Keep your finger on the pulse during HR transformations to the cloud

As more of our clients explore the feasibility of migrating their legacy HR systems to the cloud, discussions typically focus on the benefits of HR-as-a-Service and what it takes from a technical standpoint to transform HR service delivery using a given SaaS platform.

When you’re considering this new way of doing business with your internal stakeholders, we recommend that you also give serious thought to the broader ramifications of change. As a leader in your organization, have you thought about questions like these? (We’ll bet that your staff will.)

  • How does our journey to the cloud affect the HR team?
  • What happens to my staff when we move to the cloud?
  • How will various roles on our HR staff change when we move from our legacy HR system to the cloud?
  • Does my staff have the skills required for the changes coming?
  • What will our retained HR organization look like after our cloud implementation?

An important key to the success of your HR-as-a-Service project is knowing your organization’s unique change-readiness and maturity level. This means gauging your stakeholders’ emotional responses to change (i.e. “keeping your finger on the pulse”) and considering the vital human aspect of change as much as you plan for the mechanics. We call this process “change management.”

Expectation setting and empathy during HR transformation

Do you know today whether your organization is ready for change? Are your people prepared for the challenges and also open to the gifts that change brings? Do you have a feel for the attitudes and even apprehensions that various stakeholder groups (examples: HR professionals, employees, managers, etc.) may experience when they learn that a move to the cloud may be in the works?

Having a clear plan for communicating and expectation setting with your HR staff and broader internal audiences can help you anticipate the various actions and reactions you may encounter along your organization’s journey to the cloud. It’s critically important that your staff and other stakeholders know that you have empathy for any concerns they may have during periods of change and that their support needs will be expertly met during and after an HR transformation.


What do you think? And what do you feel?

IBM’s Design Thinking experts can help you gain and share empathy across your organization, develop actionable insights to provide better service, and deliver a positive user experience to the various stakeholders in your organization’s journey to the cloud. We’ve assisted numerous clients with large-scale, complex change management and can advise you on the evolution you may anticipate and plan for in your HR staff’s structure, roles and responsibilities.

What questions might you or your HR staff have if your organization were to embark on an HR transformation today? Here’s an example of input we gathered during an empathy mapping exercise that we led recently at SAP SuccessConnect where we  asked HR leaders their thoughts about moving to the cloud.

HR leader empathy map

What powers finance transformation for CFO in Retail Industry ?

Retailers require flexible, agile business operations to drive growth. CFO of retail companies continuously evaluate measures to increase or improve profitability, operational outcomes, working capital, revenue, collaboration with suppliers & distributors, productivity and achieve sales fulfillment. But they come across various challenges around customer centricity, revenue acceleration, cost reduction, data, processes & people and look for innovative ways to overcome them.

Industry Challenges_Study2

Finance back office transformation is no more a choice, it is a mandate given the disruption that is taking place in the retail industry. With price competitiveness becoming table stakes between e commerce and in-store it is critical CFO’s create agile back office to fund the enterprise in competing to keep up the investments around radically improving customer experience. Lack of non-systemic end to end approach to Finance back office transformation may potentially lead to cost cuts that may help maintain the margins in short term but may adversely impact the customer experience in long term.


A retailer should plan on building following capabilities to overcome these challenge.

  • Customer Centricity: Reinvent business process by integrating cloud & digital capabilities
  • Revenue Acceleration: An agile operating model should be adopted for fast and inexpensive entry into new markets
  • Cost Reduction: They should integrate technology and operations capabilities to streamline promotions, finance and procurement processes.
  • Data, Process & People: Embed Big Data & Analytics capabilities to analyze competition, market trends, customer behavior to support promotion and pricing strategy. They should also leverage Analytics to address skill gaps within their workforce.

IBM has partnered with clients across Retail Industry to help them realize committed business outcomes through finance transformation with our “Consult to Execute” model by providing:

Increased profitability

  • 35% to 60% cost savings in finance operation
  • Up to 50% reduction in close cycle
  • Reduce cost of goods sold
  • Reduce cost of SG&A

Improve operational outcomes

  • 25% contracted working capital improvement
  • Deliver 5% to10% savings in spend
  • 20% to 60% reduction in days sales outstanding

Revenue growth

  • Deeper collaboration with suppliers and distributors (digital services and cloud)
  • Improve productivity across the order to cash (sales fulfillment)

We combine our deep consulting skills and knowledge with shared services operational expertise.

Know how CFOs need to get started in setting up the Path for Finance Transformation by embedding innovation, automation and analytics to optimize value chain.

Path for Finance _Study2

So, I would ask you to think about:

  • What measures you are taking to reduce complexity around managing the cross functional consolidation?
  • Are you at ease in optimizing and integrating your business processes?
  • Have you adopted a structured approach starting from assessment, operations execution and ability to deliver business outcome?

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Top five hotspots to transform Life Sciences business processes

Changes in global market and data explosion are influencing all aspects of business model and operational changes for life sciences clients. But when you gather data points and perspectives about these companies, ‘five hotspots’ start to emerge:

1. Global Scale

Africa’s pharmaceutical market continues to grow at a rapid pace. It will be worth Study5$40 – $65 billion by 2020 – McKinsey & Company

China, India and Japan, the top three pharma markets poised to soar in 2015 – FiercePharmaAsia

Life sciences companies are expanding into emerging markets like China and Africa by growing sales and setting-up manufacturing facilities. As companies expand to new markets, operational executives are challenged to manage costs on a global, rather than local level, gain a 360-degree view into business operations, predict and manage costs accurately and in a timely manner.

Under the low budget operating environment with higher expectations, operations managers have limited choice but to adopt the right Target Operating Model in order to thrive. Finding the right balance between Globally Integrated Business Services (GIBS) which is the evolution of the shared services center concept and outsourcing is critical. The appropriate Target Operating Model leads to a better governance structure, effective management of risk/controls, continuous improvement and it also maximizes resource effectiveness. IBM GIBS exist today in emerging countries such as China, Russia, India, Brazil and Eastern Europe, and this globalized operating model provides fast and inexpensive entry into new markets where reporting, compliance, tax and regulatory knowledge are a critical foundation for success.

2. Mergers & Acquisitions

M&A activity in the first eight months of 2014 was USD 195 billion, against USD132 billion for FY 2013 – Burrill Report

Life sciences sectors saw 35 M & As worth $166.3 billion in the first three months of 2015 – PWC

Life sciences companies are aggressively pursuing M&A and Corporate Restructuring/Divestment strategies as a driver for growth. Take the case of Abbott Laboratories divestment and creation of the new legal entity AbbVie. At the time of separation, the two companies agreed which business systems would transfer to AbbVie and which would be operated by Abbott to support the new business entity. The result was a mix of legacy applications that were due to be terminated at the end of 2015. IBM helped AbbVie roll-out enterprise-wide standardized SAP-enabled processes, aligning supply chain, finance and procurement solutions and providing back-office process services for order to cash, purchase to pay, record to report and others. Download the case study to know more.

Life Sciences companies are rapidly embracing the digital operating model to manage interactions with suppliers, employees and end-consumers. IBM continues to invest and expand current services adding greater capabilities for digital service delivery. For example, the B2B Customer Service that digitizes clients’ order-to-invoice processes with mobile app capability for easy bill payment and scheduling; and dispute resolution capability is accessible via PDA’s and Tablets.

3. Regulatory Compliance

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) requires medical product manufacturers to publicly report payments made to physicians – Health Affairs

Effective, Aug.14, 2015, medical device manufacturers, importers, and device user facilities are required to report device-related adverse events and product problems – FDA

The industry is undergoing a compliance-related investment cycle, as new legislation and increased enforcement worldwide necessitate investments in human capital, software upgrades, and process integration to meet reporting requirements. Improved process maturity and streamlined operation puts firms in a better position to introduce effective governance and guidelines to improve data privacy and management of electronic information and disclosure. Financial reporting services with IBM Accelerated Financial Reporting can help improve data access, reduce costs and optimize regulatory reporting processes.

4. Consumer Insights

132% increase in the level of customer insights in the next 3 to 5 years compared to today – IBM Institute of Business Value Study

70% of survey respondents plan to invest in social media or integrated multi-channel marketing solutions – IMS Health Study

Companies need help to tap into customer data and use consumer insights to discover new drugs, improve diagnostics, manufacture high quality medical devices and release effective therapies. Ability to analyze different data types in life science including clinical trials, adverse event reports, genomic data, drug data bases – safety, toxicology, structures can help address the challenges and identify new business opportunities.

Embedding intelligence into business operations can help life science companies improve cash collection, drive quality customer interaction by generating insights on patient and healthcare practitioner data. For instance, clients can:
– Manage physician targeting for new drug launch through segmentation and profiling
– Improve ROI on marketing spend by analyzing prescriptions over time, demographics, promotions, competitor promotions, and cannibalization
– Conduct sentiment analysis to evaluate voice of customer, respond to feedback in real time and improve customer experience

 5. Technology Shifts

Nearly 60% survey respondents’ rate patient apps as extremely important, while 69 percent similarly rated investments in physician apps to address life science commercial challenges – IMS Health Study

Cloud, mobile and analytics solutions are transforming the life sciences industry. Companies are looking to analytics to drive greater value from scientific, medical, and operational data. Cloud adoption is on the rise to address pain points arising from fragmentation of the value chain and the need to reduce cost.

Business process as a service combines deep process expertise, automation with embedded analytics and cloud based technology to create new forms of process composition to improve efficiency and accelerate business agility for life science clients.

If your answer is yes, to the following questions, operational transformation can help:
– Is scaling your back-office to match growth becoming a concern?
– Are you looking for help on how to manage your SG&A costs to ensure you are closer to best in class?
– Are you questioning the value you are getting from your current back-office shared services organization?

Sign-up for IBM a free assessment by writing to me Sudip Mitra, or calling me at 1-917-415-3600

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Part 2: Smarter Collection Strategy: IBM Collections Analytics improves overall collection performance defined by higher cash flow and lower delinquency rate for clients across Industries

In our previous blog on “Part 1 – Smarter accounts receivables collection strategy improves collection rate by more than 15% and reduce delinquency rate by 50%”, we learnt how IBM Smarter Collection Strategy takes into account end to end collection process, generating insights from past customer behavior including payment pattern, claims, deductions and judging the credit risk associated at a customer level. And now in this part we will be sharing the important elements of the collections strategy, which makes it unique for clients.

Study2Smarter collection strategy embeds technology, tools and analytics into collection process acts as solution for the process limitations. There are four components to IBM Smarter Collection Strategy which acts as a differentiators:

  1. An integrated Approach – Joint Ownership of Collections Operations & Analytics
    IBM helps its clients in providing an integrated approach where there is a joint ownership for the collections operations and analytics component. Analytics team becomes an integral part of operation and analytics drive collection process related decision like, contact strategy, escalation, agent allocation, agent productivity, escalation. Data Analytics is embedded into all decision made in the collection process. IBM helps clients in using analytics for business insights and driving financial efficiency to continue to outperform peers across all phases of economic cycle. This gives a better view and control over factors impacting collection performance and achieving the defined target becomes easy.
  1. Dynamic Strategy Management
    Strategy which is a contact schedule describing customer to be contacted, mode of contact, priority attached to the customers. This strategy needs to be dynamically managed to ensure rigor over time. This Dynamic strategy management is critical as these schedules are built based on past payment patterns. These payment patterns are significantly influenced or biased by the past contact strategy. IBM works with collectors who are closer to the customer and helps in reducing this bias. Periodic evaluation of the performance through dynamic strategy management helps in ensuring relevance of the strategy to changing nature of the portfolio.
  1. Collaboration with Process Experts
    Under Smarter collection strategy, collaboration among the process teams and analytics delivery is a key component. Through collaboration the insights are incorporated. Analytics engine might identify a customer as high risk and recommend for frequent follow up and calls. Inherent process gap or customer challenges driving these behaviors are discovered. Accounting for behavior illustrated by the customer collection strategy is customized and it’s more than just follows up from process teams. This ensures control on aged AR and effective utilization of available resources in process teams.
  1. Implementation of Recommendation
    Most important factor in achieving desired outcomes using analytics intervention is successful implementation of the strategy. Under smarter collection strategy implementation is closely tracked and driven by analytics team along with process owners. Implementation effectiveness is tracked at daily, weekly and monthly level at collector, risk and value segments. This tracking is leveraged by analytics team to provide clear focus area for process owners to drive effectiveness of implementations.

Sharing examples of some of our clients across Industries who have achieved improved collections performance by higher cash flow, lower delinquency rate and controlled aged balance with IBM’s Smarter Collection Strategy:

A Global Service Company achieved higher collection performance by 15.0% which translated into 15M additional cash collected over 3 years of managed service. 50% reduction in delinquency rate was achieved by driving and maintaining the change in customer payment pattern driven by analytics & change intervention. Customer behavior changed and early payments were achieved, so for low risk payment due date of payments was reduced by 71%; for medium risk by 29% & for high risk by 3%. Driven by change in customer payment behavior, risk mix also improved: low risk customer improved by 29%; medium risk improved by 6% and high risk reduced by 12%.

Global Document Management Company achieved 50% reduction in delinquency comparing year on year despite worsening economy & shrinking balance across countries.

A Publishing Company showed 4% improvement in collections, converting to 2.8M additional cash collected in a Quarter.

Maintaining cash flow is a critical component of running a business successfully. The focus should be on ensuring that sufficient cash is available for investment by not tying up cash in stock unnecessarily or putting procedures in place for chasing up outstanding debts and controlling different levels of cash outflows in relation to the size of the business.

For more information contact Muthu Mangai Muthiah, IBM GPS Advanced Analytics Delivery Leader ( or Kamalesh Karanad, IBM GPS Analytics as a Service Offering Leader (

New technologies have opened doors to support a fully automated, integrated and more intelligent business processes

Authors – Christine Gattenio, VP, IBM Global Process Service F & A Practice and Jason E. Kelley, VP, Partner, CTO & Design, IBM Global Process Services

The convergence of digital technologies (cloud, analytics, mobile and social, or CAMS) has created a data-driven world that is fundamentally changing operating models. The typical path to business process automation is being repaved, and business processes continue to evolve in how they can be executed.

Study3aThis new environment requires (and enables) more intelligence—delivered with speed, visualized for deeper understanding and optimized for higher return on investment. It’s become clear that the combination of these new technologies will be profound, driving disruptive innovations and competitive advantage in the reinvention of business processes.

A variety of automation technologies have rapidly gained traction for their ability to enable fully automated, intelligent and integrated business processes that support a digital global operating model. Business process delivery execution includes access to a suite of technologies such as Business Process as a Service (BPaaS), business process management (BPM) platform, embedded analytics, robotics process automation (RPA) and cognitive tool-based automation.

Study3bWhile the ability to automate processes isn’t new, cognitive, adaptive and intuitive software and tools capable of supporting complex processes are becoming more consumable and easier to implement, integrate and use. As a result, complex processes are becoming more consumable, applications more integrated and enterprise data more valuable across the business.

But to effectively drive automated processes and reap the benefits of successful business process reinvention, organizations need to identify and address obstacles across—and even beyond—the business process lifecycle. This requires an informed, end-to-end look across the current business landscape.

The shift to a digital operating model has opened up new choices in how you can use the latest technologies to not only automate processes, but make them more intelligent and intuitive. While technology is an enabler, having a sound framework with industry-specific service expertise and design capability for delivering superior user experienced is the real game changer.

For almost a decade, IBM has been investing in enabling technologies—including robotics—that help enhance outcomes for our clients. As the journey continues, it expands to include BPaaS and analytics. Today, the majority of our clients are using some form of robotic automation. As our portfolio evolves, robotics will continue to play a key part in enabling us to bring the tools, services and capabilities you need to support a more efficient, cost-effective digital operating model.

For more information

To learn more about the IBM Global Process Services, please contact Christine Gattenio, Vice President, Global Finance & Administration & B2B Customer Service Practice ( or Jason E. Kelley, Vice President, Partner, CTO & Design, IBM Global Process Services, Business Sales & Delivery Executive: Business Analytics & Strategy (

The Marketing Reengineering Mandate for Financial Services

Image-Blog-Study3aFinancial Services CMOs face challenges from multiple fronts. Non-traditional, ”born on the web” competitors are gaining market share, customer expectations are increasing, the regulatory environment keeps evolving and changing while budgets are shrinking year on year. Insights from the IBM Global C-suite Study “Stepping up to the challenge” show that CMOs feel increasingly under prepared for market and technology shifts – where four years ago, close to 30% felt prepared, that has now dropped to below 20%.   They must juggle all of the initiatives that the modern CMO owns – strong traditional marketing channels, digital marketing, build data-driven marketing competency, synthesize and act upon big data, develop personalized content – and all within a regulated industry. According to “Gartner for Marketing Leaders”, financial services companies spend an average of 10.6% of revenue on marketing – that’s counting staff and program spend. On average, about 25% of this budget is spent on digital initiatives. Most CMOs, however, have made limited progress towards executing key digital marketing strategies. Marketers need to ensure that they understand their target customer’s behavioral patterns and use the data to their advantage. One of IBM’s financial services clients had similar challenges. Marketing departments were working in silos across multiple business units – affinity marketing, alliance services, credit card, P&C, life, banking, investment management, among others, each with their own approach. IBM’s Managed Marketing Services helped the client centralize campaign planning and execution, standardize the roles and marketing processes, making it all faster, and with higher quality performance. They are now seeing dramatic results, including:

  • 30% increase in campaign tactic delivery per FTE
  • 50% decrease in cost per campaign tactic
  • 16% reduction in campaign cycle time

While digital transformation is at the top of the CMO agenda, most enterprise marketing organizations have a distributed structure. To take full advantage of marketing automation, they must first centralize and standardize work and reengineer how marketing is done. (Not unlike transformation of other business disciplines, experienced for example in the move to ERP systems). CMOs are quite accustomed to the notion of “outsourcing”, as this has always been the case with print and broadcast media buys, agency relationships and the like. Already, an estimated half of digital marketing activities are outsourced, often times to multiple providers within the same organization – an area of sub-optimization.  IBM can serve as a change agent to help clients to overcome the challenges in internal matrixed organizational structures, which are inhibiting collaboration across marketing, sales and customer functions. IBM has developed an approach for helping financial services institutions to reengineer the work of marketing with process rigor, IT expertise and marketing know how. We provide services around the new workloads at the intersection of marketing and IT, freeing up marketing departments to focus on the “what” not the “how”. The key components of IBM Managed Marketing Services are:IBM ManagedCMOs have three co-dependent choices to be made:

  1. Approach to analytics
  2. Technologies to facilitate the digitally engineered experience
  3. Future operating model

Digital transformation is analogous to the transformations other departments went through in their transition to ERP systems.   To be successful, the entire processes associated with marketing must be viewed holistically. The focus must shift to customer experience, detailing the specific vision for real-time, interactive engagement, the data requirements to set the strategic intent and the software tools to drive automation and standards. New operating models must be defined to get the work done in the most efficient and effective manner, standardizing work models globally and strategically centralizing selected processes. If this is not done, there is a risk of losing most of the value that marketing automation can deliver – detecting patterns, improving cross-selling and retention and ultimately realizing the vision of delivering the real-time, interactive experience across each customer touch point. IBM’s Managed Marketing Services is proven to help our clients successfully make this transition while freeing up 20-35% of their budget to go after new strategic initiatives.  Click here to know more. For more information about IBM Managed Marketing Services, write to me at .

An integrated consulting and business process operation powers finance transformation and business growth for Consumer Product CFOs

Growing internal and external challenges are forcing CFOs of leading Consumer Products (CP) companies to evaluate their current operating model and improve business performance.

An integrated consulting and business process operation powers finance transformation and business growth for Consumer Product CFOsCFOs need help across multiple fronts:

  • Improve working capital performance and cash flow position
  • Accelerate time to market, drive profitable growth and embrace direct-to-consumer sales channel
  • Collaborate across eco-systems to drive deeper collaboration with retailers & suppliers
  • Generate value from operation/customer data to compete with better business insights

Inability to address the above issues affects the growth potential of the enterprise and the ability to invest for the future.

An integrated consulting and business process outsourcing strategy powers finance transformation. It helps CFOs improve working capital performance by 25%, reduce daily sales outstanding by upto 60% and generate 35-50% cost savings. By combining cloud service delivery, digital services and embedded intelligence into source to pay, order to cash and record to report processes, CFOs are able to transform the operating model and drive business performance.

One finance function accelerates decision making and boost growth

Facing low top line revenues and an elevated cost structure, the world’s leading Consumer Products Company needed to make dramatic operational changes. IBM helped the client unify finance operation across 24 countries by standardizing business processes and systems and deploying a single ERP system. This approach helped the client transform into a more responsive, globally integrated enterprise with enhanced channels for faster decision making, continuous improvement and cost efficiency.

By deploying IBM ARCollect™ to manage order to cash process with cloud service delivery, the finance department is now able to access report, dashboard and dispute resolution cases via PDA’s and tablets. This has helped the client improve productivity and free up cash for other growth initiative. Click here to watch the client video.

Set-up the path for finance transformation

We help CP clients develop the path for finance transformation. We combine our deep consulting skills and knowledge with shared services operational expertise and know-how CFOs need to:

  1. Diagnose the problem: Conduct a rapid scan of your business process to analyze problems, identify and evaluate benefits of adopting industry best practices
  2. Set-up for success: Plan the finance transformation roadmap by bringing leading process, technology and tools to define and support change
  3. Deliver business outcome: Chart out the path to deliver business outcome aligned to client’s metrics to reduce bottom-line and grow revenue

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