Enhancing Enterprise Effectiveness
Date: Friday , December 07, 2007
As producers in the software services and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries, we have swelled up the sizes of individual organizations to over 100,000 people. As burgeoning consumers of all types of goods and services, we have expanded the base of domestic companies to the extent that the volumes and types of steel produced, the number of airline passengers ferried, and the numbers of mobile phone subscribers serviced are comparable with the world’s largest.
A major challenge for these organizations is managing and enhancing effectiveness in the face of growth – something that even the most sophisticated companies in the world find daunting. How should a company manage recruiting more people in a month than many companies at their peak have on their rolls? How should merged enterprises streamline their component operations to get the promised economies of scale? How should mobile phone companies provision more new subscribers in a month than the total number of subscribers in some countries, while giving each customer a consistent, satisfying experience?
A key success factor is the use of Information Technology. Over the last decade, the IT departments of the most successful Indian enterprises have increasingly deployed proven packaged software systems for specialized functions such as financial accounting or human resource management. This trend needs to accelerate and broaden its scope; the IT departments in these companies need to demonstrate that they are enablers of success rather than cost centers. There are three classes of software products that can help achieve this goal.
The use of business integration software to link islands of information, often between sales pipelines and delivery capabilities or manufacturing lines and supply chains, results in lower cycle times and costs. In the steel manufacturing scenario, today’s customers demand specialized steels for their unique purposes; linking order placement with manufacturing process lines can lead to a more agile steel mills that produce only the types of products that customers want to buy.
Further, business integration software for unifying disparate software systems that perform the same function (inherited via mergers and acquisitions) can optimize and standardize operations in combined entities. In addition, adoption of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as a practice in developing new applications can alleviate similar integration challenges in the future. The second tier in enhancing enterprise effectiveness is built on the killer application for SOA – Business Process Management (BPM). The ability to define and implement business processes, analyze them for bottlenecks, and continually improve and deploy more efficient processes is a key differentiator as organizations’ sizes and volumes increase exponentially. Driving operations in the enterprise by integration with services takes advantage of the functional infrastructure to drive efficiency.
Finally, companies can benefit from real time analysis of the information flow in the enterprise to spot opportunities and avert potential disasters. A new category of enterprise software products, known as Predictive Business Software, has recently been embraced by most visionary CXOs. Using a combination of technologies to identify complex event patterns in real time and match them against historical databases, these products provide leading indicators of what is possible – narrowing and sharpening the focus in the “what if?” exercise and creating a lever for success. In the airline scenario, using the software to monitor arrival and departure times at multiple airports can help anticipate delays and deploy additional aircraft or modify refueling patterns where optimal.
All of the above technologies present opportunities for enterprises serving the domestic markets to enhance their effectiveness and thereby remain relevant as they handle ever-increasing numbers of people and volumes of goods and services.
The author is Vice President and General Manager - India, TIBCO Software. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org