Outsourcing Excellence Award – Service Provider Excellence Award: Best IT Enablement of BPO: Wipro
“The accounts payable process required a renewed focus to improve the process maturity. We needed to increase working capital optimization, clear invoice backlogs and reduce exceptions and overall cycle time. This requires a suite of tools specifically designed to achieve these objectives. Wipro’s Base)))TM is helping address these needs.”
“The beautiful thing about BPO is it helps you spot huge gaps in how companies use their IT systems.” – Nithya Ramkumar, chief technology officer, Wipro BPO
Awards criteria: Here the service provider’s proprietary solutions and platforms must:
- Make clients more competitive in their marketplaces
- Enable short and long term benefits
- Allow customization rather than employ a one-size-fits-all approach
- Provide end-to-end process visibility
The service provider itself had to:
- Create synergy through its ITO and BPO expertise
- Produce continuous improvement
- Use a value-added approach
In the old days (three years back) BPO buyers had specific concerns. They needed cost benefits. They wanted data-driven analytics to power their business decisions. They demanded more efficient processes to increase productivity.
Today, however, those requirements are just table stakes, according to Nithya Ramkumar, chief technology officer, Wipro BPO. The customer wish list has expanded. “Conversations are now not stuck around cost arbitrage. Today they have graduated to negotiations on business outcomes. Clients ask, ‘How else can you help us?” she reports.
The Wipro CTO lists some of the new must haves:
- Maximized returns from technology investments
- Minimal change management
- Outcome-based business models
- Intuitive business analytics
And they want these with no IT or ERP changes.
“Achieving these results requires a lot of transformation. Process change alone can’t achieve these results. You need technology, too,” she adds.
In 2007 Wipro BPO developed Base)))TM, a technology-enabled process layer that sits above its clients’ IT systems. “We realized we had to protect our customers’ technology investments,” she says. “With Base)))TM there are no disruptive changes to their existing technology landscape.”
Wipro designed Base)))TM to do five things:
- Enhance process effectiveness
- Improve governance and control
- Increase both process and people efficiency
- Reduce risk
- Protect technology investments
Nithya explains Base)))TM augments customers’ core systems with its analysis engine. It provides visibility into outsourced processes and has ability to suggest optimum rather than standard solutions. “Base)))TM is for customers who are keen to find solutions to specific business problems,” she continues.
Currently, 19 customers in eight countries have installed Base)))TM. There are now 2,200 users.
Wipro embedded best practices into Base)))TM. They include:
- Work allocation. The technology prioritizes work to solve specific business process challenges.
- Exception management. The technology includes both automation and manual intervention. “Sometimes there are tasks you just can’t automate,” she explains.
- Access to decision-making information. Base)))TMdoes this on three planes:
- Operational insights into day-to-day management
- Process insights to help uncover problems and create solutions to prevent their recurrence
- Business insights to monitor things like working capital or customer satisfaction
How Insights enables BPO
Insights is step two in Wipro’s technology-enablement vision. Here is an Insights case study.
A manufacturer had hundreds of vendors. The vast majority of those vendors were happy with the customer service they received. But five vendors in three departments were unhappy and vocal about their unhappiness.
The manufacturer discovered these five vendors were having trouble with the automated invoice system. The Insights analysis suggested more personalized education to make their users more comfortable with the system. The technology also marked any invoice from them as urgent, so the manufacturer would be sure to give them extra attention.
The extra hand-holding did the trick. Within months, the customer satisfaction level of these five vendors improved. “Insights gave them a better understanding of their performance and helped them fix the problem,” says Nithya.
Wipro’s continuous IT-enablement of BPO includes two new offerings which will be available in January.
The firs program is called Accord, a reconciliation offering. Accord automates reconciliations to the extent possible; automation “can drastically improve the efficiency of finance and operations functions by reducing time and mistakes,” says the CTO. Accord also makes the auditor’s job easier. “Accord follows the technology-augmentation philosophy of Wipro BPO,” the CTO explains.
The second program is a transition management offering. The Wipro framework aims to reduce transition time by up to 40 percent.
Nithya says Base)))TM and these new technology tools “provide quick wins for our BPO clients.” That’s exactly how IT enables BPO.