Nokia Siemens Networks
- Published: April 2, 2013
- Written by Nathaniel Palmer
Executive Summary / Abstract
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is one of the largest telecommunications hardware, software and services companies in the world, with more than 60,000 people in over 150 countries. NSN offers a complete portfolio of mobile, fixed and converged network technologies as well as professional services (consulting and systems integration, network implementation, maintenance and care, and managed services) to more than 600 Communications Service Providers around the world.
NSN’s initial foray into Business Process Management (BPM) was the award-winning “Zeus” project which thoroughly transformed its Consulting & Systems Integration division and delivered an estimated €6 million annual productivity savings. Based on this success, NSN has now deployed a sophisticated, pan-organizational BPM Program, leveraging and extending the success of “Zeus” through one of the most mature Center of Excellence organizations in the BPM industry. The single BPM platform has been leveraged to provide a multitude of BPMS ‘Apps’, delivering process automation, process governance and consistency, to many areas of the NSN’s business, from its Business Solutions & Operations to its Managed Services and its Global Network Implementation Centers. Ultimately, through the effective use of BPMS, NSN now have enhanced levels of business visibility for managers and executives, supported by dedicated socio-business networking functionality (integrated collaboration within process).
Conventional BPM wisdom is to “start small and think big.” Nick Deacon, NSN’s Global Head of BPM, defied that convention by “starting big and thinking even bigger.”
Nokia Siemens Networks was created in 2007 through the merger of the former Networks Business Group of Nokia and the carrier-related businesses of Siemens. As a result of the merger, NSN had a heterogeneous technology and tools landscape that did not meet the needs of its dynamic business. Nick assumed leadership of NSN’s Consulting & Systems Integration (CSI) division at the company’s founding. Having had first-hand experience with working environments that lacked robust processes and tools aligned to a process framework, he immediately set out to get CSI speaking one common process language, utilizing a Business Process Management suite to manage the division effectively and support growth.
Through a modular delivery approach, Nick targeted initial BPMS services rollout in 4-6 months and complete end-to-end division operational management within one year. The resulting BPM solution, named “ZEUS” after the Greek God of Control, has delivered a benchmarked €6 million in annual productivity savings. NSN estimates that Y/Y cost savings may double (or more) in the future.
While he started somewhat “under the radar” in the CSI division, Nick’s true vision was always to use BPM to transform the way NSN operates as a global organization. The basic tenet of this vision is that a competitive, industry-leading business needs to have full end-to-end visibility into its fundamental business components (Sales, Delivery and Resources), as well as the ability to drive and maximize its business performance through effective portfolio management, knowledge management, remote capability and overall business management. This data needs to be accessible in a holistic environment that supports not only business management but also Consultant’s, Engineers, Project Managers, and other employees. NSN’s infrastructure housed large enterprise systems such as ERP from SAP, and other rigid and disconnected sales workflow, resource and knowledge management applications. This enterprise tools landscape did not provide the flexibility or cohesion NSN needed to conduct its dynamic business, placing limitations on real-time business management and Future Planning capabilities, while also creating data inaccuracy and redundancy, and significant overhead wasted on reporting, training and data entry.
Timing being everything, the transformational value of “Zeus” within the CSI division began gaining the attention of the larger NSN organization just as global economic indicators began to fall, and the world’s major economies headed into recession. In conjunction with a reorganization of NSN’s business units, BPM began to flourish across the company.
Today, NSN’s 10,000+ employees in the Business Solutions & Operations division are supported by an expanded version of “Zeus,” managing aspects of Sales, Service Delivery, Remote Operations and delivery, Resource & Competency Management, Solution Management, and overall Business Management. The NSN BPM CoE has subsequently been able to re-use much of the ZEUS functionality to deliver a fast business solution to NSN’s Managed Services division. This functionality, housed again on the single platform is badged “Apollo” and delivers Project Management, Global Delivery and Sales support. Significant cost benefits have been immediately realized through this re-use and platform sharing. “Apollo” has been benchmarked as delivering €1.5 million in annual productivity savings.
The BPM CoE has recently delivered the next solution, this time for NSN’s Global Network Implementation Centers. “Cronos”, as it’s referred to, is focused on the automation and management of the deployment, maintenance and upgrading of roughly 150,000 of NSN’s network sites around the world. The original quote for a similar solution was 1.1 M Euros and a delivery time of 9-12 months. The BPM CoE delivered the initial solution in 3 months at a cost of 60K Euros.
All three of these systems are front-ended by a common, LinkedIn/MySpace-like collaborative portal known as “Hermes” that features personalized home-pages, communities of interest, messaging and more. In addition, the BPM CoE has developed “Athena,” a centralized process and tools management portal with status dashboards and reports for all NSN employees.
The BPM CoE is now building the reputation for fast, effective delivery of customized process automation solutions which means the demand for it’s services within NSN is growing by the day.
NSN inherited an array of inflexible and disconnected tools – SAP for logistics, a workflow solution for Sales, COTS solutions for Resource Management and Financial functions, and primarily local hard drives for knowledge management. Areas such as Delivery, Technical Support, and Reporting had no systems support at all. Individual divisions were forced to use EXCEL to off-set the limitations of the enterprise systems, and to fill the large gaps. In addition, divisions had limited ownership of data entry and were often reliant on others to populate required data sources. This created poor visibility across units, and across the organization as a whole, into areas such as Sales and Forecasted Revenue, Project and Service Delivery, Cost and Margin, and Demand and Supply Planning. The lack of embedded process and an underlying cohesive technology platform created an inability to govern effectively, and poor visibility of business data led to inaccurate decision making and planning.
The Key Innovations
NSN’s comprehensive BPM Program encompasses multiple process solutions targeted at all core elements of the global business: Sales, Delivery, Resources, Technical Support, Competency Management, Remote Delivery/Offshoring and overall Business Management.
NSN’s customers are directly and positively impacted by the company’s BPM Program. By allowing all divisions and employees to collaborate more effectively, easily access the tools and systems they need, and focus their time on effective task completion, and by giving management the real-time data required to make faster and better decisions, the BPM Program ensures that customers receive consistent, high-quality service. With CRONOS, customers receive automated daily reports informing them as to their respective site status and monthly summary reports documenting KPI and SLA status against agreed standards.
“Zeus,” “Apollo” and “Cronos” span a multitude of processes across numerous NSN divisions. On the whole, definitions for these core processes were either buried in large, complex binders of information that were collecting dust on shelves, or simply held in employees’ heads. An important first step at every stage of NSN’s BPM journey has been to clearly define both current and ideal-state processes using simple, BPMN-standards based process modelling. After the initial rollout of an improved process, NSN then focuses on process optimization based on real-world, in-production experience.
This optimization is greatly enabled by real-time process architecture and “on-the-fly” process modification capabilities of the Appian BPM Suite, upon which NSN’s entire BPM Program is built. Real-time data visibility on process performance and bottlenecks is used to modify process models in-flight, with the changes deployed in real-time into the production application.
Appian’s 100 percent web-based software and Service Oriented Architecture are also important factors in achieving NSN’s BPM vision. Both significantly ease the integration challenges posed by such a large-scale BPM program. Appian’s “Smart Services” also make SOA a useful tool outside of IT, giving end users drag-and-drop simplicity in employing web service components within their composite applications and mash-up portals.
Just two examples of NSN’s BPM-based process innovations include:
- The Resource & Competency Management application: allows Resource Managers (RMs) to understand, for the first time, the skill sets of all employees, forecast accurate project close dates, and identify the required resources. All employees now rate themselves against the NSN portfolio of service products and general skills. A custom interface allows RMs to search this user store, filtering by skill sets and other criteria. Extended user profiles and reports give RMs a 360-degree view of resources and competencies, and detailed SQL Reporting delivers insight into current and predicted staffing needs, staff availability, and allocation ratios segmented by regions and sub-regions.
- The Project Management application: enables Project Managers to track and manage all of their projects against agreed milestones and against a well-defined series of quality gates. The application tracks the financial elements of each project, alerting PMs and senior managers to deviations in cost accuracy and delivery accuracy enabling the business to accurately monitor progress and revenue against targets. Throughout the delivery process, resource needs are monitored for current needs and for anticipated potential new projects born out of new requirements which can then be requested using the Resource Management application. Other functionality now available within this module includes Risk Management, Change Management, control of Non-Conformance costs and full Project Schedule capabilities.
The BPM platform, referred to as the ‘BPM Universe’ touches and supports many areas of company operations around the globe, including its development teams in India, as well as suppliers and customers. The universe provides one holistic process/data environment with Single Sign-On across the organization. All NSN employees now benefit from the efficiencies and lowered learning curve of standardized and repeatable workflow processes, managed by exception. Recorded video training files are built into the workflows, known as WALTs (Watch and Learn today) to minimize the overhead of training and to ensure users are able to use existing and new functionality with minimal delay.
Through the cockpits, portals and full reporting portfolio, NSN management now has improved its business-critical decision making based on real-time data.
- “Zeus” has roughly 5,000 users, and about 2,000 logins per week within the BSO division
- “Apollo” has roughly 3,000 users within the Managed Services division
- “Cronos” has 500 permanent logins within the Global Network Implementation Center division, with additional ad-hoc system access
- NSN estimates that by the end of CY 2010, the BPM system as a whole will have between 15,000 to 20,000 users and roughly 5,000 logins per week
The “Athena” application provides a centralized process and tools portal for employees, combining the principles of Process Management with communication, commenting and collaboration. Process and IT owners maintain the data through the coordination and oversight of the BPM Center of Excellence. Athena provides dashboards on the aggregated state of all processes and their related IT tools, with drill-down capability to see the status of a particular process, the individuals responsible for it (and related processes) and a Knowledge Center of materials related to it. Additionally, Athena provides a dedicated Collaboration Area for each process, including discussions and email updates for all users subscribed to that specific process or community. All of the Athena functionality available for processes is also available for related IT tools.
All NSN BPM systems are front-ended by a common LinkedIn/MySpace-like portal called “Hermes.” “Hermes” provides collaboration tools for all BPM users, such as user profiles, communities of interest, and messaging capabilities. For example, “Zeus” users have “MyZeus” areas – an online environment they can design, build, develop, optimize and maintain for work and networking. This includes:
- My Profile (a professional summary and NSN assignment profile, as well as any personal interests or information they wish to share)
- My Network (LinkedIn-like networking and communities of interest)
- My Message Board (a Facebook-like environment with notifications and collaborative messaging within and outside a user’s defined networks)
- My Files (centralized documents and knowledge centers based on user profile)
- My Activities (tasks and assignments from all the dashboards a user has access to)
- “How To” for videos, guides and online Help
The entire BPM Program is driven and orchestrated by one of the most sophisticated BPM Center of Excellence organizations in the BPM industry. It consists of a mature team of 40 people across four dimensions:
- Process Management & Control (overall CoE leadership)
- Demand Management (managing the “bucket list” of business requests), including business analysts who translate the requirements of the business into technical Requirements Specifications which can be used by the developers.
- Build & Deliver, based in the Ukraine, providing fast, agile BPM solutions to the business through efficient development and thorough testing, based on strict development processes and procedures.
- BPM Support (based in India, handles BPM-related user support requests) as well as having the responsibility for Release Management and System Performance and Optimization.
NSN’s BPM CoE exists to ensure that business solutions have the required end-to-end processes built an in effect, and to ensure that there is an effective end-to-end IT landscape in place, with appropriate tools aligned to those operational processes. The CoE staff is divided into specializations according to the primary BPM applications (“Zeus,” “Apollo,” and ”Cronos”). At the most strategic level, the CoE oversees the maturing of NSN’s overall processes, providing documentation and moving those processes into Athena for access by the global organization. The result is robust processes, developed at relatively low-cost, with fast deployment into the business.
When Nick was initially driving “ZEUS” within the Consulting & Systems Integration division only, the primary challenge was to develop and deploy without generating negative attention from IT (with its entrenched reliance on enterprise systems such as SAP) and other business units in the company.
After NSN management saw the success of “Zeus” and began to embrace the value of BPM, the primary challenge shifted to handling the flood of business requests for process improvement solutions. This necessitated a quick ramp-up of BPM expertise and both business and IT representation within a dedicated, and sufficiently staffed, Center of Excellence. Evaluating and prioritizing follow-on BPM solutions, ensuring their successful integration into divisional operations, and promoting those solutions to drive adoption were all crucial elements to the success of the expanding program.< p>
Even with senior leadership buy-in, change management remained an issue across the organization. Moving a global enterprise like NSN towards a process-centric approach is a daunting task. To support the success of the BPM Program, Nick focused on two major campaigns:
- Effective and compelling “marketing” of BPM and the business solutions across division heads and employees
- Effective and accessible training for new BPM system users
Branding the solutions with the Greek god theme names proved catchy and memorable, helping the BPM initiative rise above the rest of the enterprise noise. Creating divisional and regional BPM Champions helped foster awareness. Bringing those Champions together for planning, communications, and brainstorming workshops helped achieve user buy-in and ensure alignment of the program across the complete business – as did regular Steering Board / Change Management Review meetings involving Directors and VPs from across the business. Governance routines are operationalized through repeated communication sessions, the employment of the Champions Community (which is embedded throughout the business), and from having the 100% support of senior management.
System usage among employees was spurred by leveraging the built-in collaboration features of the BPM platform to create personalized user experiences within connected communities of interest. As importantly, a multitude of training resources were made available within each community and for each process (through both “Hermes” and the “Athena” portal). Process supporting brochures and marketing materials are housed within the applications. Touch-points within the workflows explain the processes and provide links to additional materials. Automatic process training (via WebEx sessions) are also available for core processes.
The BPM system provides one single environment from which to drive the entire NSN business. High-level benefits include:
- Workflow management improving process governance and adherence
- Enhanced function inter-working through visibility and taskings (hand-over of responsibilities, transition of files/data, transition of risks/issues)
- E2E Business Visibility through Live Business Dashboards
- Full reporting portfolio in place significantly reducing overhead
- Socio-Business Networking
- Integrated collaboration within the processes
Management of Business Critical Operational Activities which have high customer focus
Building on the calculated business value of the initial roll-out of “Zeus,” NSN estimates that the entire BPM system will generate:
- “ZEUS”: 6M Euros of YoY Productivity savings through reductions in headcount focused on overhead activities as well as freeing up considerable time from the Solution Consultants, Project Managers and Architects to sell, delivery and support customer business. With wider adoption of the Resource Management and Sales modules (expected over the near-term), NSN estimates the cost savings driven by “Zeus” will double, or more.
- “APOLLO”: 1.5M of YoY savings.
- “CRONOS”: Initial quotes from alternate suppliers suggested that to deliver such a solution would cost 1.1M and take 9-12 months to deliver. CRONOS was delivered by the BPM CoE in 3 months at a cost of 60K Euros. Through the use of the existing BPM platform, considerable savings have been made on license and support costs as well as the obvious efficiency savings achieved through automation of manual operational processes. That said, the business value achieved through the increase in the customer perception as a result is almost immeasurable.
Best Practices, Learning Points and Pitfalls
Best Practices and Learning Points
- Ensure that your BPM Program has executive-level sponsorship
- Invest the time and resources needed to create a functional BPM Center of Excellence with representation from both the business and IT
- Create sufficient branding for the solution so that future users can relate / refer to it easily (this enables more effective selling / marketing of the solution)
- Utilize a BPM suite’s built-in collaboration features to create user communities that are invested in using and promoting the solution
- Make sure the underlying technology platform has the integrated functionality you need, combined with ease-of-use to drive adoption
- Having a Project Lead that isn’t 110% committed to delivering the solution and isn’t willing to ‘fight’ to make the solution a success.
- Thinking small. Have a ‘big vision’ even if you start off small!
- Embarking on a BPM project without any BPM experienced personnel within the team (Project Managers / Business Analysts).
- Delivering solutions which are not fully tested can quickly ruin the user perception and can switch them off completely from using the system
- Not obtaining the full buy-in and support from key users or influential business users.
- Trying to deliver a system without senior management buy-in and support;
- Not having the basics of a Centre of Excellence in place which can be ramped up when required:
- Process Management and Communications
- Demand Management
- Delivery Management
- Support Management
- Deploying a system on an network which can’t cope with the demands of the users as this will only annoy/frustrate the user.
NSN’s BPM program has enabled the company to drive significant competitive advantage over its competition. Through optimized pan-organizational processes, with strong governance to ensure employee adoption, NSN has increased the speed and agility of its organization, while also improving the consistency of experience and service it can deliver to customers. NSN management is also now armed with a level of end-to-end business visibility and real-time control over all mission-critical business aspects and resources that surpasses the industry standard. BPM now acts as NSN’s platform for operational business management, and the ongoing optimization/continuous process improvement inherent in the BPM Program will support continued market advantage.
Additionally, NSN is now seen as embracing modern BPMS technology in order to maximize its performance for benefit of the customer which creates an extremely positive perception when associated with its core deliverables.
The Appian BPM Suite is the technology platform for NSN’s BPM program. NSN selected Appian after a thorough vendor evaluation.
NSN was looking for powerful technology, but they were just as focused on working with a vendor who would approach the relationship as a true partnership. Nick Deacon’s BPM vision would take the organization into uncharted waters, and he knew he would need an experienced, committed and patient partner on the journey.
Appian satisfied NSN’s technical criteria based on its comprehensive and natively-integrated capabilities for process, content management, rules, forms/portal, identity management, collaboration, and more. In addition, Appian’s extreme ease-of-use (including tailored user interfaces, personalized portals and information targeting, drag-and-drop process modeling, and ease of user and group administration) was important, as was its flexible architecture (100% web-based with zero client-side downloads, service-oriented architecture and ease of integration). Collaboration and knowledge management are crucial to NSN’s program. The Appian platform acts as the single point of management for processes, process artifacts, stored documents and other electronic content (reports, task lists, images, video), plus associated metadata. Appian allows for the collaborative creation of all process artifacts and electronic data, as well as effective distribution, archiving, and protection. Features such as Single Sign-On throughout the entire system, and native search enhanced by integration with Google Search Appliance further extend the ease-of-use. Users interact with a rule- and role-based portal that facilitates NSN’s need to capture, share and disseminate information in a flexible yet secure environment.
The Technology and Service Providers
Appian is the global innovator in enterprise and on-demand business process management (BPM). Appian provides the fastest way to deploy robust processes, collapsing time to value for new process initiatives. Businesses and governments worldwide use Appian to accelerate process improvement and drive business performance. Appian empowers more than 2.5 million users from large Fortune 100 companies, to the mid-market and small businesses worldwide. Appian is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. region, with professional services and partners around the globe. For more information, visit www.appian.com.
© Copyright: This case study was originally published in the Excellence in Practice series in the book entitled “Delivering BPM Excellence”
Get the complete book in both Digital (download PDF) and Print Editions at http://futstrat.com/books/Delivering_BPM.php published by Future Strategies Inc.