Capgemini: The Cloud's Silver Lining – Tony Kelly and Jon Bell
Managing business processes via the cloud is gaining momentum as IT becomes more like a utility and CFOs embrace pay-per-use pricing to reduce CAPEX. Capgemini's head of innovation, Tony Kelly, and chief technology officer for BPO, Jon Bell, explain how BPO engagements can harness the power of the cloud and deliver business impact.
Leveraging the availability of the internet is inherent in the cloud value proposition, as it enables flexible working, allows for better disaster recovery plans and lowers the cost of IT. For Capgemini BPO, the cloud helps facilitate its 'right-shore' approach, lowers the cost of delivery and provides clients with richer, contemporary solutions.
In February 2011, the firm announced that it is among the first providers to be globally certified in both SAP hosting and cloud services, and now offers global cloud services for SAP solutions on a user-based consumption model. By providing on-demand access to a pool of configurable infrastructure resources, services can be promptly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.
"The combination of a BPO delivery model with cloud technology produces a lighter and more agile solution, which is attractive to our clients," says Tony Kelly, head of innovation at Capgemini BPO.
From a business-impact perspective, the cloud provides greater expediency. "Within our core process areas of BPO, we are looking to build end-to-end platform delivery solutions where we combine the business process with technology enablers," notes Jon Bell, Capgemini's chief technology officer for BPO. "We're finding that having that ability to put process and technology together, and offer it as a service, gives us a much more appealing offering for CFOs."
Bell adds that users of cloud technology enjoy the benefit of a fully hosted application that includes upgrades and maintenance. "Also, the level of security we can provide through our private cloud and technology layers is comprehensive and over-resilient," he adds. "The benefits are simple deployment, ease of use, reduced cost of deployment, and the agility and speed of set-up."
Transport Management Systems
Traditionally delivered 'on premises', firms that need effective and efficient TMS are increasingly seeking to leverage internet technologies using a SaaS approach as an alternative. Capgemini draws on partnerships with leading software providers such as SAP and Oracle to provide TMS for businesses, helping clients to understand their transport network and make it work more efficiently. The company recently won a seven-year contract with Nokia Siemens Networks and is currently managing end-to-end processes in their supply chain, using SaaS technology in the solution.
Business intelligence and analytics
Business intelligence and analytics to extract insight from core data-processing services are key capabilities of Capgemini BPO. The firm's command centre solution offers a global view of geographically dispersed customer interactions and enterprise-wide insights into operational and customer trends. It has built cloud technology into the delivery architecture for command and control; for example, it deploys GoodData, which provides a full-function business intelligence tool via a SaaS model.
BPO sustainability services
A core capability of Capgemini's supply chain services line is its BPO sustainability offering for energy, carbon and sustainability data management. In partnership with CA Technologies, it offers an outsourced data management service. Enabled by CA Technologies' ecoSoftware tool and hosted in the cloud, it provides a cost-effective and reliable solution for global sustainability management programmes. This is a light, agile service for sustainability data management and reporting, which provides both back-office BPO services and a market-leading SaaS technology platform in a single bundle.
Capgemini combines its standardised global process model with cloud-based technology platforms such as its IBX SaaS platform, which it believes significantly lowers procurement costs, accelerates the return on sourcing cost-savings, and enhances the visibility and control of the procurement process. In 2010, Capgemini entered into a multi-year agreement with Kraft Foods to support the organisation's procurement operations in the US.
Finance and accounting
Capgemini works to enhance finance and accounting operations by providing end-to-end process services, such as order-to-cash (O2C) and source-to-pay, and by building on-demand components for the key sub-processes, including accounts payable and accounts receivable.
A recent addition to the Capgemini O2C value proposition is WebCollect, a highly automated, cloud-based cash-management tool developed by collections specialists Vengroff Williams & Associates. Analyst reports have shown the tool to have a positive impact on days sales outstanding, turnaround time for deductions and adjustments, as well as reduced unapplied cash and delinquency rates.