Schneider Electric Energizes Employee Services with Smarter Request Management

Organizations constantly change: they add and drop product lines, acquire other companies, divest business units, and expand into new markets or countries.

The true measure of any enterprise technology is not whether it can merely adapt to such changes, but also enable continual improvement,  both operationally and in employee experience.

Schneider Electric call deflection savingsWhen Schneider Electric launched an initiative to upgrade its employee services request portal, it put its request management software to the test. Here’s the company’s story.

Schneider Electric is a global organization with more than 170,000 employees in 134 countries, supplying a wide range of business and residential energy products and services.

Continue reading “Schneider Electric Energizes Employee Services with Smarter Request Management”

Fairfax County Public Schools Make the Grade with Improved Service Delivery

While no one enjoys having the “flow” of their work interrupted by a technology problem, that situation is especially vexing for teachers; a glitch can throw off not just their schedule, but that of the whole class.

Fairfax County Public Schools Improves IT Service DeliverySo when tech issues do occur, teachers need to be able to report incidents quickly, have confidence that the problem will be fixed promptly, and get back to their students.

Recognizing the challenges in the classroom, the IT staff at Fairfax County Public Schools first moved their services online in 2007. But this early system still relied on manual steps and paper-based approval processes.

Continue reading “Fairfax County Public Schools Make the Grade with Improved Service Delivery”

What’s New on Kinetic Community – October 2014

Kinetic Community is the information and interaction hub for users of Kinetic Data software. It’s the place to find and discuss product documentation, videos, presentations, training class materials, downloads, example service items, task handlers, bundles, bridges and more–as well as presentations and training materials from the 2014 Kinetic Enthusiasts Group (KEG) event.

Kinetic Community
Here is what’s new on the site since our last blog update: Continue reading “What’s New on Kinetic Community – October 2014”

Using Kinetic Task with the Internet of Things

by Kelly Heikkila

Kinetic Task is a proven, powerful workflow automation tool used by some of the world’s largest enterprises. From simple approvals to complex employee onboarding processes, Kinetic Task enables agile process management in an often rigid world.

With the release of Kinetic Task 4.0 this fall, we wanted to expand the reach of application integration while making it easier to use for both process authors and administrators. This means that triggering processes from Salesforce.com or JIRA or ServiceNow is as easy as triggering a process from our own Kinetic Request service request portal application. The same open architecture that has always powered our task handlers for outbound connectors is now also available inbound from nearly any triggering application. This opens up a world of new opportunities.

Automatic and Kinetic Task for the Internet of Things IoT Continue reading “Using Kinetic Task with the Internet of Things”

Show Me the Money! How to Calculate ERM Cost Savings

Enterprise request management (ERM) is an approach to service delivery that combines an intuitive Web portal with a back-end automation engine to accelerate fulfillment, enabling workers to request any type of service, equipment, or resource via a single intelligent interface, anytime, from any device.

The ERM model reduces service delivery costs and delights users while leveraging much of the technology you already have in place. And it empowers IT professionals to be heroes to the business.

ERM-Cost-ReductionOther key benefits of an ERM implementation include:

  • Service standardization
  • Reduced delivery time
  • Reduced risk
  • Improved visibility into service delivery
  • Overall process improvement

But how do you go about proving the value—making the financial case for implementing an ERM strategy?

A new document from Kinetic Data, Process Efficiencies with Kinetic Request: An executive view of the benefits and financial impact of enterprise request management, details the financial value of ERM, how to calculate cost savings, and other factors to take into account when evaluating the financial benefits of this approach.

With ERM, employees can request any “thing” they need to do their jobs, regardless of which internal service group (IT, HR, facilities, finance, legal, etc.) provides that item or service. Productivity as well as user experience are improved because employees have only one (easy) system to use for requesting any type of service, instead of needing to know who provides what and navigating multiple different online (and sometimes paper-based) request processes.

Back-end workflow processes (approvals, scheduling, fulfillment) are automated using orchestration engine software. This process automation reduces costs, eliminates manual efforts, accelerates service delivery, and improves process quality. Process owners can define their own “service items,” mapping and testing task workflows before putting them into production.

ERM is especially valuable for managing complex processes that cross functional boundaries, such as new employee onboarding. Though not required, ERM most often begins with an IT service catalog implementation, then is gradually expanded to other shared services groups.

The document also explains how Kinetic Request and Kinetic Task can enable organizations to implement effective ERM strategies that are scalable, flexible and manageable. For example, according to Gartner, 85% of business processes are initiated by a form. Yet research shows that up to 40% of submitted forms contain missing information that must be manually corrected. By pre-populating forms with “known” information (based on login), presenting questions dynamically (that is, follow-on questions can change based on previous responses), and validating all input, Kinetic Request dramatically reduces the need for manual information correction.

To demonstrate the potential financial value of ERM to your management team, download Process Efficiencies with Kinetic Request: An executive view of the benefits and financial impact of enterprise request management. If your team isn’t familiar with ERM, ask them to watch the movie first.

Next steps:

Enterprise Service Integration: It’s Not Just About Data

In today’s complex technology landscape, organizations are challenged to consistently improve service delivery while reducing costs. The competitive marketplace requires enterprises to have the agility to address changing business needs quickly and effectively.

Enterprise service integration with Kinetic TaskShared-service models are the corporate norm in efforts to scale service delivery models. These shared service groups (e.g., HR, facilities, finance, operations, and IT) are using large-scale software systems designed to handle specialized requirements while meeting compliance and regulatory needs.

There is an evolving demand for integrated automation strategies to provide key business services across the enterprise. It’s not just about integrating data, it’s about delivering effective service.

A new white paper from Kinetic Data, Enterprise Service Integration with Kinetic Task, explains why service integration is a better approach than data integration, and outlines how the Kinetic Task automation engine enables service integration across the enterprise in a scalable, flexible, and manageable manner.

Long gone are the days of “single vendor” solutions for management and control across the enterprise. Organizations today utilize specialized applications for finance and accounting, HR, IT service management, supply chain management, and other functions. These applications not only come from different vendors, but often run on different operating systems, on different hardware, on-premises or in the cloud.

Point-to-point data integration is one approach to connecting applications, but is difficult to scale and nightmarish to maintain.

Allowing specialized applications to be used in a service-oriented architecture (SOA) is widely regarded as a better approach. By providing a centralized hub for service design and integration, companies benefit in several ways.  Integrations are now manageable, centralized, and standardized across the enterprise. Not only can data be integrated across systems, but approvals, notifications, and messaging can be centrally managed via a workflow automation engine.

Kinetic Task can connect to any application or database to extend the benefits of BPA to any processes across the enterprise. The engine is designed to be extended not only to COTS systems but to any system that can communicate via common methodologies such as APIs, Web Services, REST, or SOAP. This strategy applies to both triggering systems and systems involved in the fulfillment or completion of the process.

Download the white paper Enterprise Service Integration with Kinetic Task to learn more.

What’s New in Kinetic Task 3.0

Ben Christenson, one of the primary architects and developers for Kinetic Task,  is presenting “What’s New in Kinetic Task 3.0” today at the 2nd annual KEG (Kinetic Enthusiasts Group) Conference.  For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Denver event, here are  some highlights of his presentation.

One of the biggest questions we got during KEG 2012 was: “When can I use Kinetic Task to automate workflows outside of Kinetic Request?” The answer is right now with the release of Kinetic Task 3.0.

We’ve  always had the long-term goal of making the Kinetic Task engine a kind of platform- and application-agnostic enterprise “glue”  that provided a modular approach to workflow automation anywhere in  the enterprise where automation could deliver real benefits.  Our initial focus was on ITSM service request automation delivered through a Kinetic Request management portal.  (That’s why we bundled Kinetic Task with Kinetic Request.)  But interest at KEG 2012 in bringing  the power of the Kinetic Task automation engine to other parts of the enterprise was so strong  that we vowed to make Kinetic Task work with any application by the time KEG 2013 rolled around.

And I  mean any application. Or at least any application that can trigger a call back into Kinetic Task based on some event, like a new or updated field in an application database, and automatically launch a task tree.  The user experience won’t change. Task trees will still be built and processes configured in the same ways.  But now tasks can be triggered from any application, not just Kinetic Request.  That includes home-grown applications, which can be configured with Task Handlers and linked to  Kinetic Task through an improved  API.

So what can you now do with Task 3.0?   When  users learn of Kinetic Task’s radically expanded functionality, their imaginations ran riot.  Just think of it—simplified business process automation in any nook and cranny of the enterprise where, in the past,  the cost of the development effort couldn’t be justified.  In HR, facilities management, sales and marketing, finance, logistics, operations, and customer service (indeed, just about any area of the business), you can leverage your familiarity with  Kinetic Task to build automated  workflows.

Kinetic Task Workflow Automation Engine
Several other enhancements have been  made in Kinetic Task 3.0, including an improved API, easier installation, an improved admin console, and changes to Kinetic Security Language (KSL) to create a powerful new strategy for implementing business-logic-driven security policies. But the real difference is summarized by the slide above. Before, Kinetic Task only accepted input from Kinetic Request.  Now, Kinetic Task 3.0 , which is still packaged with Kinetic Request but also available independently, has  been opened up to allow any external source to start a task tree. That means it can backend any data source. And it can deliver process automation anywhere you want using the Kinetic Task knowledge and skills you already have.

Get in touch with me (Ben. Christenson[AT]KineticData.com) if you want to learn more.

Service Provider Innovation – Three Easy Pieces

Industry analysts covering service providers at Gartner and Forrester Research monitor the evolving structure of outsourcing deals on a constant basis. These analysts report an interesting trend – innovation is included as a deliverable in an increasing number of deals.

What can a service provider do to ensure a constant stream of innovations that can be delivered to their clients?

There are three related pieces to address this that service providers using Kinetic Request bundled with Kinetic Task can adopt. The first is re-purposing service items developed for other clients, demonstrations, trade conferences, RFPs, etc. In our last service provider blog post on enterprise value, we explored the enterprise value that accrues to service providers by capturing, replicating, and re-deploying useful service items. Service items configured using Kinetic Data’s architecture contain a task tree that is a visible representation of the actual service item. It is abstracted from the branding and theming so as to be re-usable and is portable (see series of blogs on Service Item Portability) so it can run in any BMC Remedy environment version 6 or greater. Inventions designed for one purpose or client can be captured, re-branded, zipped up, installed, tested, and registered for another client. Innovation number one.

Service Innovation GoalsIn a related move, an existing service item can be cloned and modified, creating a new innovation. An example of this might be to add a robust approval process for service/product requests that goes down different paths based on data collected such as dollar amounts or urgency. A well planned master library will include this approval process as a task handler that can be pulled into any service item, connected, configured, tested, zipped up, installed and registered as a new service item. Innovation number two.

Since Kinetic Data service items are made up of configuration data with no programming change to the underlying service platform source code, playing with, testing, and experimenting are encouraged and do not pose a risk. This kind of sense and respond innovation can happen reactively or proactively without the time, cost and risk of programming. Service innovators need only a business process analyst level of familiarity in order to sense and respond their way to new service items. Innovation number three.

Service innovation can come in many forms. Having a configuration driven, portable approach with an eye towards re-using service items and their component parts to modify existing service items is one easy way to achieve your service innovation goals one piece at a time.