who have not scaled their performances are looking to vertically integrate internal services to create a pool of shared services to run an internal horizontal and this is done with the perception of reducing costs thus. The major areas of such an alignment is very true if organization does not have a industry spread and rather sticks to one direct LOB [Ex: Legal Firms, Pharma etc.,]., it simply means ensuring that resembling functions are grouped together and thus an opportunity for cost savings, services consolidation, unified governance etc., are achieved.

The reality that emerges is a stark contrast to the ‘dream’ of shared services that a CIO, CEO, CTO or the board has. In the current dynamic business environments this is bound to become a curious case of debacles, a ready candidature for worst practices. The entire activity of service team integration to achieve horizontal spread with the varied competencies are complex, expensive, and hard to reverse. Any internal mergers and fusions of services sets the top brass drooling over imaginary prospects today; in fact this in todays business dynamism completely a ‘penny wise – pound foolish’ strategy. This ‘like services’ integration motto proves that the proposer exists in a prehistoric world, where this idea will suit a mass production environment and during times of industrial revolution.

Business dynamism of today involves node level skill based revenues, operational environments, industry process and workflows, domain centricity, COE & Practice Blocs, etc., and in today’s scenario its always “Economies of flow are superior to economies of scale”. Economies of Scale applies to a mass production and industrialized service design. There is however play for Shared services models in a closed industry bloc and lets take an accounting firm; the HR will only focus on recruiting MBA’s and CA’s, if they open a Financial consulting BU the same HR role is diversified to seek analysts and statisticians. If it moves into a systems perspective then introduction of new ‘sniffing’ skills addressing this bloc is needed. This is addressed by adding new skill in the form of resources. Now if this micro transaction is a macro in its millions of dollars worth of PA transactions then the need is directed  in having a dedicated resource augmenting HR rather a shared services bloc.

Economies of flow are superior to economies of scale

Economies of Scale: More the Quantity of output; lesser the average cost. Successful environment for SSO.

Economies of Flow: More the Value, More the revenue and More Agility. Risky Environment for SSO.

In a complex technology environment supporting a dynamic business unit dealing with complexities like multi tenancy client and product eco system, industry specific workflows and addressing diverse industry stack, technology spread across varied functional requirements, distributed niche services,etc., there are a host of mushrooming communities of practice that exists each focused on their direct pattern of work. Here a shared resource for ‘anything’ becomes a nightmare with huge sacrifices that need to made over business agility, business TAT, quality of niche services.

However this does not rule out any scope for shared services as there are indeed a few areas where a SSO [Shares Service Organization] model will yield results and optimize business across a given Sharing services can go either way. Performing analysis over the services organization, introduce best practices, eliminate waste and failures, perform analysis and identify work that can be shared and pursue optimization.

Jesu Valiant – 2011

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