The challenges of being a premium service supplier for complex products
Swisscom is Switzerland’s leading communications service provider supplying from single customers up to large corporations with IT, connectivity, and telecommunication products. Their complex product portfolio allows them to serve their customers with tailored solutions and products along with premium customer service.
To satisfy these requirements and due to Swisscom being a large and long-established company, their operations involve complex processes that revolve around a diversified system landscape. Consequently, maintaining operations and establishing efficiency while at the same time delivering their products and services to their customers with consistent quality is challenging.
From decision-driven to data-driven operations
Facing this challenge and with innovation being part of their very core, Swisscom envisioned a solution that would not only completely change the way they work but would also allow them to provide even better customer service and products as they do today.
The solution relies on 3 pillars for achieving their ambitious goal:
- Modularize their processes down to atomic entities
- Identify the triggers for all modules based on the system states provided by the data available
- Reconstruct business processes as chains of triggers and modules
In order to realize the concept, Swisscom relied on the process automation framework Camunda and brought in our team to support them with our expertise on business processes, complex system landscapes, and the development of enterprise software.
As part of their SAFe team, we analyzed existing processes, collected business requirements, and provided the specifications for their implementation. Once they were developed and deployed, we took over and tested them with end-users from the business, ensuring acceptance and gathering feedback for further iterations following an agile approach.
A process automation engine as middleman between users and software systems
The process automation engine is forming a middle layer between the users and the software systems in the enterprise architecture. The users interact with only a single application while the engine then goes on to make all necessary interactions with other systems in the background.
This approach caters some significant advantages as it, from the user’s perspective, provides guidance and reduces interactions to a minimum, allowing less specialized roles to conduct many processes. In addition, having only a single application to interact with, it is easier for users to master the application and adapt to changes.
From an IT management perspective, it allows to maintain and evolve systems in the background without directly affecting the usage and hence business operations. Systems can also be introduced or phased out by only redirecting the traffic from the middle layer to the newly introduced system.
- Analyzed and identified As-Is business process and technical capabilities
- Specified To-Be processes and system interactions aligned with the project vision of modularity and data-driven triggers
- Handed over detailed specifications for implementation
- Tested the developed features with end users and handed over the test for automated testing
Complicated processes and interactions while providing products and services
Alignment between different teams through different communication channels and tools increase complexity
The delivery of complex products and services generally requires collaboration across different teams, each bringing in their core competencies, from sales to solution design to delivery. To further increase complexity, there are different communication tools in place and software systems to interact with.
This complexity and all the existing dependencies directly impact efficiency, causing parts of the process to consume up to hours to be conducted. However, exactly with such conditions in place, a central tool to govern all the interactions and dependencies can have a tremendous impact on overall efficiency.
The process automation engine and its integration in the system architecture
The process automation engine as middle layer between users and enterprise systems
The process automation engine is integrated in the system architecture as a middle layer that interacts with the user, and, based on the processes defined, governs the communication to the other enterprise systems in the background.
To the user, a single interface provides all the functionalities required, and hence, all change management-related issues that come with new software are simplified. At the same time, changes to the enterprise systems in the background can be made without having any noticeable impact on the users.
Urs Vonmont, Head Business Accelerators
4 hours to 15 minutes
Process time reduction from the customer signing a contract to achieving order readiness
Modular process that was developed can be applied to processes for different products
Software systems communicating with the process engine