Process Excellence: A transformational lever to extreme automation

What do a Canadian energy company, a Dutch coffee retailer and a British multinational consumer packaged goods (CPG) company have in common right now? All are transforming their procurement operations by leveraging state-of-the-art process mining and intelligent automation technology.

Why process excellence matters

A mid-size organization will spend the equivalent of several billion U.S. dollars annually in direct or indirect procurement. For this reason, it’s worth examining how efficient the sourcing process is, how to control maverick buying and reduce revenue leakage and how to create a standardized buying experience across the organization. Additionally, compliance requirements around sustainable procurement need to be addressed based on supplier’s sustainability posture around logistics and distribution. An efficient sustainable supply chain process with optimized CO2 footprint is an enterprise requirement as well as a societal need.

Process excellence in action

This discussion is inherently connected to the 21st century challenges and solutions related to process excellence. Process excellence is an intersectional play in the age of digital transformation. It requires a combination of capabilities around process optimization. The application of exponential technologies to digitally discover the process realities and technologically transform those processes for the best outcome. Along with defining and operationalizing the right level of governance across organizational layers for efficient value orchestration and continuous improvement. Let’s consider a few examples:

At a materials engineering corporation

An American materials engineering corporation, a global leader in the semiconductor industry, has been driving finance transformation through automation in partnership with IBM so the business can grow, even with a fixed finance headcount. With the success of initial automation deployment, the focus has shifted to optimization of adjacent business-critical processes, e.g. service order management, reverse value chain, and more, for cycle time reduction and quality improvement. A Process Mining exercise drawing data from enterprise SAP has helped measure KPI performance and define the transformation roadmap.

At a multinational financial services company

In another engagement, an American multinational financial services company leveraged IBM’s process excellence capabilities to investigate the internal journal transfer process that uncovered the potential for up to 50% reduction in rework rate and a 40% reduction in rejection rate.

Additional examples

European Oil & Gas company transforming Enterprise Asset Management

Multinational Bank transforming Fraud Operations process

Global Travel booking company optimizing Talent Acquisition process

Global Brewing company in value orchestration journey as part of S/4 Hana rollout

Japanese auto manufacturer transforming Procurement and Logistics processes

Leading US Reinsurance company transforming Claims, Payment and Policy Maintenance

Process excellence for enterprise transformation

While examples are endless, the common theme is enterprise transformation, the primary use case for the IBM Process Excellence offering. In a world that’s still recovering from the impact of a pandemic, facing economic uncertainties, geopolitical crises, and extreme climate change—all of which disrupt traditional value chains—the need for enterprise-scale transformation is a key imperative for global business. Shared Service Operations like Finance, Supply Chain, Procurement, HR, and Enterprise IT are the relevant horizontal domains to engage. At the same time, focused Industry processes with front-to-back office operations are also candidates for transformation prioritized by business owners (e.g., Lending, Customer Onboarding, Claims, Fraud Operations, etc.).

Process and Technology have never been so closely linked. Enterprise workflows are often distributed across the entire application landscape, managed by different departmental IT teams and process owners with siloed focus. With the advancement of Process Mining technology, it’s now possible to virtualize and visualize the end-to-end workflow, drawing execution data from the underlying systems of record (aka enterprise applications) and even augment that with the process operator’s local desktop-level task execution view, digitally captured through Task Mining.

This technology-driven process visualization is revolutionizing the way we look at processes. For the first time, we can see intricate and complex processes clearly in action, identifying where they operate effectively and where they can best be simplified, optimized and automated.

Learn more about IBM Process Excellence

The IBM Process Excellence practice leverages the leading process mining tools across the IBM ecosystem and partners. This includes the IBM Process Mining tool, part of the IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation platform, which is now powered by Process Application solutions from the IBM Consulting Process Excellence offering.

The IBM Process Excellence practice also leverages our partnership with Celonis and other client-mandated Process Mining technologies to drive consulting engagements for enterprise process transformation. With our patented Process Excellence KPI framework and Automation Quotient driven process prioritization mechanism, we are co-creating the transformation roadmap for our global clients. This is further accelerated through a suite of ready-to-use Process Excellence applications, and a Digital COE platform for lifecycle governance.

IBM Consulting provides a holistic process transformation solution for our enterprise clients, which top Analyst firms like IDC have noted.  

Read the IDC MarketScape on intelligence automation services

Learn more about other extreme automation solutions

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