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Business Process Services
Configurable, Automated Workflows: Transforming
Process Effectiveness for Business Excellence
About the Authors
Ohm Kumar is a Business Analyst with the Process Automation Team in Tata Consultancy
Services' (TCS) Business Process Services (BPS) unit, and is a co-inventor in four patents
led by this team in the last three years. He has contributed to identifying process
automation opportunities and deploying automation tools for various BPS clients. He has over 11 years of experience in the IT industry in the areas of business analysis, requirement gathering, process improvement, process re-engineering, product innovation, and project management. He holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree.
Shiva Kumar Shiva Kumar is a business analyst in the Process Automation team within the BPS unit at TCS. He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration with specialization in Financial Management. He has over 10 years of experience in the BPS domain, covering industries such as banking, nance and accounting, high tech, pharma, manufacturing, and travel, transportation, and hospitality. He is a certi ed Six Sigma Green Belt professional, and has contributed to identifying and implementing process automation solutions for a number of BPS clients.
Saloni Juneja Saloni is a business analyst in the Process Automation team within the BPS unit at TCS.
She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration. She has over ve years of experience in the BPS industry in the areas of human resource management, customer management, quality, and automation. She is a certi ed Six Sigma Green Belt professional.
Abstract Organizations face challenges in capturing, monitoring, and controlling business processes due to the frequent changes in operating procedures. They often have manual processes for capturing business information from diﬀerent sources.
Apart from being tedious, this can lead to increased turnaround times, operational errors, and inaccurate tracking of a project's health. An eﬀective way to overcome this problem and meet business objectives is to adopt con gurable, automated work ows. It enables organizations to be more agile and competitive in today's demanding marketplace.
Automated, con gurable work ows ensure eﬃcient allocation and processing of work requests, and error-free output. Such an approach improves control over a process, with less manual intervention, and eliminates delays as well as errors such as misplaced work and repeated tasks. It also ensures tasks are performed according to a company's policies and procedures.
This paper outlines the challenges an organization faces in simplifying and streamlining its work ow approach, which includes reducing manual eﬀort, monitoring and tracking business metrics, and generating dashboards in real time. It indicates a way to overcome these challenges, with a few case studies to demonstrate the approach.
Contents Replacing Manual Processing with Conﬁgurable Workﬂows 5 Challenges in conventional work ow tracking 5 How con gurable work ow automation works 6 Diﬀerent Types of Transaction Workﬂows 6 Business Beneﬁts of Conﬁgurable and Automated Workﬂows 7 Case Study: Conﬁgurable Workﬂow Automation for the Analytics Industry Looking at the Future 7 Replacing Manual Processing with Configurable Workflows Configurable workflows increase an organization's ability to handle high volumes, and also help improve productivity and resource utilization. It helps achieve business objectives by providing accurate reports for faster decision-making. The organization can thereby compete more effectively in today's demanding marketplace. In moving towards this goal, organizations are attempting to automate their internal workflows and integrate them with ERP applications.
Challenges in conventional workflow tracking Certain activities, including setting targets for productivity, turnaround time, and performance requirements for accuracy or quality of transactions, need to be constantly tracked. Organizations face challenges in monitoring such aspects either when they lack a workflow tracking system or when they rely on conventional workflow tracking systems, as illustrated in Table 1.
Lack of real-time tracking: Monitoring and controlling real-time progress of any project is not possible.
Limited support for decision-making: Key Limited performance tracking: A conventional performance indicators that are crucial for better work ow system does not make it easy to identify management cannot be tracked in the absence of a top performers in any process, resulting in the work ow system. This leads to inaccurate and organization's inability to eﬀectively motivate unstructured representation of data, leading to poor associates.
Reporting costs: Manual reporting is time consuming, leading to additional costs to the business.
These challenges make it difficult for organizations to meet the expectations of all stakeholders and deliver on the agreed SLAs.
How configurable workflow automation works A configurable workflow allows users to customize parts of the workflow based on their business requirements. It helps configure the scope for different users based on hierarchy, maker-checker flows, sections for data processing fields, and other mandatory and editable conditions.
Using home-grown technologies to track and maintain day-to-day transactions may lead to challenges in integrating with other technology solutions within the organization. Deploying a common platform that can communicate with multiple systems is the best way to deal with this issue. Such a solution can capture key project health indicators and present them as reader-friendly reports and dashboards. This enables the enterprise to understand the performance of people and processes, and their impact on the bottom line.
Different Types of Transaction Workflows Transaction workflows ensure seamless and streamlined processes with predefined steps. The various
types of transaction-based workflows include:
Standard: The number of steps, procedures, and users are minimal.
Serial: There are multiple users involved in the completion of a task, and the task moves sequentially from one user to another for further processing.
Parallel: A task is processed simultaneously by multiple users who perform the same or different steps.
Ad hoc: These are tasks with no predefined activities and require dynamic steps to be performed to deliver results.
Business Benefits of Configurable and Automated Workflows Configurable workflows support customization based on process complexity and provide transparency.
They enhance productivity and accuracy, and ensure transparent controls for precise reporting and monitoring. They help effectively manage day-to-day operations and provide visibility to the management through rule-based delegation and substitution mechanisms that address workflow tracking challenges.
Some of the key business benefits of configurable workflows are:
Lower solution implementation time and technical expert dependency: The graphical user interface of the workflow provides functional users the ability to configure the application by generating the source code automatically. The source code is ideally error-free and requires minimal manual intervention to validate the output. This reduces the time required as compared to conventional workflow systems.
Increased accuracy: Most of the tasks are automated, reducing the possibility of errors and improving productivity.
Reduced TAT and enhanced volume: Automation ensures faster processing of tasks at all workflow levels, enabling greater agility in the organization. Most of the manual tasks are eliminated, drastically reducing delivery time and helping employees deliver additional volume. This drives nonlinear growth and positions organizations to face competitive pressures in the marketplace.
Case Study: Configurable Workflow Automation for the Analytics Industry A leading global market research company faced multiple challenges in its business operations.
Extremely dynamic targets for activities such as new information addition, accuracy computation, volume, and TAT-affected processing and delivery. In addition, due to employee attrition, access requirements for various roles changed regularly.
As a result, organization faced difficulties in manually tracking and consolidating the real-time processing data to generate strategic dashboards on status, TAT, and accuracy to manage the process efficiently.
Additionally, it was difficult to allocate the work optimally to the available personnel. This necessitated cross-utilization of employees to cater to the fluctuating volumes.
To address these challenges, the organization implemented the following steps:
Data and reporting: The company automated the generation of weekly reports on production and employee productivity. It conducted a time and motion study by creating a database of cycle and lead time for all indexes that are used to calculate productivity. The organization defined a data-oriented approach to arrive at the expected task completion date.
Operations management: The organization introduced a new approval process for travel reimbursement and compensatory leave for employees based on 'login-logout' reports.
Forecasting and estimation: Volume forecasts of tasks were estimated based on historical data. The solution would also estimate the additional number of Full Time Employees (FTEs) needed when new activities and indexes were added to a process.
Performance management and training: The company strengthened its reward and recognition program by ranking employees on quality, productivity, and attendance. The bottom-quartile performers were identified based on various SLA reports. A cross-training plan was created based on the utilization report.
These initiatives helped the organization realize significant benefits:
Effort equivalent to one FTE was saved in collation of data for MIS reports.
Table 2: Comparison of results before and after conﬁguring workﬂow automation Looking at the Future Organizations that implement the configurable workflow automation approach will acquire the ability to manage, automate, and report on their critical business processes. They can automate the organization's existing processes without changing the way employees do business. In addition, it enables businesses to model their workflow needs, monitor the results, and satisfy their business process management needs effectively, thereby enhancing efficiency and competitiveness.
About TCS Business Process Services Unit Enterprises seek to drive business growth and agility through innovation in an increasingly regulated, competitive, and global market. TCS helps clients achieve these goals by managing and executing their business operations effectively and efficiently.
TCS' Business Process Services (BPS) include core industry-specific processes, analytics and insights, and enterprise services such as finance and accounting, HR, and supply chain management. TCS creates value through its FORETM simplification and transformation methodology, backed by its deep domain expertise, extensive technology experience, and TRAPEZETM suite of solution accelerators and governance enablers. TCS complements its experience and expertise with innovative delivery models such as using robotic automation and providing Business Processes as a Service (BPaaS).
TCS’ BPS unit has been positioned in the leaders’ quadrant for various service lines by many leading analyst firms. With over four decades of global experience and a delivery footprint spanning six continents, TCS is one of the largest BPS providers today.
Contact For more information about TCS’ Business Process Services Unit, visit: www.tcs.com/bps (http://www.tcs.com/bps) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribe to TCS White Papers TCS.com RSS: http://www.tcs.com/rss_feeds/Pages/feed.aspx?f=w Feedburner: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/tcswhitepapers About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match.
TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and IT-enabled infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery ModelTM, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata Group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has a global footprint and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.
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