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Digital Business Services

Technology Talk

The latest insights on the technologies that are changing Business Services

Client Stories Block

Using Agile Automation Methodology to Automate Business Processes - Daniel Dines, CEO, UiPath

Client Stories Block

Team RPA: Different robots for different process automation roles - Christopher Stancombe

Client Stories Block

Artificial Intelligence – Changing the Way We Do Business Forever - Divya Kumar

Expert Insights

Capgemini Business Services experts share their best practices and recommendations


Meet the Expert

Craig Conte, Head of Contract Compliance and Optimization Services
Capgemini Business Services

Craig Conte is the head of Capgemini’s Contract Compliance and Optimization Services. Innovation Nation caught up with Craig to ask him about the impact the digital revolution is having on Contract Management.

Innovation Nation: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Craig Conte: First of all, I am an American living in the UK. I used to be a "big firm" lawyer in NYC for 10 years before joining Capgemini, where I’ve developed our Contract Compliance and Optimization (CCO) capabilities together with an incredibly talented team of legal professionals. My lovely wife is a reformed lawyer who became a teacher and we have two wonderful children who now sound more British than American.
 

What are some of the biggest areas of impact that the digital revolution is having on Contract Management?

With the power of processing, tagging, recognition and organization, I can go on the Internet at any time and find all of the Darth Vadar’s lines across multiple movies, the person who played Darth Vadar, where he was born and the other movies he has appeared in within a few clicks. Now imagine applying this concept to something useful like Contract Management – to know where your contracts are kept, which ones are in a particular country or with a particular vendor, which ones have the clauses you like and the clauses you don’t like. The ability to manage information based on the "Google" model has come to contracts and it’s dramatically changing how they are managed. People who use this the right way are going to be leaps ahead of those who have yet to get on board. 
 

What does the future hold for Contract Management?

Contract Management is increasingly being adopted by organizations of all sizes as an extension of traditional business process outsourcing (BPO). And as the digital
revolution continues to disrupt business as usual, managing contracts will be ever more important for optimizing operations. We’re already seeing a change in the way contracts are created. For example, technologies exist today that enable you to add all of the preferred terms you want to include in a contract with the click of a button, as opposed to hiring expensive lawyers or using your own staff. Going forward, all your contractual information – service levels, payment terms, etc. – will be mapped out on a heat map based on what is important for your business outcomes. Those companies that adopt a more digital approach will have better information for decision making, so much so that it will make them look like spacemen as opposed to cavemen.
 
 

What has Capgemini already achieved in the Contract Management space?

NelsonHall has acknowledged Capgemini’s CCO services for our great ability in standardization. But what really gets me excited is finding solutions for clients – we found 40% efficiency gain for a UK Public Sector entity, we saved a US retailer $1 million in four months through spotting overbilling, and we saved $5 million over five years by fixing a long-term contract for an IT provider of a financial services company. We are also up for an award with relating to a new contract management hub we built for another UK financial services company.
 
Read Craig’s point of view on ‘Contract Management: Here come the Robots’ 

 

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Everyday Life in a Digital World

Magda Matell, Senior Manager, Transformation & Innovation Lead, Capgemini Business Services

Imagine the following scenario: your refrigerator places a food order, a mobile app sets up a notification about the delivery schedule; the food is then delivered by the autonomous driving car that is smartly scheduled to avoid traffic jams. The order is paid by Bitcoin and the money is received and booked automatically by the seller. 
 
What makes this possible? IoT, Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printers, a sharing economy and more. These innovations are defining how our future will look; think about the possibilities when they are all combined and in use by your household. Let’s imagine how a typical day might unfold for Digital Anne.  
 
It’s Saturday morning – Digital Anne gets up at 8am as she expects her food shopping delivery to arrive soon. Her fridge is programmed to notify her via the mobile app on her phone about the pending order and delivery schedule, just to make sure she won’t miss it. 
 
In the digital era, every modern household has a fridge that is able to monitor the stock levels of the goods according to the previously programmed patterns, like Digital Anne for example, who only drinks orange juice on the weekend but likes to have milk available every day. Her fridge has placed an order on Thursday for the usual goods including the orange juice to be delivered on Saturday morning for her breakfast.
 
The order was placed through an online shop where it was assembled and packed by robots working in a/their/ warehouse based on an Automated Shelf Recognition mechanism. 
 
Digital Anne does not have to worry about the payment because when her fridge ordering system was set up, she allowed the online shop to debit her Bitcoin e-wallet and the banking portal to deliver the invoice automatically upon completion of the transaction. The shop is happy because the money appears in their account immediately and she gets a loyalty bonus for timely payments. The shop’s accounts receivable department receives a notification that the transaction is paid the same day and it’s posted with help of Artificial Intelligence.  
 
An autonomous driving car transports the order, and once delivered, Digital Anne receives a hologram message confirming delivery. 
 
After breakfast, Digital Anne usually pays her bills. Her banking portal receives all the invoices and she sets up payment schedules accordingly. Any ad hoc bills can be paid by the digital wallet on her phone. 
 
Digital Anne then starts planning dinner for her family. She loves experimenting in the kitchen so she has programmed her 3D printer to print delicious sauces for the meal. 
 
After her morning routine, Anne is ready to leave on a trip she planned with her family and friends. Their private cars are too small to fit everyone but she has found a larger one that she rented through a car sharing portal based on her very high ‘trust’ score. 
 
After their trip, her family enjoys a delicious dinner followed by an evening of exciting adventures they experience through digital glasses. 
 
Digital Anne’s life has changed considerably since she implemented these digital technologies. Everything is simpler, more streamlined and ‘user friendly’. The paperwork has been eliminated, and she can order bread from her local bakery through a mobile app. Robots are present in almost every part of our life, at home, at work, in the shops. Anne has more time to spend with her family as she is no longer stuck in the traffic, and whenever she buys something she only chooses companies who make her life easier and excel in customer-focus. 
 
If Digital Anne can accomplish this at home, imagine what she can do at the office. More on that next time.
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How to Realize the Business Value of a Procurement Solution

Nicklas Brändström, CEO, IBX Business Network, Capgemini Business Services

Very often it is difficult to assess the current state of procurement efficiency, let alone what potential business value and savings could lie ahead: What is the benchmark? What is the most suitable assessment methodology? We might think we know where we want to be, but we need to ensure the vision is achievable and that we know how to make it happen.

Why embark on an eprocurement transformation journey?

Before you start on your transformation journey, it is important to understand why you want to change. So the first question to answer is: What are your goals? In my experience, the main reasons that procurement leaders launch a change initiative is to drive improvements in three areas—quality, efficiency, and effectiveness—and here’s why:

Quality : Having a focus on quality and being outcome driven leads to less defects, errors and exceptions. These benefits may be difficult to compare to industry benchmarks because of differing assessment methodologies, but examples of improved KPIs include internal stakeholder satisfaction, staff retention, supplier satisfaction (improved relationships) and improved results from risk and compliance audits.

Efficiency: The drive towards increased efficiency means shorter cycle times, shorter waiting periods, increased automation and lower process cost. Improved KPI examples include reduction in PO process times, increased automation rate, reduced operating cost vs. managed spend, and lower cost per PO lines.

Savings and spend compliance have always been part of the procurement agenda, but in the last few years I have seen a growing interest in measuring efficiency and an increased focus on automation. One reason for this is that there are better solutions on the market to enable automation. Another reason is that the consolidation into shared service centers (in-house or outsourced) has streamlined the operational costs and made it possible to realize savings with process automation.

Effectiveness: Being effective comes down to having a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). This means increasing procurement’s contribution as a key business function and demonstrating your ability to achieve improved value for money. Increasing efficiency can help fund effectiveness while increased automation of operational processes frees up your resources to be reinvested, which will drive more savings. Examples of related KPIs are improved PO and spend compliance and increased cost savings as a percentage of managed spend.

This list is not mutually exclusive and is certainly not exhaustive, but I think these areas represent the most important reasons to embark on a procurement transformation. The moment when such a program becomes financially feasible and will reap the benefits depends on many factors.

It’s important to confirm whether a change initiative will help you to be better, faster or cheaper—and remember that any change comes with a cost of adoption and cost of implementation. So if you can´t justify your initiative with measurable improvements in at least one of the three aforementioned areas then maybe you shouldn´t change at all. However, if you have reached the “tipping point” where benefits outweigh investment, delay only incurs needless costs. Using the flexible, piece-by-piece principles of Lego®– IT concepts, the investment might not be as big as you might think.

What is the best way to orchestrate the change?

I strongly recommend being clear and specific; in fact, use SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound). I am still surprised how often I see unclear goals and objectives set by prospective clients. Don’t be vague with your targets because this will mean that you are unlikely to reach optimal efficiency with your transformation.

Start by asking yourself “why” and “how” the transformation should take place. Stakeholders want to hear your justification, including your direction and plans. They want to listen and understand, to ask questions and raise concerns. They want to know why they are supposed to change and how the change will happen. Last but not least, they want to know what is in it for them!

Set up a program to implement the changes using a wave-based approach. Change management activities are critical to implement the transformation properly. This applies to both the tools to increase automation levels and for the processes intrinsic in the eprocurement solution.

Do not forget your suppliers. Getting your most important suppliers on board early is an important success factor. Each wave of user roll-out should be accompanied by a wave of supplier enablement. An empty shop turns your casual users away and it is better to prioritize process compliance first and then gradually shift focus to contract compliance as your sourcing activities bear fruit and you can start to consolidate the supplier base.

Transformation requires discipline and perseverance. A purchasing transformation program is not a short sprint—it is a marathon. Typically, such projects will span at least six months to three years, depending on the scope of your transformation program. One of the hardest aspects is the ability to prioritize during this time. Fortunately, you should be able to call upon the experience and expertise of your eprocurement partner to support you.

If you consider these ways to orchestrate your transformation journey you will be better able to become more efficient and effective while delivering higher quality, ultimately ensuring that your transformation program brings positive business value.

This is the third, and final blog post in this series about selecting a suitable procurement solution. In the first part, “The Buyer’s Guide to SaaS Solutions” I talked about the type of ‘reading between the lines’ that is necessary when considering solutions and providers and the precautions to take. In the next, “Replace or reinvest? Three considerations when upgrading your procurement system” I questioned whether it always makes sense to commit to a full end-to-end eprocurement package.

I hope you found these blogs interesting and informative. I welcome your thoughts on the subject.

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HOW THE RIGHT PLATFORM CAN HELP YOU MEET A 100-YEAR COMMITMENT

Barbara Grassie,  Director – Solutions and Consulting, Capgemini Business Services

In a recent survey conducted by Celent Research, 80% of life insurers listed the inflexibility of their applications and the difficulty of bringing new products to market as their top challenges. In the Life and Annuities business, where even a single policy could translate to a 100-year commitment, several issues are being generated by this combination of legacy technology and ageing policies:

  1. Inaccurate and incomplete data from older, less mature systems
  2. Data being stored in someone’s desk or in other improper places leading to manual-intensive policy administration
  3. Users being forced to utilize the system in incorrect ways which may bring on risk and are not scalable
  4. A multitude of platforms gathered through acquisitions with products requiring almost dedicated platforms.    

As the skillsets required to maintain outdated systems become scarce, and technology investment fails to keep up, insurers are struggling to meet expectations in terms of customer experience, new product development and legacy product management. 

Insurers have the option to either undertake the technology transformation for policy administration in-house, or to hand over the whole process to a Third Party Administrator (TPA). TPAs often have the agility to keep pace with rapid technological changes that a large insurer might struggle with. In either case, a few key points should be considered to ensure a future-proof solution:

  1. A migration and implementation process that allows the correction of data anomalies and which supports best practices.
  2. A platform that supports the correct build of products and which allows for complete flexibility through business rules and formula-based configuration. The platform should also have the ability to communicate with most applications or tools used in the organization. This allows the insurer or TPA to support the current policies as well as all the historical varieties built and sold over the last 50 years. 
  3. Consolidation of all client policies onto fewer platforms, even down to one. This has huge cost and efficiencies savings.  

For our own wholly-owned TPA subsidiary, we have partnered with Oracle to use their OIPA platform. OIPA’s configuration and rules-based system not only addresses the issues created by legacy platforms and ageing policies, it also allows for putting up a new product in three to six months, and updating it with new features very quickly. New products can even be built off existing products through OIPA’s template concept.  

We recently had two experiences where we were able to significantly reduce the time to market. The first scenario was with a client who wanted to put their toe in the water and try a new product. Their current platform could not support this product and they did not have the expertise and domain knowledge to do this in less than 18 months. We were ready to go live with the product in three months.  

The other situation is happening now: a client who wants to experiment with different versions of a product and see which one does best in the market. They want to create a “sandbox” to play in. They know it will take them over a year for the original and almost a year each for every new version, or changes they might make. We could get the main product up in six months and are looking at three months or less for the features they wanted to test.  

An added bonus is the ability to add new features that emerging targets like millennials expect at a minimum such as apps and an integrated digital experience. 

So regardless of whether insurers choose to overhaul their technology backbone or whether they opt to bring in a TPA, the solution should keep the commitment to the customer at its heart and aim to be future-proof.

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AUDITS: TIME TO CHANGE THE RULES?

Frank Giannetta, Global Head of Risk and Compliance Services, Capgemini Business Services

Standard practice is generally a good thing. It means you’re dealing with a common set of circumstances in a manner that’s been adopted before. You know how the process works, you know what the outcome was last time, and the approach is now so well known it’s become both instinctive and practical.

But sometimes, standard practice isn’t so sensible. It’s simply the way we do things round here – and doing things a certain way just because it’s become the norm doesn’t always make it right.

Complete and repeat. And again. And again…

I can think of no better instance than auditing. Consider this example. Let’s say we have an insurance company in the US. It does business and reports its figures in all 50 states and it has to report to regulatory bodies twice a year. So, how many audits does it do? Two? No. Each state has to conduct its own audit – so that’s 100 audits a year in 50 states, each which carries significant overlaps in reporting criteria and possibly also in values.

Think how much work is involved here. In fact, think how much unnecessary work is involved – not just for the insurance company but for any outsourced service provider it’s engaged and also for the federal and state bodies to whom it reports.

Here at Capgemini we work for a number of national and international organizations so we have a broader view than any one of them – and we see instances of this all the time. The effort required and the costs involved are eye-watering. What’s more, because they work with us, our clients have to be assured that we have effective controls in our environment as well. 

 

The way ahead?

Isn’t it time for us all to work together to create a new standard practice – a practice that is no less rigorous in terms of governance but way less cumbersome? A workshop involving federal and state governments, business organizations and service providers could establish a framework to reduce the number of audits needed. Involving representatives from the Big Four accountancy firms would enable all parties to develop a list of checks for certification that could be universally applicable across state lines. Even if such a framework had to carry caveats for exceptions – and that’s likely – it would still be far less onerous than conducting multiple audits in their entirety. It would save time, reduce costs and effort and increase productivity for every business. What’s more, those same benefits would be felt by government too.

Or we might consider another approach instead of or in addition to this one. Continuous control monitoring gathers auditable information at higher frequencies – perhaps every day, week or two weeks. If auditing becomes part of everyday accounting practice in this way it’s less of an effort than gathering information in retrospect at one or two set points each year. It also reduces risk of error because information is fresh at the point of capture.

A comprehensive alternative report could, with government approval, be signed off by a Big Four firm to ratify a service provider across its whole business instead of on a case-by-case basis.

I suspect the reason this entire issue hasn’t been addressed may be because current processes have made too many of us too busy for too long to be able to stand back, call time out and think about it.

But what do you think? Isn’t it time for a change? Or do we simply preserve the status quo because, well, that’s the way we do things round here?

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HOW LEGO®-IT CONCEPTS CAN IMPROVE THE BUSINESS
VALUE OF YOUR PROCUREMENT LANDSCAPE

Arne Klewitz, Head of Account Management, IBX Business Network, Capgemini Business Services

When adopting or expanding your e-procurement capabilities, the idea of a full suiteend-to-end solution with the huge investment of time and money (thereby risk) might not be as attractive as an alternative, Lego®-IT or brick assembly approach.

One overriding feature of the procurement technology landscape over the past 15 years, which is often understated, is change; not so much in what solutions are being offered (of course fantastic, game-changing products have evolved over this period) but how the solutions are offered.

What I am referring to is the fact that at around the beginning of this century, the approach being championed by many providers of indirect procurement solutions was a single solution, from Source-to-Contract, integrated into Procure-to-Pay, ideally as a Cloud solution. In particular, the closed loop Source-to-Pay was key for technology players in the market, and some of them are still driving that agenda.

However, if you take a closer look at how procurement organizations have evolved in the last few years and what is really needed to address the clients’ desire to drive business outcomes, the demand for specific solutions for different processes, or brick assembly, upgrade or adaptation, pulls sharply into focus. This is becoming an increasingly attractive option, which I think is due to a few prominent factors.

  • Procurement organizations have been investing in processes, technology, and change management for a long time and would like to reuse these investments. A new, one size fits all, end-to-end solution represents a huge investment, which many companies are trying to avoid. The priority these days tends to be given to smaller investments designed to bring faster ROI along with greater flexibility and ease of build.
  • Procurement still needs to comply with IT strategy and roadmaps. As such, large companies are increasingly looking for solutions to address gaps in the existing process and technology landscape instead of trading in completely for a new end-to-end platform.
  • Strategic procurement planning is seen more and more as one single function to obtain a holistic view over the whole supplier base, direct and indirect, to predict risks and opportunities for the whole organization, not only for indirect products.

 

Operational procurement for indirect purchasing is also moving more and more into focus as a business outcome driver through automation and industrialized spot buy and tactical buying scenarios.

In many cases, spend and supplier management is moving into on-premise solutions that are tightly integrated into vendor master and production systems, to have a real, 360-degree view of the supplier and spend base. On the other hand, smart solutions for operational and tactical procurement need to be able to drive user adoption, automation and industrialization quickly, not by exchanging existing solutions, but rather by enhancing them. This enables procurement to avoid huge IT strategy discussions and to gain quick time-to-value and quick ROI, thereby improving business outcomes.

This trend was predicted and indeed started before 2008 and can be described as a Lego®-IT approach. It has long been predicted that this approach will become more and more important in the coming years, in particular for non-IT related functions, specifically: procurement. I think this prediction is being born out as an increasing number of businesses discover the obvious benefits of fast ROI and flexibility.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts on Lego®-IT concepts around procurement applications.

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TWO EASY STEPS FOR CFOS TO DRIVE VALUE FROM
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Christopher Stancombe, COO, Capgemini Business Services

I used to be very dismissive of customer satisfaction metrics. Perhaps this is my audit background and my desire to quantify and check everything. I was suspicious of the sample, the questions, the analysis and the conclusions. It was hard to prove or disprove, and a lot of the feedback was qualitative. All very uncomfortable for a CFO.

Yet, CFOs – and other senior business audiences – are supposed to use all of the data available to them to assess past performance AND predict future business performance, whilst also influencing and driving outcomes in a positive direction. Hence, I decided to challenge my own prejudices and see how measuring and acting on customer satisfaction might be able to help the CFO community.

Step 1: Choose a methodology

I considered a number of options, including the Customer Effort Score – explained in this Harvard Business Review article. It is an interesting technique which ties well to promoting action to streamline the customer’s experience of dealing with your business. 

However, in the interests of simplicity, adoption and proven results, I felt that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was a clear winner.

It uses a simple premise to measure the health of your customer relationship. Customers are asked how likely they are, usually on a scale of one to ten, to recommend your service to others. Those who give a score of nine or ten are your promoters and those who score six or less are detractors. Scores seven and eight are neutral. Subtracting the percentage of promoters from the percentage of detractors gives your NPS.

NPS has become very popular and its promoters believe that it correlates well with revenue growth. For example, a study by Bain & Company found that relative Net Promoter Scores explained "most of the differences in relative growth rates of retail deposits" in North American banks.

Here are a few other of my favourite examples:

 

Step 2: Spend less time debating, more time acting

Having made the decision to use NPS, the business should now stop the debate around methodologies and focus their effort on reporting results, analysing that information and using the insights to design and implement action plans to positively impact their customer experience. I am concerned that too many businesses are spending over 80% of their effort on collecting, auditing and analysing data but less than 20% of their time drawing insight and taking action.

I wonder if the old adage “the customer is always right” is something that should not be subject to an audit opinion.

 

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THE TOP THREE BARRIERS TO LEGAL PROCESS OUTSOURCING AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM

Agnieszka Chmiel, Head of Contract Support Services, Capgemini Business Services

More and more, organizations are realizing that transforming legal processes based on an industrialized legal target operating model is good for business. And while the CFO does see the value of lower costs, standard processes and a balanced workload, many legal teams struggle to get past some common barriers:

Complexity

This is the word I hear the most when people talk about legal processes. And I agree. I am a lawyer so I know how difficult and complex things can get in the day-to-day job. I also understand why some lawyers feel that their processes are too complex to outsource. 

But are all activities that complex? There are in fact, a number of repetitive and simple activities where industrialization, standardization and best in class processes can help legal teams allocate resources more effectively and at the same time reduce costs.

I realize that there is no “one magic model” that will fit all needs, so it’s important that each organization develop its own “to-be model” depending on their unique business environment. Partners like Capgemini can help you define the right model based on experience from working with other organizations across multiple industries.

 

Time 

Lawyers are extremely busy people. This is of course not helpful when time is required for workshops or process reviews in order to deconstruct your activities and analyze and shape a new target operating model. 

Yes, it takes time, but if time is not dedicated then what happens is…nothing. And the cost of doing nothing will continue to build due to inefficient processes, even more complex contracts, and increased pressure from the business to get things done faster. 

Believe me, making the time will bring value. For example, I recently facilitated a workshop with a legal team and during the short timeframe we spent analyzing their processes against a best-practice Global Process Model, we reallocated resources to streamline and focus the teams which resulted in huge savings in external legal spend. 

 

Change Management

Change Management is key in legal transformation. I often hear companies ask for support in this area, not only because many lack experience in such projects, but they also see the risk of not having the team aligned to the overall goal and which will cause them to struggle in the new environment. 

Having change management experts lead the transformation will ensure the project runs smoothly and on schedule. This will deliver a successful project with tangible benefits, not to mention industrialized processes for running the legal department.

Yes, barriers will remain; to be honest they exist in everything we do. They make the effort more challenging, but also more exciting. The key is to assess the situation, consult experts, consider the alternatives, and take action!

 

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IS THE AGILE METHOD OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT RIGHT
FOR ALL PROJECTS?

Justyna Piwowarczyk, Business Transformation Director, Capgemini Business Services

In my last blog, I left you with the question: Is the agile method good for any kind of project? 
 
Let’s first agree on what it means to have an agile approach to working. Currently this is a very popular word, next to cloud and digital. To me, this is about being effective, fast, reliable, and communicative as well as optimizing whenever possible, focusing on individual tasks, and maintaining control of the final outcome. Speed is as important as constant focus on quality. At the end of the day, it is all about finding balance between speed and precision. 
 
Now let’s look at an ‘Agile methodology’. Agile methods are mentioned in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) in the Project Lifecycle definition: Adaptive project lifecycle, a project lifecycle, also known as change-driven or agile method, that is intended to facilitate change and requires a high degree of ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive lifecycles are also iterative and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually 2-4 weeks in length) and are fixed in time and resources.
 
Agile aims to enable new product or service development in a highly flexible and interactive manner. It requires capable individuals from the relevant business to be consistently open to customer input and non-hierarchical forms of leadership. It’s a bit like bees. There’s no team leader, no manager, just a high level of interaction and commitment by all to the allocated task. The Queen Bee just makes sure there are enough bees to do the job.  
 
This means that Agile Project Managers should be fluent in so-called soft skills: connecting people, interacting with them, and quickly spotting and closing communication gaps. This is also about team building and coaching, which is closely aligned to the skills and methods required for Organizational Change Management.
 
Going further, Project Managers should act as facilitators and ‘servant leaders’ to empower their teams to reach their own conclusions. These skills enable Project Managers to accept input from team members and project stakeholders while gaining their commitment to deliver project outcomes. 
 
Thinking about my own experience and the projects I’ve managed, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to take the position of a coach, or, as some might call it, a servant to the project team, rather than an individual contributor. Taking a backseat to the team and letting them shine in the spotlight does bring impressive results—and that’s what matters. 
 
So coming back to my question: Is every project relevant for the Agile method? I think so. Of course in some cases, agile methods will be followed 100% while others will just apply a small portion of them. 
 
To understand the main differences between the classical and Agile methods of project management, I find the comparison below to be simple and straight to the point. 
 
 
Agile methods use expressions like: timebox, daily stand-ups, scrum, extreme programming, increases, and MoSCoW (Must have, Should have, Could have, Want have). Without jumping into the definition of each of these, you can tell it is all about speed and making sure EVERYTHING is delivered within the agreed time and cost and with assured quality. It does not require linear thinking about features and deliverables. Algorithms are linear, and PMBOK provides linear steering. Agile is accepting the changing ecosystem and going in circles and iterations rather than taking the traditional linear approach where a task is completed and approved before moving to the next task.
 
The market says Agile is mostly for software development, but Capgemini finds tremendous value in using it for transformation and transition projects.  
 
The project managers who support our transformation projects are shifting their thinking about managing time, cost, and scope constraints, and taking a new approach to managing uncertainty, risk and change. The combination of such project managers and transformation consultants is our recipe for success. 
 
How are you applying an agile methodology in your operations?
   
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HOW TO REDUCE COSTS ON INDIRECT SPEND THROUGH SPOT BUYING

Regine Böhm-Gams, Head of Product Management IBX Platform, Capgemini Business Services

Spot buying is still a relatively new topic for many businesses despite contributing to almost half of all indirect spend. Done right, I’ve seen organizations use spot buying to reduce purchasing costs by 15% and increase productivity by more than 50%, proving that the positive aspects definitely outweigh the initial effort in taking control. 

Let’s start with a definition. A spot buy (tactical purchase) is a purchase that is not planned strategically. It can be an entirely unplanned purchase or one that, due to circumstances such as special project work, is planned but still not strategic in nature. 

Understandably, most organizations avoid the subject of tactical purchasing of indirect spend. It is not seen as a strategic advantage and the time taken to find a reduced price is often considered not justifiable given the relatively low level of spend. However, this is changing as organizations look at boosting cost savings and new technology enables a leaner process.  

Choosing the right tool for managing tactical purchases is of the utmost importance. In order to circumvent the difficulties associated with managing the spot buying process, it’s best to implement a high quality tool that does most of the legwork for you as well as your procurement department and your users. The user experience is essential in ensuring adoption of a spot-buying tool. This might seem obvious, but based on research by Capgemini’s IBX Business Network on user reference groups, user surveys and usability testing, many organizations tend to forget casual buyers, focusing instead on professional users. 

Today, casual buyers expect the same level of user-friendliness and functionality from technologies within their organization as they are exposed to in their private lives. Ease-of-use is paramount because it leads to high user adoption and reduces training and support needs. The spot-buying tool should provide casual users an easy to fill-in request form that prevents ambiguous orders to ensure an easy and efficient purchasing experience.  

Casual users expect to have a quick response from the procurement team if they cannot find the product or service they require. Users also want the ability to track the progress of their requests and have the option to negotiate a final decision with the purchasing department on the selection of the final product or service. To ensure user satisfaction and accuracy of information, the system should provide a direct communication channel between the end user and the dedicated procurement team.  

For professional buyers, leveraging competitive prices is of course a key benefit of adopting a spot-buying tool. To ensure that the best pricing options are available to professional buyers, the tool should provide RFX and real-time auction capabilities to achieve competition-based prices through bid-based negotiations and reverse auctions with contracted suppliers. 

Every spot-buying tool should not only optimize the buying process, but also eliminate the need for making a tactical purchase wherever possible. The tool should be able to identify and prevent repetitive requisitions for the same product or service and requests where a product or service is offered within an existing catalog. The user interface should guide casual users through predefined value thresholds and a list of preferred suppliers. Where an existing contracted supplier and product or service is identified by the system, contract rates should be enforced by the tool. Finally, the distribution process should be fully automated for maximum efficiency. 

However, requisitions that are above threshold value still need to be managed by the tactical purchasing team, often in the form of a shared services center. Team managers will want an informative overview of the workload across their teams in order to delegate accordingly. It is also important for them to be able to identify bottlenecks and performance issues before SLAs are compromised. Therefore the spot buying tool needs to have strong documentation features for reporting and auditing.  

In the end, finding and implementing the right procurement tool is the key to taking control of the spot buying process. Although it might not be the procurement department’s favorite topic, spot buying should be taken seriously in order to ensure your business is realizing all possible cost savings within their procurement function. Reducing the cost of what amounts to close to half of all indirect spend can mean significant cost savings for your organization.

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MEANING WHAT WE SAY

Erwan Le Duff, CEO, Capgemini-Prosodie

Is there a company anywhere—anywhere at all—that doesn’t say its customers are its first priority? Probably not. A business without customers is like a bus without passengers. Keeping people happy or better still exceeding their expectations is vital. 

But these are just words, and they’re something everyone can say. It’s not that organizations are hypocritical; it’s simply that putting those words into practice can be a real challenge. When your customer base is measured in tens of thousands, when you serve people around the world and around the clock, when you offer them a broad and changing portfolio of products and services it can be very difficult to focus on your commitment to and understanding of each individual Audience of One. 

So how can companies mean what they say when it comes to customer service—and what’s more, how can they mean it on a global level? What’s needed is a means of forming a picture of people as individuals, of understanding your history with them and of meeting their needs at the time and in a way that suits them. It needs to be scalable too, and it needs to operate on a cost and administrative basis the business can sustain. 

Bringing it all together

The answer is an Interaction Management solution seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive CRM platform. When you have this, everything is working to your and your customers’ advantage from both ends. From the back-office CRM, information is being retrieved and presented in real time to the contact center executives who need it; while from the sharp end, the point of interaction with the customer, communication is handled smoothly and effectively. Just as a car brings together hundreds of components and functions for one principal purpose, so these integrated technologies deliver a customer service that’s as responsive as stepping on the gas. 

Having a customer interaction management platform that is integrated into the CRM, such as Odigo for Salesforce, is no longer a nice-to-have but a must for organizations to have a 360° view of their customers. In today’s consumer-driven world, customer service agents must be able to manage interactions, including calls, emails, SMSs, chats, etc., from their desktops as well as their mobile devices. But that’s not all… most of us have little patience for outdated touch-pad menus when we contact customer service, so why subject your customers to that when high-quality voice recognition (IVR) including natural language technology can route them to the best answer to their query and even detect stress in their voice and prioritize the call.  

The combination of these capabilities integrated with your CRM will not only capture all interactions with your customers, but also deliver powerful analytics based on a complete data set of your clients so you can enhance your customer’s experience.  

What’s more, using a cloud-based platform is good for the enterprise because it is easier to roll out nationally and internationally than an on-premise solution. And being cloud-based is good for customers too, because it means customer service representatives can serve them from anywhere. Not just from a call center, but from a branch and even from home. The cloud platform also makes it easier to roll out upgrades to the service, and this too of course brings benefits to customers.  

In a world where now, more than ever, customers are kings and queens, cloud-based contact center solutions like Odigo for Salesforce makes sure they are routed to the right destination and that they are recognized, understood and satisfied. It reduces abandon rates and reduces average handling time, and it improves operational efficiency, meaning more of your customer-facing team members can serve more people more often.

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The future of credit management

Fredrik Matell, Finance Transformation Manager, Capgemini Business Services

Know your customer” is the credit managers’ mantra. So when your customers jump on the digital train, should you? In my eyes the traditional craftsmanship of credit management has come to a point where it needs to reinvent itself and travel down the digital route. 

The credit manager will continue to be a strategic business partner by balancing credit risk appetite with potential earnings. However, analyzing financial statements, making collection calls, and releasing orders is simply a bit backwards in the age of fast-moving social media, big data, and advanced digital fraud. I believe that evidence of the digitalization happening already is provided in some of the topics for the 2016 NACM credit management conference, which includes: cloud solutions, social media, credit management automation, e-invoicing, and new payment solutions. 
 
As a credit manager, there are now three different routes you can choose: expand the (digital) activities of the credit department, introduce new tools, and/or contribute to the Digital Customer Experience (DCX). 
 

Expanding role of the credit manager to support other departments

New potential for credit management activities can be found around social media as new information about customers and companies can be posted online months before you can see the result in the financial statement. This makes you think. One might therefore need to integrate social media listening with the monitoring routine and feed sales with reports not only on payment behavior but also the financial and business status captured through social media. A simple way to integrate with sales and customer service is to provide the credit and collection department access to the CRM system, and if you are on Salesforce.com using the Chatter application is a given.
 
Speaking of social media, LinkedIn is a great tool because it provides an array of information about companies and its employees, with possibilities to identify names, role structure, and even estimate retention rates. This information can obviously support you when estimating risk or collecting an outstanding receivable. The flip side is that if a credit manager can do this, so can the fraudsters. Fraud monitoring and detection, both internal and external, is therefore another area credit departments can become more involved and eventually play a key role protecting the company's assets. 
 

Technology and automation

Needless to say, the credit management tool landscape is changing. One example is the Dun & Bradstreet or Experian apps now available for integration with Saleforce.com. Another example is the emerging trend to utilize big data and analytics to drive risk predictability. Credit management is after all about speed to determine risk. Credit professionals therefore seek solutions that quickly pull data to help them make smarter and more informed decisions faster. Additionally, now there are new players in the market providing credit scoring based on completely different data sources and dimensions than the established firms do, with examples of such being quality of LinkedIn connections and home address patterns. Prepare to be surprised… 
 
Credit scoring and rating is an area where most companies with significant volumes have already looked into automation. There are many ERP native tools available as well as bolt-on solutions. To my experience the challenge for companies is to define a standard scoring model, and on top of that find the business case for the technology investment. Because of this, surprisingly few companies seem to have automated credit scoring and rating. Here robotics (RPA) could play a role, supporting data fetch from several sources and feeding multiple models, finally uploading results to the ERP. 
 

Improve customer experience

Enhancing the digital customer experience (DCX) is one of the elements of a truly digital company, simply because the digital customers would expect new and improved ways of communication. And even if DCX is a broad concept, including everything from virtual agents to mobile apps for tracking delivery status, the credit department can contribute a lot to this area from a finance point of view. The focal point is of course defined by the type of business. However the credit department should look into opportunities such as:
  • New online credit applications and payment options, facilitating easier and earlier payments
  • Email Invoice for consumers and small companies, giving additional abilities to monitor read rates of emails can impact the collection strategy.
  • Integration with any multichannel strategy and tools. If a virtual agent is used, the credit department should be incorporated and have (for example), a ready auto-response for standard questions.
  • Customer portals for invoice and claims matters, where for instance invoices and document copies can be displayed, and payments and claims can be submitted. And don't forget that even the field sales force can benefit from this if extended to a mobile app! 
 

What’s next?

Businesses are more willing today to seek external support for more complex tasks around financial risk management. One way is to use third party support for routine credit tasks, such as social media listening and fraud detection. Another is to bring in partners to support transformation and ease new technology implementation. I believe running a relevant process and digital maturity assessment is a healthy way to start. It is important that the skill set be assessed to ensure you have the right processes and competencies in governance to drive digital. Needless to say, the credit manager of the future may have more of a technical background than a finance profile.
 
And yes, there is quite a lot of hype around digital at the moment, but I am convinced that for the credit manager of the future, elements such as social media and big data will be their best friends to provide better insight, identify the best customers, and control risk. The challenge for many credit managers might be that the digital train has already left the station, with the customers on it. The good news is that there is still time to step up the game, reinvent, and utilize new opportunities for credit management and further increase your value as a key business partner.
 
 
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HOW THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS AFFECTING PAYROLL MANAGEMENT

Ann Schwemler, Senior Vice President, Capgemini Business Services

Recently, I shared my perspective on emerging trends in payroll, with an emphasis on regulatory compliance, with Global Payroll Magazine, the official magazine of the Global Payroll Management Institute. If you’re a subscriber, you can read the article here. In my interview, I discussed my insights on the future of payroll along with emerging trends and the changes that digital has brought to the way that payroll is managed. My top highlights from the interview can be found below along with insights on what the changes in payroll management mean to our industry.  

What emerging trends and issues have your attention?

In recent years, I have found that the focus on the end–to–end hire-to-retire processes is a catalyst for transformation and the manner in which both our clients as well as our workforce now operate. This process centric focus is now driving productivity and operational improvement. By enabling the greater workforce with more self-service tools and apps while encouraging and allowing mobility, we have not only been able to create but provide insight into the total cost of human resources for employers. This has allowed companies to better manage talent and continue to improve less-than-efficient processes based on these insights. Perhaps the largest payroll movement in recent years is the shift to digital payroll management and automation. These features address workforce productivity as well as support the mobile nature of the large organizations. The shift to digital allows employers to be compliant in real-time and monitor for any fraud that may occur within HR/Payroll related processes. 

 

What major shifts and changes do you foresee? 

A major shift will soon take place within compensation packages. They will soon include more creative incentives and become more outcomes-based. A shift will also come as companies consolidate HR and Payroll functions to drive standardization. This will help regional hubs to focus on local legislation and statutory requirements. The move to cloud-based payroll solutions will greatly accelerate a company’s ability to meet requirements and be compliant.  

What changes do you envision in regulatory compliance?

Soon, there will be increased governance, risk, and compliance relative to policies and process governing employment contracts, compensation, benefit packages, and employee safety. This will bring a heightened awareness and focus on employees and employer privacy and confidentiality. Taxation and employment authorities will soon intervene (wc) to address changes in labor laws, as well as disclosure of compensation, benefits, and employee business expenses.

 

As global shifts to a digital sphere, many changes will soon come to the way we manage payroll operations. While these changes will meet the needs of country compliance and regulations, it will bring benefits to employees in their mobility and workforce safety. I look forward to seeing the changes and meeting the new challenges as we shift to a digital focus within payroll. 

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CAPGEMINI GUATEMALA TEAM TAKES SERVICE TO
A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

Gustavo Tasner, Head of Americas Delivery Network, Capgemini Business Services

As the head of Capgemini's Business Services delivery centers in the Americas, I am fortunate to work with an amazing group of people who are committed to not only delivering value for our clients, but also for the local community. Here’s one amazing example from our Guatemala team who partnered with United Way to help build a school for the children of Bosques del Quetzal School. 
 
Bosques del Quetzal is a small town located in a poor and marginal area of the country. In 2014 it was flooded by heavy rains and the existing teaching facility, a meager, one-room classroom, was destroyed. And because Guatemala has one of the poorest adult literacy rates and lowest education investment of any Latin American country, erasing the chance for the young people of this village to learn even the basics would be devastating.
 
Understanding the seriousness of the situation, Capgemini's local team decided to take action. Hundreds of employees contributed a percentage of their monthly pay, which was matched by the company. Within nine months we raised the funds needed to re-build the school and were ready to put the well-considered plan into action.
 
The volunteer construction team consisted of 334 individuals who were supervised by a professional building company that sourced the building materials. Our 1.5 hour journey to the village by bus began at 7 am and the work continued non-stop until evening.
 
On the first day, the children of the school greeted us with “welcome” signs and a little boy handed me 150 letters written by the students telling us how grateful they were.
 
Over the course of the weekend, volunteers were distributed in groups to work on different commissions: block transportation, construction walls, construction of the perimeter wall, painting, and installation of windows and doors. The finished concrete building had four rooms (instead of the original one) with a sturdy metal roof, and a protective perimeter wall. The combined effort of the Capgemini team was remarkable and the school now supports the academic development of more than 250 children.  
 
 
One of the students of Bosques Del Quetzal School said: “Thank you for helping us to build the classrooms of our school. Thank you for coming to support in this construction. We need your support to be able to have classrooms for each grade, to learn and so we can be taught without problems”.
 
For me, it was an exceptional moment of pride to see the dedication of this team to take personal time to spend with their co-workers for the purpose of helping others.
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