Discuss, debate and exchange ideas on latest trends and opportunities in the Business Process Management (BPM) landscape. Deliberate on adding “business value” to clients, vendors, employees and various other stakeholders to enhance customer satisfaction and sustain long term partnerships.

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May 30, 2017

Amplifying HR with New Age Cognitive Technology

New companies such as Amazon, Facebook have embraced Digital cognitive technology in managing their HR, which has enabled them to be highly impactful on business. Our experience of working with companies around the world to amplify the impact of HR on business has helped us carve out a distinct path for HR to embrace the digital journey.


50% of Fortune 500 companies in 2006 aren't in the list anymore, making way for companies that has embraced the digital movement. The benefit of adoption is so great that the Late Majority and Laggards see themselves out of business. We see that the new companies in the list such as Amazon, Facebook have embraced Digital cognitive technology in managing their HR, which has enabled the team to be highly impactful on business.

Our experience of working with companies around the world to amplify the impact of HR on business has helped us carve out a distinct path for HR to embrace the digital journey. The path to amplify has three steps:

Automate manual transactions with RPA: Our study of transactional activities reveals that about 30-40% of current transactional activities in Talent Acquisition, 20-30% in Talent Administration and Talent Development can be automated by use of simple Robotics. Some of the heavy weight candidates for automation are interview scheduling, Background check, Candidate & Employee ID creation, Class room session roster marking, hot evaluation marking, payroll engine interfacing, payroll reporting, and employee transfer marking.

AI enabled operations: Steve Jobs once gave an example of how a cycle makes a man 10 times more efficient in going from one place to another and how computers do the same to man.  Artificial Intelligence is making the HR teams a lot more times efficient. Some of the areas where we see AI based automation is in sourcing profiles from digital platforms, screening resume from employee referral and company career page, Solving employee queries (chatbot), and suggesting right trainings at right time to talent.

Predictive Analytics to HR: HR often has data that isn't used for predictive analytics and often requires heavy investment in platforms that deter HR teams from investing in them. Infosys platforms allows companies to scan their systems for data and make Talent Genome, which is  leveraged for predictive analysis such as early attrition, time to productivity, chance of a payroll error, chance of missing a class room session allowing HR teams to plan act in time to prevent loss.

Equipped with time, saved by automation, and insights, through analytics, the HR is able to focus on managing higher complexity faced by todays HR such as changing world of Work and changing mix of workforce. Our Talent Acquisition clients are more closely engaged with business leaders and managers in advising them on manpower planning, budgeting, Mass hiring projects, Target search, Confidential search, social media listening and engagement, more segmented and sophisticated employer branding etc. Our Learning clients are engaging leaders and managers to identify more nuances requirements and developing more engaging content leveraging gamification, virtual reality, micro learning, social learning etc. With chatbots performing 30-40% of helpdesk and employee lifecycle activities, the teams are more focussed on policy refinement, impact analysis and improving employee experience.

In conclusion, it is exciting time for HR fraternity - On one hand we have ability to automate transactions and on other hand we have big challenges to solve with tools equipping us to manage them. It's time to embrace the cognitive technologies otherwise we won't solve the big challenges ahead and laggards will be out of business.

May 18, 2017

Email Marketing: The Critical Cog in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

 Emails are most effective when personalized. The market is flooded with email marketing automation tools, many of which are affordable (if not free), easy to integrate with your CRM systems, and highly intuitive to build and deploy. It is quite simply the best bang you can get for your buck to build meaningful one-to-one conversations with prospects and customers.


There is a perception that email as a tool for marketing is passé and well past its useful life. Today's marketers and brand teams seem to be more focused in their efforts to leverage other digital channels like search, display, apps and social. There's no doubt these are great channels, but I wholly disagree with the perception, held by many, that email is dead.

Today, marketers have come a long way from the good old days of inundating consumers with communication consisting of little context or personalization. Dramatic shifts in consumer behavior and consumption habits, caused primarily by digital disruption, have rendered traditional techniques comparatively ineffectual and low on returns. It is my belief that businesses of all shapes and sizes must leverage email marketing extensively to engage and woo their target audience. When executed with precision (hello marketing automation!) and backed by great customer data, email can be more powerful than ever to help drive sales conversions, build customer trust and establish long-term loyalty.

"By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users will increase to over 2.9 billion. Over one-third of the worldwide population will be using email by year-end 2019." - Radicati

Emails are most effective when personalized. The market is flooded with email marketing automation tools, many of which are affordable (if not free), easy to integrate with your CRM systems, and highly intuitive to build and deploy. It is quite simply the best bang you can get for your buck to build meaningful one-to-one conversations with prospects and customers. When perfected, the wonders of email automation and data-driven insights ensure that the best brands and marketers are able to leverage email marketing to engage and convert consumers with speed, scale, and efficiency.

If you still believe email marketing isn't a critical component of your digital marketing strategy, then below are some key reason that will hopefully make you reconsider:

1. Email does a super job at being cost effective.
When executed well and backed with good quality data, email is possibly the most cost-effective means of modern marketing communication. DMA reports that email has an average ROI of $38 for every dollar spent. An astonishing 3800% ROI just through email! And you had some saying that email was dead and buried for good.

2. Email brings you speed, scale and reach.
Who doesn't use email these days? By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users is predicted to rise to over 2.9 billion. Over one-third of the worldwide population will be using email by year-end 2019! Email has the power to reach a wide base of active and engaged consumers at a fraction of the cost spent on other channels - both traditional and modern.

3. Email has a better conversion rate than social media.
Social media is big, no doubt. But despite its popularity, social is still not as effective as email marketing when it comes to acquiring customers and driving conversions. When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more. Email marketing is even more potent as a conversion strategy when integrated with other channels like social, search and mobile. Whether it is including social links in your email templates or giving your audience SEO optimized HTML versions of your email, an integrated approach is proven to be more effective for increasingly channel-agnostic customers.

4. Email is a personal two-way exchange and can be highly customized based on the most granular of customer preferences.
The beauty of email is the level of personalization it can deliver to attract customer interest. When you have great quality customer data at your disposal (which captures their preferences and behaviors), you ensure that you communicate not only with your current customers but also with leads and prospects who fit your ideal buyer persona. Email allows you to address your target audience individually by name and at the right time to deliver tailored content (product information, promotions, notifications et al.) based on user attributes, intent, and real-time interactions. As per a study by Aberdeen, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.

5. Email is user action friendly.
An email aims to promote a mutually beneficial action for both the sender and the recipient. The simplicity and flexibility of its structure (subject, body, and call-to-action) ensures a speedy and positive action from recipients as long as it's the right message (personalized), at the right place (channel) and time (contextualized). The best emails are the ones that drive traffic to websites or other channels used to convert prospects. Campaign Monitor reports that an email that includes a call-to-action button instead of a text link is more likely to prompt a click-through and deliver a 28% increase in conversion.

6. Email is easy to automate and measure.
An email is fundamentally transactional in nature and hence a perfect candidate for automation. A plethora of email automation software allows marketers to automate their campaigns, and granularly measure and analyze every aspect of campaign performance. Automation helps increase speed of delivery at scale, decrease operational costs and, most importantly, increase conversions by as much as 50% for many B2C players. Studies have also revealed that automated transactional emails have 8 times more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and are able to generate 6 times more revenue. It is no surprise that a large number of enterprises are either already leveraging or moving to email automation technology. Measuring email marketing performance is essential to ensuring the effectiveness of campaigns. Email automation systems provide visibility into key metrics that help gauge campaign performance, identify areas for improvement, and help marketers optimize in real-time.

References:
• http://www.emailmonday.com/dma-national-client-email-report-2015 - DMA
• http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Statistics-Report-2015-2019-Executive-Summary.pdf - Radicati
• https://thedma.org/blog/data-driven-marketing/saturday-stat-series/ - DMA
• https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2014/08/buttons-email-marketing-campaigns/ - Campaign Monitor
• http://www.experian.com/assets/marketing-services/reports/transactional-email-report.pdf - Experian

May 5, 2017

Taxonomy: Time to move on


With many clients insisting on using standard taxonomy for ease of implementation and universal acceptance, should a consulting firm advice otherwise? Should we give our clients what they want or should we help them by identifying what they need?


A Taxonomy can be called the backbone of the spend classification process. It helps organize the commodities in a parent-child linkage of hierarchy, and based on this hierarchy one manages to get clear spend visibility.

To categorize the spend many companies rely on many standard taxonomies. E.g. UNSPSC, eClass, eOTD etc. These standard taxonomies though appear organized with proper hierarchy, are they really efficient? Does using them for classification give us real visibility?

The first drawback of such standard taxonomies is the word 'standard' itself. In this ever evolving market with ever changing demands a company is striving to make their products different from their competitors resulting in significant portion of goods/ components procured, to be non-standard. This results in specific department buying components which are cannot be classified correctly due to non-availability of those commodities in these standard taxonomies.

The best work-around usually applied for these situations is, adding the necessary commodities to the taxonomy (customizing the standard taxonomy). But this is followed by a bigger challenge of mapping the newly added commodity. Randomly adding the commodity not in-line with hierarchy of implementation completion creates long term problems for operations team.

These include :

 (1) No clarity of how to classify using that category, as even though the most granular level matches the commodity, its parent hierarchy is nowhere in sync with it.

(2) Inaccurate spend classification resulting in that commodity falling into the bucket of irrelevant category manager at the client's end.
The problems with standard taxonomy implementations are further aggravated when the sponsors are consulted for taxonomy finalization, but then it's the buyers and category managers are made to provide feedback on wrong classification of their commodities. Because when the sourcing hierarchy if in not sync with the Taxonomy level hierarchy, the saving strategies born out of an accurate spend analysis are often inaccurate.

Talking about the most widely used standard taxonomy for reference is the UNSPSC. With 19 versions since its inception it currently contains 50K+ categories distributed across its 4 level hierarchy. Any firm requiring so many categories is next to impossible. Then why have so many categories to confuse the Analyst working on data or even the AI, which will not be able to differentiate what is actually procured by understanding the 'grammar' of the said category in the Invoice/ PO description.

No wonder applying a standard taxonomy reduces expenses of the Consulting firm (which then are able to offer its services at cheaper rates) and efforts by not having to painfully map the necessary commodities of the client using their sourcing hierarchy to the commodities procured from the data, helping the quicker implementation of the project.

However if long term partnership is desired along with more-than-theoretical saving for the client, the consulting firms need to move on from standard taxonomies.

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