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DEC
29
2015

Importance of Agile in 2016

Agile Development

 

As 2016 is just round the corner, enterprises are looking to gain velocity with best practices positioned to enable collaborative environments where diverse teams can continuously learn, improve, grow and produce. Agile software development and Agile 2016 initiatives are underway at many leading digital enterprises – the realization that your enterprise may be better with an agile methodology is now almost a reality.

Today’s massive enterprises are competing to become leading digital enterprises. They realize that approaching business development in an Agile manner allows the savvy enterprise to maneuver meeting and exceeding user demands.  The changes in software development cycles necessitate building a more customer-centric legacy.

In a report released in July 2015, the research firm Gartner not only strongly recommended adopting agile, but offered CIOs several principles they can follow and adopt to create agile environments.

Why? According to Gartner, agile development is seen as a way for CIOs adjust to a new way of doing business, and Gartner believes IT leaders and executives need to adopt this approach as quickly as possible. In fact, Gartner’s research finds there are 10 guiding principles that should motivate enterprises to go agile in 2016. Gartner identified:

 

Agile is not one thing.

Agile development methodologies are a set of approaches to software development that share a common philosophy but are sharply distinguished in the details of their implementations. They therefore tend to be adapted to different sorts of problems. Sophisticated organizations with a lot of experience may well use more than one of these approaches, but an organization that is getting started should select one approach and master it before attempting other approaches.

 

Agile is not a “pick’n mix” methodology.

 

Agile methods are highly systematic. Every component element of the methodology is crucial to the success of the methodology. A common mistake is for an organization to embrace some elements of an agile methodology, such as the sprint, but to ignore or play down other elements, such as managing “technical debt.” Such organizations enjoy the kudos that comes from rapid development and release of new code, but they are storing up trouble by failing to address technical debt.

 

Embracing agile is a joint business-IT activity.

 

The full benefits of agile cannot be achieved without engaging with business leaders, management and the user community. If the rest of the business does not have an immediate appetite for working in a new way, careful planning and communication will be needed to bring different communities of managers and users on board.

 

With agile, it is important to walk before you try running.

 

Experienced agile practitioners can tackle large-scale developments — the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. But it takes many years to develop the necessary skills to be able to take on such large-scale software projects. Any organization that is starting out on the agile journey needs to start in the foothills to develop the confidence and competence to take on larger tasks.

 

Embracing agile is embracing continuous learning.

 

Agile practitioners must be committed to continuous improvement in quality and cost-effectiveness, which means that every development is analyzed for lessons that can be used to improve policies and working practices. This analysis and learning are not the responsibility of a small number of senior practitioners; they are fundamental components of the workload of all agile practitioners. Furthermore, the learning is not just appropriate to the programmers who are directly involved in software development; it is also essential for all the related skills, such as project management, architecture, quality assurance and IT budget management.

 

Agile is about teams and teams of teams.

 

The basic organizational unit of delivery in agile development is a small team, typically expressed as “seven, plus or minus two” people — both developers and quality assurance. From an HR perspective, managing agile teams involves walking a fine line between keeping productive teams together and moving individuals between teams to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas. If people are moved too frequently, the teams fail to develop into highly productive units; if people are not moved between teams enough, then each team starts to become isolated and diverges from the other teams. It is important to note that physical location of teams is much more important with agile methods than with conventional approaches to development.

 

Documenting, managing and eliminating technical debt is a core concept of all agile methods.

 

Technical debt is the difference between the state of a piece of software today and the state that it needs to be in to meet appropriate and necessary requirements for quality attributes such as reliability, performance efficiency, portability, usability, maintainability and security. All development creates technical debt. The difference with agile methods is that technical debt is recognized and added to the backlog, not swept under the carpet. Any organization that seeks to embrace agile methods must put in place the necessary elements of the chosen method dedicated to ruthless refactoring and the elimination of technical debt.

 

Working with third-party development service providers on agile development demands special care and attention.

 

Many user IT organizations have a long history of outsourcing application development to specialist service providers. While there is a role for service providers in agile development, it is a very different commercial model and a very different engagement model. Since co-location with business users is axiomatic to agile methods, the opportunities for sending large amounts of work offshore are somewhat limited, so some form of supplemental staffing is likely to be a more useful model.

 

The impact of agile goes well beyond the software development teams.

 

An integral component of the agile methodologies is the concept of “continuous delivery.” Agile methodologies are predicated on continuous engagement with business managers and users, and lead to the delivery of a continuous stream of new and modified software into the operational environment. This demands significant changes in working practices for both business governance and relationship management and the infrastructure and operations teams.

 

Other software development methodologies will still have a place in your portfolio.

 

In most commercial and public sector organizations, the application portfolio will present many different classes of development problems, some of which will be well-suited to agile, while some may be better-suited to incremental, iterative development and some to a modified waterfall model. Agile is not “better”; it is simply better-adapted to some problems, but not so well-adapted to others.

 

The Agile Landscape

As more enterprises are looking to deploy cloud-based services in order to enhance their IT experience, the prospect of going agile is growing increasingly valuable. While reinventing an organization for success in an agile landscape may seem initially daunting, the benefits of adopting agile can be meteoric for organizations looking to increase productivity, elevate software quality and experience the joy of happy customers.

 

JAN
15
2013

TamGroup and e5 Announce Partnership

TamGroup will transform existing line-of-business systems with e5, optimizing SLA achievement, work volume, and resource productivity.

San Francisco, CA – January 15, 2013 – e5 Workflow, a prominent work management platform developer and TamGroup, a leading provider of digital solutions, today announce a partnership to deliver business process management solutions that will transform and streamline existing line-of-business systems and operations.

Under this partnership, TamGroup plans to use the e5 workflow platform to modernize their clients’ existing line-of-business systems to:

  • Optimize and automate existing back-office manual business processes, either on-premise or in the cloud. Existing e5 clients have realized up to a 50% improvement in the ‘people process’ in business areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing, underwriting, pensions and logistics management.
  • Develop improved business analytics and deliver real-time dashboards to track and optimize service level agreement achievement, quality assurance, work volume, and resource productivity.
  • Integrate disparate systems within a single, unified portal to manage application security and access.
  • Provide remote control of branch, home, and outsourced workers to ensure that ongoing service levels, quality standards and productivity is maintained – all of which help reduce transaction cost.
  • Provide mobility to allow executives and case workers real-time access to facets of their work and help clients differentiate and improve services to their customers.

“Organizations in the healthcare, insurance, energy, utility, telecommunications, and government sectors are looking to transform, modernize and extend their existing transaction systems in lieu of replacing them,” comments Christian Franklin, TamGroup’s Managing Partner. “TamGroup works with many of these organizations and using e5 Workflow as our work management platform lets these organizations leverage their existing line-of-business, enterprise content management (ECM), and business process management (BPM) systems to achieve remarkable improvements in people productivity, cycle times, and quality.”

Tony Mudie, e5 Workflow President of North America Operations comments, “TamGroup immediately recognized the power of e5 and how it can add rich work management functionality to their client’s existing application investments. And because e5 is based on LEAN thinking principles, TamGroup can quickly develop, visualize, implement, and review so that their clients will see fast ROI.”

 

About e5 Workflow

e5 is a Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner and offers e5 Workflow – the leading Microsoft-based, enterprise scale, work management platform on the market. Based on LEAN thinking principles, e5 augments and transforms your organization’s current software investments to deliver a dashboard-driven, production work management solution. Incorporating intuitive processing mapping software, a business analyst can quickly automate and continually optimize the people process, eliminating on-going dependence on IT assistance.

Combined with Microsoft Windows® SQL Server™, e5’s integration with SharePoint and Windows Azure also leverages and extends your investment in Microsoft, allowing your organization to improve productivity and quality, reduce cycle time, and realize the best ROI and the lowest TCO of any other workflow/BPM solution. e5 is globally distributed and implemented by selected partners. Additional information on e5 Workflow is available at www.e5 workflow.com.

 

About TamGroup

TamGroup is a technology integrator that delivers solutions at that critical juncture of business and data. We serve clients across the United States in industries ranging from healthcare to utilities to retail. We harness our knowledge of transformation, analytics and mobility to provide solutions that drive innovation and deliver results.

Organizational evolution is inevitable and the line between business process and technology capabilities continues to fade. TamGroup helps our clients understand, select and implement tailored technology solutions that provide insights and address the needs of their changing business environment. Our dedicated teams work to ensure fluid delivery of services from problem identification through concept design, implementation and support.

Industry partnerships with IBM, Oracle and now e5 ensure our clients receive the most current and effective solutions for their business needs. For more information please visit www.tamgroup.com or visit our Connect page. 

OCT
25
2012

e5 Integration with SharePoint: What and Why?

Craig van Zeyl, e5 CEO

On October 19th, I interviewed Craig Van Zeyl, e5 CEO, to discuss e5’s integration with SharePoint and specifically what e5 Business Workflow delivers above and beyond SharePoint 2010 or 2013.

Therese: Good morning Craig, I’d like to focus this interview on the specific features and benefits that e5 delivers above and beyond what a business user gets with SharePoint 2010 workflow (or version 2013) alone. Let’s assume the audience for this interview is line-of-business executives / managers in areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing, loan origination – areas of the business that are controlled by the people process. Lets’ also assume that the reader has a basic understanding of SharePoint as well.

Therese: First, let’s talk about the content repository. What does e5 provide that SharePoint doesn’t?

 

Craig: SharePoint provides content repositories that can comfortably handle up to 5 million records per repository. What SharePoint can’t do, and e5 does, is manage multiple repositories in a way that the users view it as a single repository. This can be important in cases where, for example, the claim is stored in one repository but the prior claim history may be archived to a second repository. For larger systems, the repositories can be split allowing SharePoint to handle significant volumes of documents using the free repositories. Even more important, e5 allows you to mix SharePoint and 3rd party repositories within the same user experience. This allows you to preserve investments in existing legacy document management or image management technologies.

Therese: On that note, does e5 always require a SharePoint content repository?

Craig: No, e5 doesn’t have to have a SharePoint repository at all but can work with other 3rd party repositories such as IBM, FileNet, EMC, Alfresco, Appian to name a few. This way, the business gets the benefit of their current ECM /BPM system plus the benefits of building an e5 solution to handle complex, unstructured, dynamic work allocation, management and reporting.

Therese: Let’s talk about document images and document workflow? Compare how SharePoint handles the capture process versus e5.

Craig: As you know, Microsoft doesn’t offer a scanning solution with SharePoint so users need to integrate 3rd party scanning solutions. With e5, you get a framework that allows users to connect to any in-house or 3rd party scanning solution such as Kofax, EMC/Captiva, etc. The e5 viewer handles any document format, but has specific capabilities for handling TIFF and PDF and provides the standard image handling functionality such as zooming, fit to page, redaction, and so on.

Once these documents are captured in e5, they are attached to a work item and the work allocation logic handles prioritization, reporting, etc.

Therese: One of the things we hear from customers and prospects is the importance of a single portal – one unified business user view across multiple back-end solutions. Can you talk to how SharePoint and e5 handle that?

Craig: Let me briefly talk about what makes SharePoint a valuable portal. First, the SharePoint portal provides user security and access to a structure or framework so we can determine which parts of the final solution the business user is allowed to access, view and edit. Second, the SharePoint portal provides a development framework where you can use Lego-like building blocks – what SharePoint calls Web Parts – to assemble and configure the solution. SharePoint, out-of-the-box provides a perfect platform on which to build simple solutions. e5 provides more sophisticated functionality for finding, listing, displaying, managing priority processing and delivering dashboards, plus all of the workflow building blocks to leverage SharePoint as a foundation for complex applications such as medical claims processing, loan origination, medical billing, underwriting, pensions, and so on. This allows the business to rapidly create SharePoint pages, populate them with e5 Web Parts, and get a complete solution.

So to summarize, SharePoint Web Parts are designed to provide functionality for relatively simple applications that are easily created and broadly used. e5 provides additional sophisticated Web Parts to design and manage high volume, back-office work delivery while monitoring service level agreement timelines, performing priority processing, assigning and managing work allocation, managing multi-tiered cases and so on.

Therese: It sounds like you are big fan of SharePoint?

Craig: We, at e5, did a lot of research when building our product and it became very clear, very fast that building and exploiting the strength of SharePoint was the best architectural decision we could make. Why build a base-line content management and workflow platform when Microsoft provides one for free? I can’t speak more highly about SharePoint because it provides the unified portal page structure so that e5 users can add more customized Web Parts. It’s a fabulous place to build applications and the end user experience is simple and elegant. With e5, we chose to develop the right Web Parts to fulfill the needs of  a niche area which is the people process, back office, high volume, transaction processing. Our many customer successes prove both the worth of SharePoint and the added value of e5.

Therese: Can you elaborate on how e5 adds value to SharePoint Lists?

Craig: A SharePoint list is an easy way to define and manage a simple case. With e5, you get 3 pieces of additional functionality.

First, you get the specific functionality required to support high volume production workflow and back office processing such as managing assigned work, merging or cloning tasks, pending cases until a future date or activity, and so on.

Second, the e5 case structure allows the user to create a parent / child cascading work structure with inheritance. This provides the ability to run complex workflows in parallel without the workflow structure itself becoming too complex. A good example is in P&C insurance where a claim can spawn several sub-workflows for each of the quotations to be requested. The winning quotation can spawn a sub-workflow for the repair of the property. The people engaged in the sub-workflow can only see the limited information contained within their area while the case manager is viewing the entire case from the context of the parent workflow. The primary benefit with e5 is that each child work item can run its own independent workflow and can also operate in parallel, maximizing user productivity and minimizing service level agreement timelines.

Last, is that e5 manages all work items across all processor groups and makes every status immediately visible via the dashboards.

Therese: Let’s talk about what I think is one of the most important features of e5 – the dashboards. Can you elaborate on how e5 provides that functionality?

Craig: e5 provides out of-box graphical monitors and out-of-box reports allowing you to monitor three key areas.

The first area is the Service Level or Service Level Agreement (SLA) achievement. e5’s SLA Monitor shows the real-time pulse of the business so you know how well you are performing to agreed service levels. Service levels determine your customer’s experience. Setting the right level and consistently achieving the timeline provides metronome-like regularity that your customers can rely on.

Second, e5 tracks work volumes allow you to identify workload peaks and troughs so you can better manage resource requirements. Third, e5 tracks resource productivity – a visualization of key performance metrics which allows you, as a manager, to perform business process analysis and take the required actions to continuously improve productivity. e5 is designed to collect and recall every single action that is taken on a work item in minute detail so that we can calculate sophisticated activity-based costing about the process and productivity metrics. SharePoint doesn’t record this level of detail. This is another example of e5 functionality that is absolutely required in complex application areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing, etc.

Therese: Thanks Craig for your insights on this. I found it helpful in differentiating SharePoint from e5 and I am sure that business people reading this article will find it helpful as well.

OCT
19
2012

RML Realizes a 50% Productivity Improvement with e5.

Tempe, AZ – October 4, 2012 – Regional Medical Laboratory (RML) of Tulsa, OK implemented enChoice e5 Medical Billing Revenue Manager (MBRM) to improve the speed and quality of medical billing. Today, RML announces that the e5 MBRM system has improved productivity by 50% and service level agreement (SLA) timelines by 66%.

RML provides testing services for thousands of physicians and hospitals in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. Primary facilities are located on the St. John Medical Center campus in Tulsa, with several satellite locations in northeastern and central Oklahoma and southeast Kansas.

When implemented, RML had a 72-hour billing service level agreement (SLA), with the timeline starting from the time the physician saw the patient. Within the first six months following deployment of e5 MBRM, the SLA was brought down to 48 hours and now stands at 24 hours.

The 66% improvement in their SLA was directly attributed to RML’s ability to optimize work by measuring both volumes and time to process. When the enChoice e5 MBRM solution was first implemented, a billing representative processed 162 requisitions per eight-hour shift – approximately one requisition every three minutes. Today, a billing representative can process 243 requisitions per eight-hour shift – approximately one requisition every two minutes – a 50% productivity improvement.

RML partnered with enChoice to develop the solution built on the e5 Adaptive Case Management Platform and Microsoft SharePoint.  “enChoice e5 Medical Billing Revenue Manager was implemented in a matter of weeks and provided immediate metrics on department volumes and the daily output of each billing representative,” said Michael Marshall, Manager of Billing. “These metrics were used as an information baseline to re-engineer the process and optimize individual productivity.”

“Our key goal at enChoice is to deliver value to our customers by delivering quality products and solutions,” commented Tony White, enChoice CEO. “The most powerful endorsement of our success is when customers like RML confirm and quantify benefits like this.”

e5 MBRM does not replace an organization’s current billing solution but integrates with, and optimizes their current revenue cycle/financial management system(s) to incorporate case management and implement work allocation.

Michael Marshal speaks more about RML’s experience and the benefits achieved with e5 MBRM in an On-Demand Webinar. Click here to view.

About RML

Regional Medical Laboratory is a nationally-renowned commercial pathology laboratory that provides testing services for thousands of physicians and hospitals within a four-state region. They procure blood and urine samples from patients, evaluate tissue biopsies to determine whether a patient has cancer, perform blood tests to calculate cholesterol levels and rule out disease, perform autopsies to determine cause of death, complete drug and alcohol screenings and much more.  The highest standard of quality is maintained through a vigorous quality assurance program including certification by the College of American Pathologists, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and registration with the Food and Drug Administration.

Regional Medical Laboratory employs experienced technologists, pathologists and support staff who use the latest technology and make every effort to ensure that every test result is accurate. Regional Medical Laboratory performs more than seven million procedures each year. The primary facility is on the campus of St. John Medical Center but they have several satellite locations in Tulsa, Northeastern and Central Oklahoma and Southeast Kansas.

About enChoice

enChoice®, Inc. offers the most comprehensive range of enterprise content management (ECM) products, solutions and services available, from our own products solving business needs, system design and installation to deployment, hosting, and single-point-of-contact support. Leveraging our certified KwikWork, BizWiz, CYA SmartRecovery and CYA HOTBackup products, solutions are offered for a wide range of business needs including content management, business process management/case management, records management, data integrity, hot backup and recovery. enChoice solutions support ECM systems including EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet and Microsoft SharePoint. We serve thousands of repositories at more than 300 global organizations including Affinion, City of Mesa, Blood Systems, Advance Auto Parts, McGraw Hill, Anchor General, Gruenthal, Honeywell, RML and the U.S. Army. We are an EMC Certified Partner, IBM Premier Business Partner, Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, resulting in enChoice’s unrivaled ECM expertise. Additional information about enChoice can be found at http://www.enchoice.com.

About e5

e5, a leading production workflow solution designer and Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner, offers e5 Workflow, the leading Microsoft pure-play, enterprise scale, business workflow development tool on the market. Based on LEAN thinking principles, e5 delivers a dashboard-driven solution and incorporates intuitive process mapping software to enable your business analyst to quickly automate and continually optimize the people process. Combined with Microsoft Windows® SQL Server™, e5’s integration with SharePoint and Windows Azure leverages and extends your investment in Microsoft, allowing your organization to improve productivity and quality, reduce cycle time, and realize the best ROI and the lowest TCO of any other workflow/BPM solution. e5 is globally distributed and implemented by selected partners. Additional information on e5 Workflow is available at www.e5 workflow.com.

OCT
16
2012

All the Business Needs is a “Business Workflow Solution.”

When employees are collaborating to process documents and manage tasks – in departmental areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing and loan processing – the use of automated workflow becomes increasingly important.

Ten plus years ago, we called everything that managed a business workflow, ‘a workflow system.’ In the late 90’s, early 2000’s, the ‘workflow’ term was replaced by the ‘business process management or BPM’ term and today, BPM thought leaders and providers talk about ‘BPMS, dynamic case management, adaptive case management, advanced case management,’ and so on.

Does the business need to understand all these terms?

I wonder how the business keeps up with all of these terms. I wonder if the business cares or needs to keep up.

I am tempted to provide definitions here on all of these terms so the business user can better understand why one technology area versus the other is best, but there are plenty of provider sites, provider blogs, and analysts’ blogs that provide definitions and compare and contrast these technologies. Instead, I thought I’d talk about what I think the business user really wants and needs to know about – what I call the “How Can I” questions. For example, how can I:

  • Make my business people and the people process more productive
  • Better streamline my operations
  • Ensure consistency and quality in all things the business does
  • Minimize the cost of doing business
  • Add to the company’s revenue and the bottom line.

Frankly, any software provider that sells any kind of software solution will tell the business that their solution does ‘all that’. And they do, to some extent. For this reason, the business has to have some kind of technology term to use to identify what they are trying to accomplish. For example, a claims insurance system helps the business process claims. No insurance company can do business without one. But not every insurance system supports the flow of work and if it does, not necessarily to the extent the business may need.

In my opinion, the business only needs to say: “I need a business workflow solution,” and it’s the job of the software provider to convince you, the business, that they offer a business workflow solution that ensures you achieve optimum benefits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a BPM or ACM system. What matters is what it does for the individuals that are managing and accountable for the performance of the business.

So I suggest – let’s let IT and the technology people talk about BPM, ACM, etc. and going forward, I promise to do my best to keep my technology terms simple and talk about what I think the business needs to know to make the right decisions when buying and implementing a business workflow solution. What do you think?

SEP
21
2012

On-Demand Webinar: Improve Medical Billing

View this on-demand webinar to learn how Regional Medical Laboratory improved medical billing SLAs and department productivity by 50+%.


Michael Marshall, Billing Manager at RML, shares his experience and the benefits RML achieved by implementing enChoice e5 Adaptive Case Management (ACM) in support of Laboratory Medical Billing. In 45 minutes, you can learn how your organization can also:

  • Achieve up to a 66% improvement in SLA compliance
  • Measure, control and track requisition volumes to achieve up to a 50% productivity improvement
  • Reduce overall cost per test by 15%
  • Reduce DSO and improve revenue collections
  • Optimize staffing and training requirements

This on-demand webinar is co-sponsored by e5 Workflow and enChoice.

SEP
10
2012

BPM Cloud Requires a New Business Model to Add Optimum Business Value

I’m not saying that Cloud offers no value. Rather, I am saying that Cloud offers the technology and the opportunity to deliver far more customer value through an improved business model.

Traditional BPM Project Spend

When we set out to design e5 Workflow, we didn’t want ‘just another BPM solution’ bolted to’ just another ECM solution’ delivering the same lumpy project style. Our goal was to create an ECM/BPM framework that could be used in a far more agile fashion, to support both the initial project and ongoing improvements. It seems counter intuitive, but we started making the argument with our customers and prospects that the initial projects should be smaller, cost less, easier to deploy and be a ‘flatter’ investment. From our customers’ perspective, their experience has shown that after the initial BPM project is launched, nothing new happens for quite some time. If functionality is not included upfront, it won’t be available until the next distant upgrade.

We needed to dispel these fears to get a “foundation” project implemented and go live, visualize the metrics on ‘how many, how fast and how much’ it cost to flow the existing processes and then engage the customer in a constant improvement program (CIP). In effect, the project needed to look more like this:

 

e5 ACM Project Spend With CIP

 

This approach worked very well for the initial project and why wouldn’t it? We, as the vendor, are recommending that the customer spend less which minimizes risk, and since change is introduced over a period of time (versus the big bang approach), user acceptance and training are improved. Once the initial project is online, we are ready to engage in a never-ending quest for processing perfection.

We were wrong! Once the project was implemented, we effectively fixed the most burning issue. And while we had created a platform to chase constant improvement, our process owners typically turned their focus to the next biggest burning issue.

We then realized we needed a better way to engage our customers and keep them interested on an on-going basis. The answer: Cloud – which provided a catalyst to develop a new business model – one that ‘lands’ the platform at minimal cost and risk.

Most of our customers run very similar business processes. But their products, skills, and company cultures differ. We cannot take an out-of-box template, lay it over a product environment, and get the customer to adapt their business processes to suit the template. Even if there is only a 20% difference in process, there is still a significant amount of professional services effort required to build a 100% custom solution. With e5 workflow, our objective is to enable skilled business analysts to setup, configure, and extend the bulk of the solution. Coding is kept to a minimum and only done when absolutely necessary (e.g., integrating e5 with an in-house system). This means that coding provides flexibility and removes barriers, but it does not and will not form the basis of the solution delivery.

If the business analysts and developers are highly skilled in understanding the solution, we are confident enough –  assuming we pick our projects carefully and manage customer expectations well –  to deliver all of the services upfront at our cost and deliver the customer a pay-by-the-month Cloud solution.

So now the project expenditure graph for our customers looks like this:

e5 Cloud ACM Project Spend With CIP

 

Can we afford to engage this model on-premise? No. On-premise projects are owned by the customer and as a solution provider, we rarely have sufficient control to risk an amortized services cost. The Cloud however is different; the customer owns the outcome, the service, the daily use of the solution, but they do not own the’ build’ of the solution. Customers expect us, as a solution provider, to be the experts and to deliver the solution TO THEM. Customers will accept a far tighter “foundation” project as long as it delivers real value at a cost that makes sense. This allows the service provider to put every effort into making the project as tight and efficient as possible by managing scope, clearly focusing on customer value, using highly skilled solution resources and building re-usable components. Given that the solution provider can better manage the risk in these projects, the added risk of funding the project is not onerous.

With every customer where we have engaged in a Cloud CIP Program, they see regular and iterative improvements to their solution. The CIP program can be built into the monthly cost of the solution or, we can provide a stepped payment arrangement where brand new initiatives attract further services which lead to increased monthly payments. As long as the customer gets real value for each increased payment and the solution provider manages cost, risk and the quality of the solution, why shouldn’t this be the basis for a long term and rewarding partnership?

We have implemented Cloud CIP projects successfully several times now, and every project has resulted in a successful partnering arrangement between e5, as the software provider, and the customer. I firmly believe this is our future as solution providers. Our challenge is to arm ourselves with the appropriate tools to support this highly agile approach, engage forward thinking customers who desire a services outcome and most importantly, create trust so that our customers will partner with us for the ongoing improvement and value realization.

AUG
21
2012

Do Hard Benefits Really Matter? Duh!

Recently, I spent some time with an e5 implementation partner to work on a joint marketing campaign. As part of our discussions, we talked about e5 ‘diffentiators’. When we started to discuss e5 case studies, I heard an enthusiasm in my own voice that surprised me and, I noticed, got the attention of the rest of the team in the room as well. I thought this would be a good topic for my first blog post here.

I have worked in the enterprise content management (ECM)/business process management (BPM) space for over 20 years as a marketing professional. I’ve marketed to, visited with, and interviewed tens of dozens of customers who implemented business workflow systems. As a marketing person in particular, I am always looking for documented ROI’s on the implementations. If you are a marketing professional, you know how important the ‘benefits’ section is when writing a case study or success story. In my experience, I remember the many times I would write up a BPM implementation, only to find myself stretching for concrete, quantifiable metrics.

Yes, in my experience, a few organizations were able to track ROI. They had the foresight to document the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ scenarios – and when finally in full production, they could provide some quantifiable benefits. These benefits were usually realized 12-24 months down the road and this timeframe wouldn’t include the implementation time either, which could run 6 to 12 months in and of itself.

While getting familiar with e5, the first thing that struck me as different were the customer case studies that always included substantial, quantifiable benefits. One example – a health payer customer who implemented e5 to support medical claims processing and experienced an increase in SLA timeframes from 5% to 30% in 2 weeks, from 30% to 94% within 8 months and then to 98% within year 1! These results are impressive for 3 reasons:

  • Once implemented, e5 instantly provides metrics on the ‘as-is’ so you have the benchmark to start and compare.
  • Once you start to ‘tweak’ the process, e5 delivers immediate metrics so you can track improvements.
  • Immediate benefits were achieved FAST and are significant.

BPM ROI

When you couple fast payback with fast implementation – e5 can be implemented in a matter of days to weeks depending upon the complexity of the business process – e5 customers are achieving the best ROI when compared to other BPM/Adaptive Case Management (ACM) solutions on the market.

Read this case study about how a medical lab implemented e5 in medical billing, improving productivity by 50% and SLA timeframes by 66%. I wrote this case study – the first one I wrote on behalf of e5 that clearly demonstrated for me the power of e5’s business analysis tools.

Michael Marshall, Billing Manager, RML

I will always remember the interview with Michael Marshall, RML Billing Manager. For the first time in my experience, the ‘benefits’ section of the story was longer than the other sections. For the first time in my experience, I was documenting hard, concrete improvements with detail I rarely recalled when writing up other case studies. As I interviewed Mr. Marshall, I was amazed how much data he had, how enthusiastic he was. I couldn’t wait to publish the story.

It is not my intention with this blog post to ‘sell’ you on e5 but I encourage you to visit www.e5workflow.com and read for yourself. I also welcome any comments or examples of your experience implementing BPM or ACM solutions and the benefits/ROI you have achieved.