Managing a large scale operations center can turn into a Mexican standoff.
Whether it’s a call center, offshore, or outsourcing operation, a set of common problems plague the IT division responsible for the system that manages work:
-Which teams should be assigned work to maximize outcome?
-Which teams are under-performing?
-How can work be allocated automatically?
-How can SLA compliance be balanced with lowering cost of work?
It’s not long before teams are pointing fingers (if not weapons) at each other, and management and IT are at each other’s throats.
Part of the problem is that the Operations Center software market is very sector-based. This leads to bespoke systems that are inflexible to customization and change, and which cannot interface well with other company systems.
How to Allocate Intelligently?
An even more central problem is figuring out which team gets which piece of work, in a way that optimizes the outcome. This calculation is not simple, and it can’t just be left to intuition or some static algorithm.
That’s because dynamic changes to the composition of teams and even the nature of work make it impossible for most systems or people to decide how to allocate optimally. Here, a brilliant and new model is required, which can optimize allocation based on real time analytics and changing conditions.
One is reminded of how subway stations such as those of the London Underground and Hong Kong’s MTR realized that commuters should stand on both sides of an escalator (instead of walking on the left) in order to maximize throughput and prevent bottlenecks on long escalators (The Guardian, Jan 16 2016).
Like in the above example, intelligent allocation can have a major impact on business outcomes.
Enter a new sheriff – BPM – a type of software that for most IT professionals says only one thing: workflow. What does workflow have to do with Operations Management?
Until today, not much. But PNMsoft has recently taken up the challenge of optimizing work allocation, releasing a new edition of our BPM suite called HotOperations.
The HotOperations concept is simple:
Work management boils down to managing units of work such as processes, cases and tasks.
These units of work are sequential, dynamic and time-based in nature, and are the sweet spot of BPM suites.
But what happens when several teams are involved in high volume operations on such work units? Can BPM handle this time of work optimization?
The answer: Yes, if you introduce a module that enables real time, smart work allocation for Operations Managers.
And that’s exactly what HotOperations, our new product, provides. HotOperations is smart enough to take factors of cost of work, composition of teams and SLA into account when making allocation recommendations, and automatic allocations.
In HotOperations, Ops Managers have access to three dashboards:
1) A Dashboard with charts showing them how the system is performing overall. This looks like this:
2) A Work Allocation board. This board shows tasks/cases that have been assigned to each team, and enables the Ops Manager to make system-assisted smart assignments of new work to teams, and move work between teams.
3) A Cases/Tasks grid – For really high volumes, Ops Managers can move work between teams like in the board described in 2), but in a grid view, which makes things a bit more orderly.
On the team level, Team Leaders can assign work to their team managers in real time, also guided by the system.
What guidance is provided to Ops Managers?
- Relevant data, such as the impact each assignment will have on total cost and SLA compliance.
- The system can assign most of the work automatically, according to pre-configured rules to optimize these outcomes.
- It can also recommend future assignments, again to maximize business outcome.
The result: from Chaos comes Order. Stand down, belligerents.
Integration, Change, Low-code
Better yet, because operations are managed via an agile BPM suite, challenges such as integration with ERP, CRM and other company systems become simple. Change is simple. And the entire application can be created quickly, using a Low-code approach.
BPM has waded into the fray of the Digital Operations. And has quickly become a major contender to consolidate this field.