Business-centric collaboration is absent in today’s enterprise applications. Here is why.

December 3, 2016

Yes. Collaboration exist in today’s enterprises. In fact, the very purpose of these tools Yammer, Jive, Skype, etc. is to offer collaboration in enterprises. Then what is missing? Why, the enterprises still struggle to make informed decisions? Why there is huge process TAT? Why there are multiple back-and-forth among several departments and other stakeholders? Why the enterprise applications are still stuck in the past?

The collaboration being offered by such tools doesn’t happen within business centric workflows. The collaboration is not within the context of the business processes; it doesn’t happen within the purview of business applications. In fact, Yammer, Jive, Skype, etc. are separate applications that work in silos without affecting the enterprise’s business applications or their work-flows.

For example: If a State Enrollment analyst wants to get an expert opinion about a particular Provider, he has to approach his co-worker outside of the business application; maybe by visiting their desk or by sharing the Provider’s information over skype. This means, the analyst has to explain the entire context (or share the entire application), from the provider’s background and history of transactions to analyst specific query and expectations, to his co-worker in order to get his opinion. Since, on an average the analyst receives tens of applications to review, this definitely is a herculean task. Also, sharing the entire application form raises the risk of information leakage.

Have limitations…

In short, even after the advent of such collaboration tools, the enterprise workers still cannot share a portion of his work or a Provider application in a secured way to his co-worker or to a third party; cannot initiate a chat sequence at field level or at portion of the application form that automatically explains the context to the co-worker; And we never realize how much of confidential information is being passed on to the outsiders and other departments with or without our knowledge. This isn’t advisable in an enterprise context.

And doesn’t solve the purpose for enterprise workers…

As mentioned earlier, the purpose behind sharing such confidential documents and applicant details is to get their perspective, to gain expert opinion or further insight. But, with the existing collaborative applications, the stakeholder findings can’t be appended over to the shared forms. What they can do is come back, open their skype and record their finding. This is easier said than done. And, this gives rise to a lot of manual works too in terms of page tracking, recording all stakeholder views, comparing and contrasting with respect to findings, etc. In enterprises, intelligent collaboration within the business applications is totally absent.

The RCAD paradigm

  • Research (R ) It all begins with research. After understanding the problem / case scenario, business users do an extensive research to relate this problem with history of recurrences, other industry examples, root causes, etc.
  • Consult (C ) And then, enterprises invite experts (in-house or external) to share their perspective about the case being evaluated. Consulting co-workers and connecting with third party paves way for verification, supportive information through external databases, external departments, etc. to gain information about the case under evaluation.
  • Assess (A) Assessment is an important phase where the pros and cons about the case / problem are put in place and the business users make an attempt to build perspectives and form constructive opinions based on their research and information collated.
  • Decide (D) Based on their logical consensus and supporting factual information, the enterprise makes a decision on the case.

Now lets see how this RCAD process works in today’s enterprise.

Research – this phase is mostly manual. The analysts have to refer to documents, external databases, other departments, etc. without any means to intelligently collate those information. Also, since it is manual, it is also error prone. Mostly with pen and papers, the analyst struggles to collate their findings. It becomes difficult for the analysts to get a comprehensive picture about their own research. They find it difficult to put things in perspective.

Consult – Here, the analysts or the business user physically visits the consultants. The consultant can be a co-worker or a third party. In case of third party, while sharing the information about the case / applicant, the analyst does so by sharing the entire physical copy of the file with the third party. This leads to information leakage. But, the business user doesn’t have an option. And the third-party / co-worker findings cannot be directly appended to the physical form / PDF. So, they have to share their findings outside of the business applications. Maybe through email or by physically writing their findings.

Assess – Today, the existing BI systems are not very intelligent to suggest the next best possible course of action on the given case – that is being evaluated. For example, if an applicant’s license is about to expire in next 60 days, the business application doesn’t carry the intelligence to proactively suggest this to the business user. Instead, the user has to find thatout himself by manually checking the applicant records.

Decide – Really, with what we had discussed so far, do you think the business users are making decisions on the fly? They struggle to get a clear picture. They see a lot of unresolved grey areas about the case.

The reality: Today’s enterprises

Enterprises are facing increased cost due to huge manual work. Various errors get introduced in the process due to such manual efforts. The business users don’t get a complete picture on one hand and take lots of time to put things in perspective about the case on the other. Even after doing all these, there is no guarantee that their assessment about the case is right. And their existing enterprise system doesn’t carry the capability to add intelligence to the entire process. These are real complex processes that require a lot of manual back-and-forth between the business users, the applicants, third party and several different stakeholders. It comes as no surprise that complex business processes take a lot of time. The TAT is huge. And the assessments are poor.

End of day, the reality is that the enterprises are stuck in the past. The enterprise users struggle to make critical decisions. All these due to non-existence of social collaboration within the business applications that they use.

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