Using EIM to Realize Immediate Impact
Using EIM to Realize Immediate Impact
Over the long haul, EIM can support customer service and regulatory compliance, help companies identify new marketing opportunities, improve processes, and even detect fraud. But in the short term, I've outlined three key strategies in which companies can use EIM to realize immediate impact, while laying the foundation for a larger, more robust information management system in the future.
Strategy No. 1: Delay ERP projects
Companies rely on ERP systems to streamline core activities, consolidate data, and enhance visibility into key operations. But the average cost of an ERP expansion can run as high as $1.5 million.
Instead of upgrading your ERP, consider small-scope projects that can achieve similar benefits. For instance, if you wanted better consolidated data, ask yourself, "What are the five most important questions that this ERP upgrade would help me to answer?" Then, to answer those questions, invest some money-much less than your ERP upgrade-in software and processes for data quality, integration, and business intelligence (BI).
Strategy No. 2: Automate processes to increase workplace productivity
According to the International Society for Automation (ISA), automating a process alone increases efficiency 1 to 2 percent annually. But enriching the same automated process with real-time information yields an additional 3 to 5 percent improvement.
So, find one valuable transaction within your company: maybe your ERP system's "insert purchase order" transaction. Then, publish an event that contains that transaction plus cleansed, standardized business data enriched with the latest data about that purchaser. Finally, have one application (for example, your CRM) subscribe to this event stream for real-time updates. This will minimize manual data re-entry and make a noticeable difference in staff productivity.
The transaction doesn't have to be from the ERP system, either. Publishing an event from the corporate Website or a business-to-business transaction, and then tying that event into other applications will eliminate manual data entry work. It will also enhance information accuracy, yielding higher productivity for users.
Strategy No. 3: Avoid complex BPM deployments
The average cost of a business process management (BPM) project can be between $250,000 and $500,000 in licensing fees, application and database servers, internal staffing costs and training expenses. To be successful, BPM deployments require business-level services, as in service-oriented architecture (SOA)-not consulting. Their interfaces use only business-level data, without reference to proprietary applications.
Consider implementing a few key services (maybe "check claims status" if a lot of applications need claims information) as a temporary measure. Then you can call them from the company's current applications, portals, BI and reporting environments, and other technologies. You'll gain a lot of efficiencies in the short run and you'll accelerate your BPM implementation down the road.
These three projects are small by design. They have to be so that you can implement them without spending a lot of money. But they focus on improving and using the data you already collect, which will save time and money in the short term while getting you ready for longer-term benefits as well.
Jake Freivald is the Vice President of Data Strategies for Information Builders (and iWay Software, an Information Builders company). Jake joined Information Builders in 1999 as a product manager where he supported cross-platform product development and deployment. During his career, Jake has held several managerial positions with Andersen Consulting and Prudential Life Insurance Company of America. He also served in the United States Marine Corps as a Signals Intelligence Officer at First Radio Battalion. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.