Month: September 2018

Developing and launching a new product (NPDI or New Product Development and Introduction Process) has been an area of both opportunity and weakness for companies in the Consumer Packed Goods or CPG sector. New successful products often translate into millions of dollars in sales but a long launch period or delay could mean heavy losses due to missed opportunity cost and potential loss of market share.

Velocity of NPD (New Product Development) process is hence critical and directly impacts the top line of the organisation

The Challenge

NPD is a heavily customised process and very specific to organisational or industry needs. This process traverses across multiple departments and roles. It touches many people in the ecosystem – a few hundred across various countries in case of large organisations, extending to external vendors and suppliers. Typical divisions that come into play in the process are R&D, Marketing, Supply chain, Finance, Brand management and Master data. It is in this context that the need for an enhanced collaborative and integrated Smartapp becomes more pronounced.

Tools like Product Lifecycle Management Systems, Supply Chain Systems, ERPs or other enterprise systems have been in existence for a while to address these challenges. However, a large part of them fail to cover end-to-end lifecycle of new product development.

The Solution

Smartapps built on top of a platform such as Process Orchestration from SAP comes to the rescue. These apps improve velocity of the process by bringing together various people and system components as well as through increased automation and integration. A new technology implementation or development of a new app is also an opportunity to streamline and optimise the ‘as-is’ process. As technology alone is not a silver bullet in the run in the faster product introduction lifecycle

Proof that this works

We embarked on a Smartapps initiative for one of our large CPG customers with presence in 100+ countries. Through our Smartapp solutions, this customer of ours managed to reduce the number of steps involved from 300 to 142 and brought down the NDPI cycle from 6 months to 2 weeks.

This was achieved by building a Smartapp that aggregated multiple process steps into one, eliminated non-value-adding human touch points in the system and converged UIs across systems into a single user interface. This created a layer of abstraction that shielded the users from differences and changes in the underlying systems. For the user, this meant a common User Interface (UI) that resulted in a highly simplified User Experience (Ux). This resulted in an overall reduction of 70% in the think time i.e. time spent on the application screen.

It is vital to collaborate complex processes, especially in a large organisation where product data is spread across divisions and multiple people donning multiple roles.

Smartapps give an advantage through a combination of an intelligent user interface, increased collaboration, automated substitution, workload based routing and improved visibility.

Every business organization uses a system of record which holds the transaction centric data and simultaneously facilitates the business transactions on a day to day basis. This system per say could be an ERP or a set of systems put together to run the business. The end users interact with the system using various modes of engagement.Smartapps are process oriented applications which uniquely facilitate the modes of engagement of the user with the systems of record in a way that enables high responsiveness, increased efficiency, reduced latency in process and increased competitive advantage while reducing the operating cost at the same time. They are innovative solutions as a result of smart integration between modes of engagement and data.

The experience becomes far more enriching and exciting when this integration between applications and the various internet of things is delivered to the cloud which creates a completely new work space that can be customized as per the customer’s needs. Also, it can be accessed from anywhere and on any device.

Imagine all the complexities of the landscape and data sources encapsulated in the cloud, while making available what you need right on your device, which is not just a bespoke app but an elaborate process driven application with a smart integration on the cloud platform, seamlessly delivering what you need without any overheads, restrictions of platforms or devices.

If this innovation sounds like something you were looking for, we at Incture will be able to make you realise it with our cloud solution cherrywork http://cherrywork.in.

CIOs around the world are under pressure from their user base to extend support for mobility. Their users are familiar with ‘Apps’ that people build and release at the drop of a hat. This leads to an expectation that the Enterprise Apps that they want should also have the same turnaround time.

However, this is far from reality…

Before embarking on an Enterprise Mobility strategy, it is important to understand the difference between an App and Enterprise Mobility and what it takes to cross that chasm.

Let’s understand what an App is – It is typically a mechanism to collect inputs from users and either share it with other users/systems or use that information to push out content to the user. Primarily it provides a mechanism to view data and communicate.

Enterprise mobility, however, covers a larger scope. While an App is an integral part of Enterprise Mobility, there are many other components to it. These include the following:

Connectivity, Data Extraction and Processing

An enterprise will have hundreds of business applications. When it comes to connecting to and rendering these over a mobile device, one of the first requirements is that of integrating with these varied systems. The purpose of integrating is to collect and send data from the front-end mobile app to these varied systems. This is a big pain point for the CIO’s IT teams since there is no defined protocol / methodology to achieve this. And this contributes to delays in these projects.

Security

Enterprise Applications need to mirror the security standards that are defined at the organizational level. All aspects of authentication, authorization and access control need to be adhered to.

User Experience

While user experience might not be a big driver in adoption when it comes to Enterprise Apps, the need or focus on it cannot be discounted. It is important that the Apps that are built need to match if not exceed the user experience that the typical enterprise user is accustomed to.

Understanding these differences is the key to success here. A CIO can then educate his/her business teams on the complexity involved. This realization will help them lead their organization in crossing the chasm from Apps to Enterprise Mobility.

The world today has more mobile devices than the human population. Adding to it are intelligent devices and wearables making the numbers look overwhelming! The explosion of digitisation and smartphones has arisen from our never-ending need to remain connected not only amongst us but also with the devices around us – leading to a huge amount of data getting generated. Hence, the explosion of Big Data!

The problem lies in consuming this Big Data through mobile devices where smaller form factor and a bite-sized screen struggle for content attention. This creates a need for Small Data – something that is easy to consume, actionable and requires less space to display.

Now, the big question is – How do we bridge the gap between Big Data and Small Data?

The answer? Smartapps.

By the very definition, Smartapps have a very high focus on Data Access, User Experience (UX) and Mobility.

One of the key aspects of Smartapps is their ability to connect to varied backend systems. This accessibility to data lays the foundation for aggregation and further analysis. Once the data is collected, the transformation to actionable insights forms the core aspect of any Smartapp. This data when served to the right person in a very precise and compact format driven through highly evolved User Experience (UX) guidelines, empowers the recipient to take decisions in an informed and timely manner. Also, the fact that this can be delivered on-the-go, only increases its usefulness and showcases its efficiency.

Smartapps when applied along with IoT will enable us to generate value from Big Data and thereby realize the promise of “Insight to Action”.

The term ‘User Experience or UX’ has been talked about very often. One has 5 basic questionable feelings for anything that is there to enhance user experience.

  • How engaging is it?
  • How good it looks?
  • How easy it is to use?
  • How relevant it is to what users are doing?
  • How fast is the response?

All these questions pertain to elements that contribute to a compelling experience, regardless of industry vertical, line of business or application type. Though the subject of user experience has been around and well understood over the years but the enterprise apps horizon has hardly seen the development and success that consumer-facing apps are used to. As the consumer app UX underwent a sea of changes over the last two decades, enterprise applications and their experience have almost remained stagnant since.

Why is it that enterprise apps fail to provide the same engaging experience with the joy of work that consumer apps provide – We should do something about it!

Making a long lasting impact requires an entirely new way of thinking about an enterprise app development.

  1. The conceptualization of the app is required.
  2. Developing structures that fosters collaboration flawlessly.
  3. Building the right internal team.

These three basic approaches become very important when thinking about developing an enterprise app. Now to deliver meaningful user experiences – timely involvement of the end-users become very important as opposed to the traditional software development techniques where project teams work in silos busy packing more and more features and ignoring the complexity of using the app. The app design and project teams need to discuss each and every interaction that the user has to make with the app.

Removing or improving user interactions have proven to enrich the overall experience multi-fold and add more meaning to where end-users spend their time. By having a holistic view of business process context, the kind of data that needs to be made available at every interaction by automating repetitive manual work – adds a lot in transforming the way end-users perceive enterprise applications.

As more and more businesses are starting to realize the potential and power of apps that provide great UX, organizations need applications for a new breed of workers – An enterprise software that works like the apps they use for personal use. Once this feasibility weighs in, end users will start to make more and more decisions about what they want to get out of enterprise applications and how they want to experience these solutions. Smartapps like these will help customers see lower process turnaround times, reduced training time and increase satisfaction among their employees.