By Jim Sinur | September 26, 2018
Jim is a VP and Research Fellow at Aragon Research. A distinguished thought leader, Jim covers digital and AI transformation+, and spent 20 years at Gartner where he was critical in creating the first Hype Cycle and Maturity Model.
Typically organizations want to have digital goals in mind, so that they think globally and act locally. Sometimes opportunistic approaches can lead to digital progress following an educated hunch. This is what Michael Kempe, COO at Link Asset Services, the largest UK share registrar has been doing with great success.
Link is performing key processes for their customers in the pretty traditional industry of Asset Management with plenty of competition. How does Link know if it is performing those processes in the best possible fashion in a way that differentiates them from their competitors now and in the future? This is a pretty common problem for businesses that have a proven business model that delivers results to the bottom line. Unless your organization has a new and breakthrough business model, you are in this same situation.
Since you can’t manage what you can’t measure, Link decided to start measuring by using Pegasystem’s Workforce Intelligence product which mines information from the actual work being done, presents the results visually and potential opportunities for work optimization. Pega’s product looks at work streams across all the processes, activities and tasks that workers perform. See Figure 1 for an example of worker activity (not Link's data).
At first the workers were nervous about this kind of detailed monitoring of their activities, but once they saw it they found that there were other dependencies that could impact their productivity. For instance, the morning started slow because the mail was delivered later than the start time of most of the workers. This caused a change in mail delivery schedules initially and a fully automated scanned mail process over time utilizing Pega’s additional process capabilities. Over time the resistance to measuring work shifted to the managers who thought they really knew what was going on in their respective areas of authority. This melted away as these measures pointing out opportunities for coaching and training for the true managers. The managers that were just super-workers found themselves at a cross roads to decide if they want to “manage or do.”
There were immediate benefits of resource optimization for cost savings and time to service delivery that were solid and expected. This lead to other downstream benefits around process optimization and linkages to create better cross functional processes. The real surprise was that the process capabilities were so adaptable, Link could reactively and proactively deal with change to outperform their competitors enabling new business opportunities.
You know the old saying about inside the small acorn is the potential of a large oak tree. This was certainly true for Link. Digital does not have to be big and disruptive, but it can be if you let your competitors get the jump on you. Start smart and small and grow into digital while you can.
This case study is summarized by Jim Sinur from an interview by Lisa Wood of Cognitive World with Michael Kempe conducted in the summer of 2018. Pegasystems Inc. is an American software company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1983, Pegasystems develops software for customer relationship management, digital process automation, and business process management. Pegasystems is a member of Cognitive World. Link Asset Services has close to 30 facilities throughout Europe and is headquartered in the U.K.