An Audience With….Vinay Mummigatti of Virtusa

Vinaykumar. S. Mummigatti has been involved with the Enterprise Solutions and IT Consulting business for over 16 years. Vinay is passionate about leveraging BPM as a Transformation enabler and delivering business value. He has worked in different functions including IT consulting & delivery management, Strategic alliances, Marketing, Sales and Operations. He has closely collaborated and worked with leading clients in developing Technology Strategy and business Solutions in Business Process Transformation, Content Management & Collaboration and Customer Experience Management.  

 

Vinay has worked with many Fortune 500 clients in helping them define strategic roadmap for BPM, ECM, Portals and Collaboration. Key contributions in the BPM space include BPM methodology, Center of excellence framework, Business Transformation Blueprint and Enterprise Collaboration framework involving convergence of process, Content and Portal technologies. Being a thought leader, Vinay has spoken at various conferences and authored white papers which are published in BPM handbooks. 

 

Vinay holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering and MBA in Finance and Marketing.  In his current role at Virtusa, Vinay heads the Global BPM practice and works closely with customers and global delivery teams to provide technology solutions. Prior to working at Virtusa, he was associated with IBM Global services and Mahindra Satyam.

 

 

2009 was seen as a fairly turbulent for most but towards the end of the year many kicked off major change programs focused on process transformation. How do you expect 2010 will unfold for the BPM industry generally ?

 

The global economic meltdown and recession was a trigger in many ways to the overall approach to IT investments and Business-IT alignment. CIO’s are forced to demonstrate the business value for every investment, enable innovation and help build IT systems that keep up with the business dynamics. These factors will continue to drive the agenda in 2010, and I foresee a major focus on BPM.

 

BPM is the only solution that combines these elements and bridges the execution gaps between IT systems and business goals. BPM helps foster innovation and track the resulting business outcomes. BPM also helps achieve tangible ROI and a payback period of few months instead of years as offered by other technologies

Businesses have begun to believe in process transformation and how BPM technologies can enable this transformation. However, the overall spend on process transformation programs is still a factor of overall health of economy, market demand and cash flow. While I am very positive and bullish for the BPM industry in 2010 and near future, I can’t predict the exact outcomes for the industry.  As BPM advisors and a trusted partner for many of our clients, we are seeing some take-off in BPM investments, but adoption has yet to reach its full potential.

 

There were three notable acquisitions in the last 6 months, IBM and Lombardi, SoftwareAG and IDS-Scheer and recently Progress and Savvion. Do you think there will be more M&A activity in 2010 across the BPM space and do you think this will improve BPM solutions on offer or weaken the market ?

  

I had the privilege of working with all these companies in the past. While the pure-plays such as Lombardi and Savvion created best-of-breed BPM platforms that met the business expectations, they were unable to tap into the larger market, due to the size and investment needs. IDS Scheer focused on process modeling and design and offered a best in class process orchestration tool. Barring a few, there are not many pure-plays left in the market that demand attention and can create a multiplier effect for any large vendor to acquire them.

 

It will be interesting to see how companies such as IBM, Software AG and Progress will absorb the pure-plays they have acquired. It is crucial for them to look at leveraging the sales model, product management and integration inherent in their organic product stack that’s been developed over the years. If the larger vendors can maintain the heritage, BPM product capabilities and business focus that pure-plays bring to the table and continue to target the business audience to sell BPM solutions, we may see a positive tide and strengthening of the overall market. If not, we will see some great BPM suites getting lost in the maze of complex product stacks offered by larger vendors. To sum up, the BPM market was built by the pure-plays, and their acquisitions will be a collective benefit for the industry as long as they are able to retain their focus and strategy, under the umbrella of bigger vendors.

 

Do you expect clients to alter their BPM criteria as a result of the downturn and concentrate on initial upfront cost first rather than full ROI or the indeed the need for BPM itself to support strategy ? 

 

Most enterprise clients have a much better knowledge about BPM now and know what to expect from a BPM suite. The BPM criteria for each kind of process challenge are clearly understood and accepted by most BPM players and clients. 

 

There is no going back now. I think that clients will stick to the needed criteria and will not cut corners to save on upfront cost. Instead, I predict clients will be more diligent in justifying the ROI and TCO with a payback period of less than a year. In fact, Virtusa has been focusing heavily on how we can help clients achieve radical speed to market and cost savings by working closely with the clients and leading BPM vendors. The savings will be more on the infrastructure costs, terms of licensing and ROI-based payments to BPM vendors. Also, we are seeing a major interest in cloud-based BPM platforms, which can make it easier to justify BPM budgets. We are also focusing on structuring BPM programs in phases so that companies recoup their BPM investments within a year.   

 

What’s your definition and philosophy towards BPM ?

 

BPM offers an ability to capture, analyze and improve the business processes. It is not just about technology, but rather the core philosophy is about leveraging processes as key assets and how we manage these assets to generate RETURNS for our investors. Business Process Management is a set of concepts, methods and tools used to define, measure and automate processes for continual improvement in operational performance. BPM provides an orchestration layer between people, processes and systems, thus providing the ability to measure performance and continually optimize any business process. BPM is a means to solving a business problem. 

  

If you could give a piece of advice to a person or organization starting out on the BPM journey, what would it be ?

 

After seeing a variety of outcomes in BPM programs and varying degrees of success, we have realized that some of the root causes of success or failure lie in how a company starts off on their BPM initiatives. We have started advising our clients on specific aspects through a very structured approach called “BPM test drive” and our message covers th

e following:

 

a. BPM has a broad and evolving meaning. Having a common understanding on BPM between business and IT stakeholders is critical for the success of any initiative. Hence, you should spend enough time and effort to understand BPM, its relevance to your industry, the roles of participants, the role of technology, and how BPM maps to key business problems.

 

b. BPM is about business transformation and improvement. Hence, it is an absolute must to start with a clear articulation of success criteria and desired metrics.  Business sponsors should be involved from start to end. Make sure you spend enough time building a business case and defining CTQ’s, ROI and KPI’s.

 

c. In any BPM initiative, technology is only a means and not an end. Don’t be constrained by the technology capabilities, and don’t let any technology vendor drive the initiatives. Technology must not supersede our ability to manage processes and achieve business transformation. 

 

d. Don’t attempt big bang and long duration initiatives. BPM is about change and therefore must be introduced carefully. Build a phased approach with well defined business benefits for each phase and demonstration of business results in 90-120 days.

 

e. Always take the help of a partner who has done this over years and built a credible history of successful programs and satisfied clients.

 

What are the challenges companies face when looking to adopt BPM both from a technical and business viewpoint ?

 

In continuation to my response to the previous question, it is our experience that most companies try to reinvent the wheel when starting out with BPM. Some of the common challenges and issues faced include:

Lack of an enterprise-wide common understanding of BPM and its impact on their individual areas and the organization as a whole

Inadequate knowledge and awareness of the difference between process optimization and automation, business and technology drivers and the consequent challenges in prioritizing their needs

Inability to effectively qualify a business problem for BPM and to build a business case

Absence of prioritization of business issues or process related problems, and the ability to demonstrate ROI

Lack of an in-depth knowledge and expertise in selecting the right BPM technology and tools for their business and IT needs

Deficit of best practices and methodologies for effective BPM implementation in their business environment and industry scenario

Unclear program ownership and delivery responsibilities

It is imperative that companies planning to adopt BPM understand the challenges involved, and partner with the right service provider that will help them implement a flexible and scalable BPM that delivers business outcomes for them.  

 

A lot of vendors are moving into the Cloud and now the ‘Social BPM’ space following the tech trends in 2009. Some are also creating and supporting distinct BPM communities. What’s the next big step you’d like to see in BPM, whether a technical advance or business methodology evolution ?

 

This is a loaded question and touches upon multiple aspects that are redefining the BPM space. Let me answer this in 3 parts – How can BPM drive convergence of technologies and thus bring down redundant investments? How is cloud computing impacting BPM? What is the relevance of social media for BPM?

 

How BPM can drive convergence of technologies and thus bring down redundant investments?

Today we see a large percentage of BPM projects declared as failure. Some organizations are even taking an extreme stance that BPM is not appropriate for them. Large global enterprises are struggling to optimize their investments in content management, portal, collaboration and CRM technologies with redundant investments across the technology stack. Processes are ubiquitous and are prevalent across most of the business applications. How do we bring all our processes in a single layer instead of scattering them across technologies? Most CIOs are frustrated with their own technology strategy and are continuing redundant spend across these synergic platforms. I would like to see BPM layer becoming the repository of all enterprise processes while the other platforms are leveraged for their best-of-breed capabilities. This calls for BPM platforms to be able to maintain and publish processes across any technology stack. 

 

How is cloud computing impacting BPM?

Cloud-based BPM hosting is no longer just an experimental initiative, but now an integral part of BPM infrastructure. Cloud computing offers many advantages for BPM adoption and would help in removing some of the key challenges that have hindered BPM success. The goal of enterprise BPM and inter-organization process automation becomes a reality with the help of BPM in the cloud. How companies adapt to the huge opportunity offered by cloud will decide if this confluence will yield the desired benefits or not. The sheer ease of deployment, reuse, shared knowledge and collaboration aspects are bound to foster process innovation to a greater degree. 

 

What is the relevance of social media for BPM?

Many companies are embracing social media as an answer to their company’s collaboration challenges. Today we are using social media and Web 2.0 for targeting a younger generation but have still a long way to go in terms of bringing the power of blogs, wikis, social networking to business transformation and achieving business results.  Use of blogs, wikis and tools like facebook, twitter, etc, is becoming a common complement to marketing initiatives. We are also seeing some transactions happening through social media. The day is not far off when we will start using Web 2.0 for managing our complex processes and reducing the cycle time involved in multi-party negotiations and decision making. 

 

Many organisations look to create Centres of Excellence during a BPM implementation, how crucial do you think this is in gaining support for BPM at an enterprise level and also sustaining the value of adoption ?

 

A BPM center of excellence (COE) is an absolute must for organizations planning to adopt BPM across the enterprise. As companies adopt BPM in more than a single department they often start seeing challenges in terms of standardization, scalability, performance and governance. We see the following key benefits arising out of a BPM COE:

 

Customer Focus:    Align business and strategic initiatives with the technology investments. Provide a single point of support for all business sponsors undertaking BPM initiatives
Delive
ry Excellence: Ensure success of all BPM programs through measurable and well defined project management processes 

Scalability: Ensure scalability of development resources, architecture, infrastructure and software

Forward Perspective: Facilitate innovation, provide thought leadership and education in the BPM space, reduce time-to-market by investing in reusable assets

Governance: Provide the right technology for every business problem. Develop guardrails and metrics driven processes.

 

Finally, what next for Vinay Mummigatti ?

 

In terms of subject matter, I am passionate about BPM and its advancement.  I plan to capture my BPM implementation and consulting experiences of over a decade into a book, which will provide readers with some practical approaches and insights on the subject.  On a professional front, working with Virtusa has been a great experience as it gives me opportunities to experiment with different ideas and solutions. Not many consulting companies have a commitment to BPM as a practice as Virtusa has, and I am thoroughly enjoying the positive impact we are able to make on our clients. My goal is to create an ecosystem of partners and clients and strive to make BPM pervasive across the enterprises. 
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13 responses to “An Audience With….Vinay Mummigatti of Virtusa

  1. Very good and practical Answers Vinay . You have mentioned the challenges which we see in real time scenario

  2. the complexity of questions is overpowered by the simplicity in the answers….great stuff vinay..cheersnabarun

  3. Vinay, good interview. I have a couple of observations I want to share. I agree with your comment that BPM software can be an enabler of an organization’s transformation initiative. From what I’ve experienced, most all business transformations have a process component. Whether led by the IT organization driving standardization of SAP or led by business by instilling a Lean initiative, the focus on understanding process is essential. Until business leaders understand BPM, as they understand CRM or ERP, they will continue to view BPM as just some type of workflow automation software.You made an interesting comment regarding adoption challenges. You said “Inadequate knowledge and awareness of the difference between process optimization and automation”. I believe business leadership understands the difference but views BPM as a process automation tool and see greater value with adopting Lean or Six Sigma initiatives as a means of performing process optimization. The stark reality is however, that Lean leaders are trained to focus on people, engage people face-to-face, use paper and pencil to define problems, discover root cause, and draw value streams. There exist some common principles that BPM and Lean share. For example, both focus on the need for “visibility” into what’s going on. The visibility principle may represent a bridge that can be built between Lean and BPM. I’m afraid that if BPM is not positioned as a key enabler of process optimization, it will be trivialized as just another IT automation tool from a business perspective.Does this parallel your understanding? I’m curious to hear your perspective.Michael Melenovsky

  4. Excellent responses Vinay. I agree with you that Social BPM is definitely one promising answer to an organization’s internal collaboration challenges. I think that it also is a means to foster collaboration with other oustide stakeholders. Outside of the traditional approach to target initiating business transactions through social personas(which I believe is mostly marketing driven), I think that ‘Social BPM’ is a larger opportunity to market (customer/partner) orient an organization’s business processes. Today, most businesses either do not encourage market participation in their core business processes beyond the point of being engaged in a specific transaction OR spend a fortune in traditional slicing and dicing of market data captured through tools such as surveys, helpdesk repository etc and then amend their processes after a few business cycles. Social BPM has the potential to change that moving forward, encouraging large scale participation in helping an organization quickly identify opportunities to grow/improve. With the prolific success of the social media tools , potential of Web 2.0 and application of near-realtime BI in business processes, it can’t get more promising. The challenge would be left upon businesses as to how they rationalize and/or refactor their business processes to find the optimum extent of market participation to drive(or even overhaul) business policy changes.Natesh Parameswaran

  5. Hi Michael,I definitely agree with your perspectives. There is indeed a fear of BPM getting reduced to mere automation of workflows or integration across systems. This is a larger need across organizations for aligning the Business and IT teams on leveraging BPM for transformation. Secondly, the gaps between BPM and Lean and six sigma initiatives are creating a major bottleneck for BPM getting recognized as a significant component of transformation. These requires a more strategic focus on BPM and also make it an inherent part of the larger organizational strategy. Just as Jack Welsh was the sponsor for six sigma at GE which helped GE embrace it religiously, we need CXO level mandate to tie BPM into transformation initiatives – across the value chain of process discovery, analysis, optimization, automation and control.

  6. Good interview. Your passion for BPM clearly shows with thoughts well laid out as always. In my view the thought of technology in a BPM initiative as being only a means and not an end is idealistic. Based on my experience enterprise adoption of BPM almost always results in a technology selection. Investments are made after very sound and convincing workshops. After a series of implementations organizations soon realize that no one technology can fulfill the BPM dream. This triggers the next debate about technology selection, the BPM concept and what have you to the extent that some organizations even take the extreme stance that BPM is not appropriate for them as you mention. Not really sure if this is a leadership issue, technology selection issue or a combination of these or any others.

  7. Sreejit,Your response is very valid and I think it is a combination of leadership and technology issues accompanied largely by the maturity of the BPM space itself. We have seen the BPM technology space is very divergent and representative of the number of BPM vendors present. This is where the role of BPM center of excellence becomes evident. Organizations need to build their own strategy and implementation plans around implementing BPM. This should represent not only their culture and technology landscape but also a clear definition of transformation agenda and the role for BPM. This will eliminate many uncertainties and failure points.

  8. Hi Vinay,Congratulations for a very practical and deep insightful views on the BPM. It touches current trends too, which shows your passion and experience for BPM. One of the challenge I have seen for fortune 500 clients face alligning with true BPM COE terminology or processes. What would be your advise to them?

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