In his book, The Future of Competition: Co-creating Unique Value with Customers, the prolific management guru, Dr. C. K. Prahalad, threw light on why innovating to satisfy customers and sustaining profitable growth is a challenge for most businesses. He attributed this paradox to the three major forces of globalization -- convergence of technologies and industries, and connectivity that pervades our lives. He observed that as a consequence of these forces, the customer (be it an individual or a business), has evolved from being a passive recipient to an active co-creator of value.
- Technology-enablement: Undoubtedly, technology will lead innovation in the BPM industry, be it in the form of technology platforms, SaaS, Cloud computing or the latest addition to the block – the Process Enhancement Technologies & Services (PETS). Technology enablement can drive outstanding results in business performance.
For example, WNS helped deploy a number of PETS-based tools on the F&A processes of a leading freight transportation and logistics provider in the US that helped create strategic value for the client. The PETS-based tools deployed in phases, included digitization of invoices, OCR, Omniflow, automated exceptions management, automated approval workflow, automated data extraction, Oracle ERP F&A solutions and seamless integration of all workflow and document archival systems with the ERP. The use of PETS on the client's F&A processes resulted in marked improvement of key business outcomes.
- Commitment to Understand the Client's Business and Industry: Innovations in product industries are easy to visualize, as innovators take the product from the core and expected levels to the augmented level. The recent innovations in mobile telephony and the automobileindustries are for all of us to see. For such companies, a constant eye on customer needs and expectations, and a commitment to drive superior business outcomes are factors driving innovation and success. In the services industry, creating a visible impact on business outcomes, amounts to innovation and that can only happen if providers understand their client's industry and step in with the right, industry-specific solutions that demonstrate their commitment to invest time and money to create value for clients. WNS's vertical approach to service delivery as a strategy, was designed to create a rich pool of domain-specific experts and solutions for specific industries, so that we could co-create value in the true sense.
- Collaborating with the 'Better Half' to Design for the Future: The BPM industry is at a milestone where the client has evolved from being a passive recipient to an active co-creator of value. In that sense, the buyer is the 'better half' of the buyer-provider relationship. The buyer needs to be a part of business diagnostics, solution architecture interventions, and more importantly in innovating for the future. We advocate the active participation of our clients when integrating a future state operating model into the client organization's value chain. When designing customized solutions, we link the client organization's strategic needs with business process deliverables to create a transformational, business-focused solution, enabling shorter cash conversion cycles, increased return on working capital, improved revenue management control and accuracy, more profitable customers in focus markets and so on. All our engagement programs, involves close collaboration with the client.
- Focused Approach to Innovation: No BPM player today can sail ahead without making innovation a part of its core business strategy. Innovation must drive organizational processes and business models alike. At WNS, we have an innovation lab in the WNS Capability Creation Organization to constantly keep a tab on emerging client needs and design solutions. Two of our proprietary solutions - the WNS Analytics Decision Engine (WADESM ) and ProGenie – our application for unified Web management, are the result of our initiatives to instill innovation within WNS.
- Integrating and Investing to Reach the Innovation Goal: Innovation cannot be restricted to a few departments in the organization. Innovation in the BPM industry can only be achieved when the organization creates an inclusive approach for fostering innovation. Avenues for sharing innovative ideas, best practices and key learnings from innovative solutions in one business division can drive similar innovations in other business units, provided the organization makes way for such integrations. We have two such best practice sharing platforms – the WNS Brainwave: an initiative through which every employee in the company can contribute ideas that lead to process improvement, employee welfare, automation, customer satisfaction or green ideas to protect the environment and the WNS Fusion - a best-practice sharing platform used to replicate a successfully implemented idea, in another team, process, function or site.
A commitment to foster innovation also needs to be backed by an investment philosophy that drives innovation, be it in terms of entering new markets and creating the rightshoring strategies for clients, or signing strategic partnerships with technology players to provide the best technology platforms to transform the client's business.