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Automation. In every nation.

Innovation Nation spoke to Carole Murphy, Global Head of Finance Operations Transformation, about the Capgemini’s new Digital Global Enterprise Model© (D-GEM) and its implications for the world of business.

Where did the Global Enterprise Model© go?

Carole Murphy: It hasn’t gone anywhere! It’s simply transformed. Look at the new model, and you’ll see the Global Enterprise Model©, or GEM, is still there. What’s changed are some of the underlying principles, and in particular, the way intelligent automation is set to transform business processes.

So tell me about D-GEM. What’s the top-line story?

D-GEM is a simple, flexible, platform-based transformation architecture. It can be adapted to the needs of individual enterprises, whatever their sector, and whatever their scale. It provides a complete overview of an organization’s people, processes, technology, and governance with control points, accelerating the transition to transformed, future-proof processes.

As I say, GEM is still at its heart. The big change is intelligent automation – it’s the digital, it’s the D in D-GEM. Automation doesn’t just transform GEM’s technology lever, but all seven of them. It’s one of those instances where when one thing changes, everything does – so we can do even more for our customers, and so they in turn can do even more themselves, streamlining finance and accounting (F&A) processes, empowering their workforces, unlocking insights, giving a huge boost to their customer servicing, and finding entirely new ways to create value and benefit from it.

It has a number of constituent parts. For instance, it brings together 400 F&A process flows with supporting narratives and approximately 1,000 transformation recommendations, and is enabled by 60 tools across three F&A towers (P2P, C2C, and R2A) and 3,500 robots.

We’ve put a lot of work into D-GEM. It’s the result of our deep understanding of technology and automation, our experience of running worldwide operations, and the finance insights we’ve gained from delivering services to leading global brands. I’m very proud of it!

You mentioned the seven levers of GEM. Many people are familiar with those. Can you tell me a little more about how they’ve evolved in the D-GEM methodology?

Sure. Let’s take each one in turn, shall we?

The first is grade mix, right?

Yes indeed. GEM has always been about achieving the right team structure to perform, extend and supervise activities – but automation can dramatically alter both the scope and the outcome of people’s individual performance, and so have an impact on the grade mix as a whole.

We see three main ways in which automation affects this lever. First, it improves the performance and replication of tasks. Second, it increases managers’ ability to supervise, giving them a broader span of control. And third, automation enables the knowledge of complex tasks to be redistributed to less experienced people at the bottom of the organizational hierarchy. By making this knowledge more accessible, lower grades can gain new skills faster than they could before.

The second lever is the location mix.

That’s right. This is all about making best use of the strengths an organization may have in different places. Let’s say this location has language skills, this one has accounting expertise, this one holds deep regional business knowledge, and so on.

Automation blurs these physical boundaries. It means we can create virtual delivery centers (VDC), defined by need and function, rather than merely by location. Knowledge, ideas, and expertise that hitherto could be found in just one geography can now be brought into the cloud, and can more easily be shared and applied as best practice throughout the organization.

Right. And the third lever…?

That’s competencies. It’s about achieving the right mix of skills and capabilities, and using insight and automation to get there. Everyone needs to develop greater technological literacy, and everyone needs to use this technology to extend their capacity to solve problems, too.

Managers can take advantage of automation to improve their understanding of their team’s training needs, and act to plug gaps. They can also ensure people are learning well.

But that’s not all. Automation also changes the nature of the competency itself. The many different roles within an organization all stand to evolve as automation’s benefits are brought to the business. They all can grow and extend their role-specific achievements – and because they are inter-dependent, they all can enhance one another, too.

I find all this quite exciting. It’s changing our thinking about competency – instead of being about how you’re doing your job, it’s about how quickly you can learn to do your job.

It can help to close the competency gap, too, by changing how we manage knowledge in the organization. That’s why, as part of Automation Drive, Capgemini created an Automation Academy and Automation Library. Their purpose is to empower managers to learn about what automation can do, and make it work for them.

Yes. I can see the cumulative effect emerging here. It’s very exciting, as you say. So – the fourth lever is best-in-class processes…

Yes. Here, we’re using automation to build on GEM’s long-standing commitment to leanness, high performance, and increased value.

This is where our ESOAR methodology comes into the D-GEM framework. ESOAR stands for Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, Automate, Robotize, and its aim has always been to re-engineer processes to drive best practice and optimize business value. So you can see its applicability to D-GEM.

D-GEM increases the scope for its application, so organizations can reap further benefits from their investment. Whereas before, they could aspire to best possible process performance, now they can look further afield, using automation to extend process disciplines so they can deliver at scale and in new ways.

For instance, how can we refocus the resources we’ve liberated and apply them to entirely new areas? How can we use the time and budget we’re saving to add more value?

That’s what I love about all this. It’s not just about making current things better. It’s about the space it gives us to think laterally and creatively about new things, new possibilities.

Now we come to the technology lever itself.

Yes. Well, automation of course transforms the technology lever – but as I’ve been at pains to point out, it changes everything everywhere else, too.

Automation uses best of breed technologies to create platforms rather than a single ERP. We map its technologies to the human senses – we call them the “Five Senses of Intelligent Automation” – to help us reimagine how each of these technologies can change the way we work. When all these senses are connected to knowledge and are integrated, we can create a fully artificially intelligent platform.

D-GEM is informed by our Group Automation Drive, and matches all the relevant technologies to where they can make best make a difference to an organization and its processes.

In short, D-GEM can help CFOs get a head start in setting out on the automation-led transformation journey.

Pricing is the sixth lever.

Yes, that’s right. Automation enables the creation of individualized consumption-based or experience-based pricing models. You buy what you need, when you need it – and you still expect a positive customer experience. Those expectations needn’t be compromised by price.

Automation also enables us to calibrate services better. For example, an enterprise that regularly buys in certain products or processes can standardize around its best available options, but use a flexible pricing model for exceptions that have been identified and handled by automation.

With D-GEM, pricing is increasingly driven by value and less by cost alone.

And finally… governance.

Yes. The seventh lever is about service reporting, demonstrating accountability and the extent to which expectations have been met.

With GEM, we aimed to ensure organizations could be certain they were achieving efficiency, effectiveness, control and value. But D-GEM takes this a stage further. It reflects in addition on adoption and customer perception of the service, and also looks to leverage Big Data analytics to gain new insights for the enterprise.

So once again, D-GEM’s ability to automate increases value and creates new opportunities.

Finally, how would you sum D-GEM up?

Well, as I said at the beginning, our original aim with GEM was to rethink business processes – and now, with D-GEM, we’re doing exactly the same. The difference is that D-GEM recognizes the new business context created by the digital world, and has created a new approach that makes best possible use of automation across every business lever – across people, places, processes, pricing, governance and more. Indeed, depending on the speed of adoption, organizations might expect to see productivity gains of up to 40–60% upfront.

Efficiencies can be achieved, both locally and at scale. Insights can be gained, enterprise-wide, and used to shape strategy. Value can be created and increased, to levels that even in recent years may have been hard to imagine.

Automation may seem like just one thing. Like one magic quick fix. It isn’t. In D-GEM, we’ve taken time to embed it in every function. Every individual instance delivers benefits, and those benefits in turn enhance one another to create a virtuous circle that can be felt right across the enterprise.

In a digital world, we’ve changed the way we look at business – at its processes, its people, its technology. In fact, with D-GEM I think we can say we may be changing everything.

Carole Murphy leads Capgemini’s Finance Powered by Intelligent Automation Practice, a global team of transformation professionals and is responsible for developing and delivering transformational solutions for our clients. Drawing on over 20 years of experience across operations, consulting, and transformation, Carole helps large global organizations achieve their business objectives and operational excellence through BPO-led transformation and alignment of Capgemini’s Business Services and Group assets to deliver efficiency, value, and improved control in their operations.