This article discusses the importance of using one Digital Process Transformation platform for business operations and rationalizing processes to gain speed, agility and improve ROI.
Many years ago, the co-founder of Intel Corporation, Gordon Moore, postulated the theory that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years. This has augured well for the industry for many years till performance improvements in software computing outpaced the gains from faster processors. However, there are also cases when software imitated hardware in both size and sluggishness. In other words, gains made from faster processing speed in the hardware were being negated by the sub-optimal performance of the software built on these processors.
This led to another theory attributed to many computer scientists like Niklaus Wirth, Martin Reiser, Bill Gates, David May and others that states that the speed of software halves every 18 months. The sluggish software undermines the said Moore’s law and exposes the futility of the efficiencies in hardware and processing speed.
In the enterprise software context, the software is of, by, and for the business processes in the enterprise. Given this, the software sluggishness can be attributed to the sub-optimal processes arising from the indiscrete addition of features and complexity. This again is driven by the business’s eagerness to constantly change the processes to meet short term goals without factoring the long term impact of these changes. The business misinterprets process complexity as process sophistication and that further leads to software complexity.
It is not enough for enterprises to invest in hardware (for example: migrating to cloud), they need to make processes and applications efficient as well. Software complexity nullifies the benefits accrued due to efficient IT infrastructure and hardware. Similarly, process complexity nullifies any benefits accrued due to efficient software and digital technologies.
Enterprises incur a huge “process debt” due to uncontrolled growth of processes and process variations across divisions and regions. What starts as a minor deviation from the original processes, most likely for valid reasons, spirals out of control resulting in an explosion of complex processes and software to support the processes. The process debt accumulates due to various reasons – implementing workarounds and making unwarranted exceptions to achieve short term goals without a larger vision.
Such process complexity leads to high interest costs that is paid for the process debt. These interest costs are in the form of revenue leakages due to missed opportunities and loss-making partner relationships.
To add to the complexity, process debt is accompanied by software or technical debt in nine out of ten cases. Technical debt will extract interest in the form of high maintenance and subscription costs to support multiple software applications and processes across regions and divisions. It is a double whammy for the enterprise.
The current trend for enterprises is to invest in a slew of digital technologies to support various processes. However, if these digital technologies are implemented without a process rationalization strategy, enterprises will not realize the return on their investments. Simply investing in digital technologies does not result in digital transformation. Businesses need to start with process rationalization. They need to define KPIs to meet the digital transformation goals, and execute, monitor and recalibrate processes constantly to meet these KPIs.
All this needs to be done on a single platform, else it will add to the already crowded software application portfolio of the enterprise. The digital process transformation platform must translate the business goals into executable software that runs the operations across divisions and regions of the enterprise, regardless of the process. The business needs to engage with this particular digital transformation platform to run all their processes to minimize process debt and ensure that all operations centers across divisions and regions run the most optimal process to achieve business KPIs.
May be it is time to define the Moore’s law for the digital transformation platforms, which could be – “The number of processes that can run on a single digital transformation platform will quadruple every year.”
Head, Product Management, Wipro
Ramalal Saripalli is the Head of Product Management in the Business Platforms group in the Digital Operations and Platforms business division of Wipro. He has over 16 years of experience in managing revenue generating products and platforms used globally, across multiple industries and domains - market data products for investment banking, wealth management products for retail banking, distribution management products for consumer packaged goods and digital transformation platforms for enterprise operations.