In the first part of this blog, TechnoVision and the Business Suite 7 , we introduced a model that allows us to identify those elements of a corporate IT infrastructure, that has to do with flexibility and agility outside of the specific primary processes. Capgemini’s TechnoVision provides a view on the Front Office and the Back Offices, united with a flexible layer of standard services. The model identifies three major areas where services make the life of corporate IT more simple. The purpose is to find effective IT strategies, also those that will point into the direction, how to respond to the current challenges in a downturn.
TechnoVision is Capgemini’s strategic framework helps the CIO respond to fundamental changes in the economic climate and addresses the demands and expectations. With it, Capgemini aims to help to answer important questions. It is a way to map the world of technology capabilities and to determine which technologies are related to the needs of a particular business or industry. This provides clarity in order that business and technology executives can focus their efforts on solving the current ‘crisis’.
In this blog, we will dive deeper into the ‘secret’ of how the Business Suite 7, in our opinion, might make a good fundament for a strategy right now. The challenge we have is that in our current economic environment, enterprises look to the capabilities to adapt to the changes on the market – without the need to start expensive and time-consuming IT projects. Flexibility must therefore be part of the infrastructure – in the Front Office, and in the Back office. By leveraging the services frameworks that are part of the business platform, the CIO does get the capability to be flexible. In this blog we dive into how the services of the Front Office and the Back Office can be united: by a standards ‘layer’.
The Open Standards
We have seen that on both Front Office side and the Back Office side of an enterprise, we have services. We must be lucky. Isn’t this then a services architecture?
No, not quite. There is an extra ingredient that is needed for a services architecture to exist. Services that are dormant and can’t be woken up are useless. Services that cannot be tailored to the purpose and are not fit for use, likewise do little more than absorb costs. The services, to be interconnected, need an integration fabric. They have to be interconnected.
Luckily we don’t have to invent the wheel every time. By basing our implementation on services, and creating these services based on standards, we can create an open infrastructure where it is possible to bolt on native business platform functions as well as integrate to third party facilities or legacy applications.
Standards are the ‘glue’ between the ultimate flexibility of the Front Office and the robustness of the Back Office, and change processes and procedures and connect these changed processes to the existing provisioning of transactions in the backbone systems.
Standards identify the way that components can be linked, and form two-way patterns of doing business.
Services are the embodiment of these standards and are an integral part of the Business Process Platform. A ‘stock’ of ready to-be-deployed services can be accessed through this conceptual layer of standards. These services are nascent in the platform: the Business Suite.
Tooling for integration and modeling plus immediate deployment keep the pace in development and keep the cost of changes down: remember our two-pronged strategy we started off with is focused on a) either innovating our approach to the market or b) devising smart ways to reduce costs. These tools provide Standards-services (make the standards easy to manage).
The Standards Layer contains the essential glue for a services architecture: tools to manage the behavior of the services, and ensure they collaborate effectively, in no time at all.
‘Just a second’, you must be thinking, ‘is this guy telling me that there should be emphasis on secondary functions and not on my primary business functions? Am I spending my money the wrong way?’
In a certain way, yes!
This needs some elaboration. Starting this blog, we saw that the changed environment calls for a changed approach to IT. Instead of enabling connections to new markets (the classical differentiation), the requirement now might be to downsize certain channel activities while moving emphasis – and changing business models, for instance with more collaboration engrained in the fabric in a collaboration that would reduce the financial risk for all parties for instance. Just thinking primary processes is insufficient, change must incorporate the whole backdrop of the interconnectedness to the platform.
Well, if you’ve got ECC up and running, implement Business Suite 7, so you can have a more fine-grained approach to change – and pinpoint your investments.
Enablement – now a services structure
For years we have talked about IT enabling strategy changes. Well – I think that here it is. The Business Suite 7 will allow quick changes to business, because the inherent services all fit together. Changes and renewals are quick to plan, configure and implement. Of course there is room for improvement, true. But there now is a fundamental option.
If you just reflect a moment, you will see that we are talking about ways and methods to perform our work: enabling a client-centered way of working and allowing an intimacy.
I hope to have given some background of my conviction, that the adoption of Business Suite 7 will help to enhance the core competence of lean and mean change.
If we would expand on the services that underlie the business capabilities of the TechnoVision, then it is clear that in some way a modern business platform is a perhaps a ‘conditio sine qua non’ for enterprise to maintain their position amongst the leaders in their industry – either on the rise or when the roller-coaster goes down. The key capability in both cases is having a thorough GRASP on the state of the enterprise and of being able to execute change FAST. The only “intelligent choice” a CIO can make, is to adopt a smart and integrated platform with an inherent wealth of services.
Changing the game
In the start we said: In a downturn, leaders win: so what is their secret? The secret is simply: they change the rules of the game. They change their business models to adapt to the environmental changes.
The way to grasp this is by looking at the inherent nature of this new services world of Business Suite 7. There are several sides we can emphasize:
1) The Business Suite can be implemented piecemeal. The Suite can coexist. This means that you can select where to focus your activities. Using a strategy framework like TechnoVision will help to pinpoint the areas of interest. Use of an architecture models with a services concept at its core is of course a starting point to roll out the strategy.
2) Business Models shifts can now be implemented swiftly. In our mention of the Transportation Management solution, we see the new implementation can be tailored in a ’boutique fashion’ way.
As Pino Melis of Capgemini’s Transportation Management group told me,
“SAP’s new TM solution is a major step forward in transportation management and comes at a time when companies are faced with a number of challenges – in strategy, but also in financial outlook.
The new TM solution has special features to achieve higher frieght efficiency, and just 2% improvement, for some logistics companies, would mean the cost of the implementation is recovered quickly!
We can now offer a state-of-the-art transportation management solution based on SAP, with partly preconfigured scenarios that accelerate implementation time and reduce implementation costs.
This could mean the complete implementation of SAP TM within three months – with state-of-the-art capabilities that provide you with the unique capabilities to differentiate, to comply to standards, to address new markets – all al a lower cost.
In this way we can even implement scenario’s like a Transport Management Service Provider (as pointed out by Business Suite 7.0; Managing your transportation network (TM)). It is only through the hidden assets of TM in the services layer that we can offer solutions on this scale.”
3) Tailor-made never was so easy. You can think of way Puneet Suppal mentions this new development style in his blog Café Innovation – SAP Business Suite 7 as a key aspect of your innovation story: you must leverage the new process modeling features to enable flexibility in key differentiating processes.
Changing the positioning on the market, the channels, the collaboration patterns, I now a core capability of survivors. And of predators (who prey on markets and customers). The Business Technology must have all the capabilities in place to be able to do just that. In such times as this, a CIO cannot affort time-consuming long projects. Swift action is needed.
To conclude, making a shift move to adopt the Business Suite 7, is an intelligent move. As long as you embed that with a strategic vision how to use it and where to pinpoint developments (using approaches like TechnoVision and Rapid Innovation sessions) and a sound architecture framework like ArchitectedSAP. And by leveraging industry knowhow of the new style of ’boutique consulting’.
In our next blog we will show some client discussions on this subject of using new approaches to implement the Business Suite 7 to leverage the capabilities, enable new business models that are inherently leaner on the resources (drive cost cuts) while allow expansion (by having the capability to enter new relationships). We will hear from Pino Melis, having a chat with his client. We will understand the winning strategy of leaders, also in a downturn: it is collaboration.
Albert Kuiper Capgemini The Netherlands