Infosys experts share their views on how digital is significantly impacting enterprises and consumers by redefining experiences, simplifying processes and pushing collaborative innovation to new levels

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August 30, 2016

Next-gen enterprise content management (ECM), the digital backbone of the enterprise


Enterprise content management (ECM) today has come a long way where I feel we are in the stage of "reinventing ECM"  for today's digital world, I call it "Next-gen ECM".  New ways of digital working, content explosion across enterprise, new digital channels, content mobilization, content on cloud and multi organization eco system with even more regulatory pressures are all driving todays ECM.

ECM industry acquisition and consolidation is also driving customers who already have ECM in place to consolidate their ECM land scape and look for opportunities to move their content on cloud with migration/up gradation on their list.  Interestingly few big organization including some big banks, local government and industrial organizations I have interacted with have investment in couple of products or versions of products and are on lookout for strategic direction of managing their content across organization to align with their digital strategy.

According to a marketsandmarkets report the ECM market size is expected to grow from USD 28.10 Billion in 2016 to USD 66.27 Billion by 2021. North America is expected to hold the largest market share and dominate the ECM market in 2016, as this region is extremely responsive towards adoption of the latest technological advancements. From 2016 to 2021, APAC is estimated to grow at the highest rate during this forecast period and is becoming a new hotspot for ECM vendors as a revenue generating region. Furthermore, Europe is expected to be another revenue generating market, with solution market as the leading revenue generating segment as per this report.

I feel well defined Next-gen ECM strategies aligned with organization process management, customer experience and communication (CXC) strategies integrated with core applications will be key to enable "Future Digital Shared Services" and "Outsourcing " of key LOB process in industries like BFSI, telecom, health care, retail, education and across organizations horizontal process in the area of finance and accounting (accounts payable, accounts receivable, invoice processing etc.), human resources, procurement and supply chain among others.

ECM journey so far

From innovation in 1990's with client server commuting and file-based systems to store and manage content to industry consolidation in early 2000's with the acquisitions by IBM, OpenText, EMC and HP, ECM today has come a long way. Today I feel we are in  the 'reinventing ECM' stage. I call it the 'Next-gen ECM' where ECM is without borders, helping manage new digital content sources, process and media types, mobilize content, and bring in intelligence as differentiator.

Changing customer concerns

With digital disruption across industry, new ways of working, content mobilization, cloud technologies and with complex regulatory pressures customer concerns have also changed. I feel these changed customer concerns are also driving Next-gen ECM :

CIO -How do I manage silos of Information? How do I enable secure information sharing in multi geography eco system? How do I align my content and information management strategy with organization digital strategy?

CCO/CRO - How do I reduce risk and ensure compliance with increasing volume of complexities of regulations?

CTO -How do I reduce cost of managing infrastructure of the content volumes spread across geography? How do I ensure consolidation and centralization in managing content management technology stack?

CMO -How do I enable customer to get access the right content at right time? How can act real time on when I hear customer?

LOB executives - How can I improve business process which are slow, costly and error prone? How do I promote collaboration? How do I reduce operational cost? How do I run my content centric process more efficiently which are distributed across locations?

ECM today is the backbone to enable the digital strategy of an enterprise

Next-gen ECM solutions are essential to enable the digital strategy of an enterprise through the management of content lifecycle, from creation, mobilization to disposition of their transactional, business and social content across channels. Forrester for the first time in its Forrester wave report for ECM has defined two categories of vendors by their strengths in serving business content and transactional content use cases.  Not far when we will see other analyst going this path and very soon new we will see new category across social content management suits. I will see Next-gen ECM solution with capabilities to manage business, transactional and social content with mobile and cloud capabilities.

Mobile, social and cloud are more and more becoming core offerings and capabilities  of today's ECM along with  traditional imaging, document management, workflow management, records management, collaboration, archiving, document output & customer communication management (DOCCM). ECM today has to complement web content management (WCM), digital asset management and business process management to enable organizations achieve end to end digital transformation.

Managing content is critical to every business !

With multi organization eco system and even more regulatory pressures managing and mobilizing business and transitional content is becoming more and more critical to every business. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 20% of enterprise content management solution sales will address multiorganization "ecosystem" content.

Today's ECM solutions will become necessity for such multi organizations to manage content centric process. Some of the content centric process use cases across industry for today's ECM are:

Banking and Finance - Account opening, wealth management, mortgage & lending, trade finance processes, complaints, frauds, audit and compliance and many more across LOB.

Insurance -New business, claims and policy servicing

Government - Benefits and correspondence management, social and victim services, permits and license, FOIA requests, grants management and court case management among others.

Industrial - Standard operating procedures, engineering drawing revision and release and quality certificates management.

Telecom - Billing and statements, contact center / single view, manage voice of customers, CDR records, network contracts

Health Care- Payer appeals and grievance, provider management, care plans, medical claims, doctor notes, electronic health record, critical pathways, among others.

Retail - Supplier and vendor management, contract management, product & catalogue management, employee management, invoice processing

Education- Admissions processing and review, financial aid processing and review, registrar forms processing, student advising, student on boarding, faculty on boarding, curriculum review, tenure and promotion review among others

Industry Horizontal Process- Finance and accounting (accounts payable, accounts receivables, invoice processing, credit management etc.) human resources, procurement and supply chain among others.


New ways of digital working, content explosion across enterprise, new digital channels, content mobilization, content on cloud and multi organization eco system with even more regulatory pressures are all calling out for Next- gen intelligent ECM solutions to enable  " Future Digital Shared Services" and "Outsourcing" across industry and processes.  Apart of this ECM industry acquisition and consolidation are driving customers who already have ECM in place to consolidate their ECM land scape and look for opportunities to move their content on cloud with migration/up gradation on their list.


August 29, 2016

A perspective from Business and IT on Process Modelling and Execution - BPMN and BPEL

Process Modelling in the business domain varies considerably from modelling in the IT domain. The concept of describing a process in terms of the business objectives is perhaps the primary difference between the two domains. In the IT domain the importance of executable rules takes precedence over the possibilities, interactions and interpretations offered by some of the modelling principles. In the business domain, Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) is a well-known standard, used as a graphical notation that defines the steps in a business process.
BPMN is widely accepted as providing the standard set of diagramming conventions for describing business processes and more recently as a basis for actual execution by some BPM execution engines.

BPMN is a core enabler of BPM and an important tool that empowers business users to design and implement real solutions on a BPMS. The primary goal of BPMN is to provide a business process modelling notation that is understandable by all business users, Business Analyst, System Analyst, Technical Developers and Business managers. For a quick explanatory guide on the elements of BPMN refer to the Object Management Group website at

A common use of BPMN is to enable the business oriented visualisation of XML languages (such as BPEL, Business Process Execution Language) designed for the execution of business processes.  BPMN takes a process-oriented approach to process modelling, that is more conducive to the way business analysts model. BPMN is intended to supply sufficient information to allow it to be the source definition of an executable process. 

Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is an XML-based system to system business process orchestration language that uses web services. The key objective of BPEL is to standardise the format of business process flow definition so that processes involving multiple technology solutions and interfaces can be orchestrated together to deliver business solutions.

In my view BPMN and BPEL are not competing technologies or modelling notations and in most organisations co-exist to enable the definition and execution of processes from both a business and technology perspective. The use of BPEL has been fruitful for a number of years in IT, particularly in relation to service orchestration and the development of SOA and SOI.

Therefore BPEL is more commonly used in the IT domain where the focus is process execution and tends to be more concerned with interaction between existing IT systems, data transformation and messaging. BPMN is almost exclusively used in the business domain to describe business processes in as much detail as possible to allow definition of human interactions, events, triggers, business rules, content, metadata, actors, roles and hand-off points.

Understanding Organisation Process Maturity - Does it matter when selecting BPMS.

In the last writing I mentioned about BPM usage and deployment patterns and its importance of understanding when selecting BPMS. Another area I feel at times get neglected is the understanding on the maturity level of organisation's process as it will decide on the suitability of a particular usage and deployment pattern for BPMS.

The effort spent in capturing process requirement , modelling in into the tool, time to build and cost to support a particular BPM solution type is usually related with the understanding of the organization's key processes. The capability of the BPMS team to translate this understanding into a robust solution is hence very important when selecting BPMS.  I feel it is important to have process champion for each LOB who works very closely with BPMS selection team when selecting the BPMS.

Having deep understanding of the processes will make it easier to see the opportunities for improvement before developing the improved process. The trend otherwise, as I have seen at some BPM programs is to model the process with high degree of detail without having realistic information on what is actually happening in as-is processes, how much these processes cost, process areas of improvement, KPI and where there are real bottlenecks for the need of BPM automation. 

Gathering KPI's and effectiveness of a process is often a good first step taken before selecting BPMS where the organisation's maturity is low and the case for large scale transformational BPMS implementation cannot be easily justified on numbers.

A step before selecting BPMS in this digital world

We have heard and read a lot on Business process management software (BPMS) selection; for me one of the basic inputs in today's digital word is to align the product selection with organisation digital strategy as first step before understanding organisation BPM usage scenarios, BPM deployment patterns and their mapping to the business objectives. BPM implementation may not achieve the success if the proper due diligence is not done around this when selecting BPMS.

There are four origins for BPMS vendor that typically drive the functionalities of BPM software. These are:

1. Human Centric - processing of tasks that require human interaction to create, edit, approve, route, refer and decline tasks.
2.Integration Centric - system centric processing to automate tasks requiring process data from multiple systems and applications.
3.Content/Document Centric - document centric workflow processing, including scanning, imaging, viewing and records management.
4.Rule Centric- business rules based processing to route and automate work and tasks. 

Most top BPMS vendors have "out of the box" capability for all the above four scenarios, but some will have a specific inheritance and therefore will tend to specialise more in one of these areas. And then there are different patterns to BPM deployments that will match specific business outcomes that organization is aiming to achieve. 
Some of the BPM deployments patterns can be:
·         Simple human task automation
·         AD-Hoc workflow
·         Measure and control
·         Swivel chair operations
·         Image based processing
·         Case management
·         Process orchestration
·         Process choreography
·         SOA integrated process management

BPMS deliver the ability to make business vision a reality but the way in which BPMS is implemented is a key determinant in whether BPM is ultimately successful. It is therefore important that these BPM usage scenarios and BPM deployment patterns are understood with its complexity, applicability and then aligned with business objectives when selecting BPMS, as different patterns will achieve different objectives....