A Word from Our CEO
eBuilder’s CEO, Bengt Wallentin, explains how Cloud Processes for your Value Network can give you a competitive edge in a hyperconnected, complex business environment.
Bengt Wallentin: Not so long ago, you could develop an effective company by focusing on, controlling, and optimizing the production and distribution of the product or service sold, and, more often than not, this production and distribution occurred within the confines of the company itself. In this context, economies of scale leading to cost advantages seemed to support the idea that "big (and centralized) is beautiful," or at least profitable.
But globalization and the drive for product differentiation, as opposed to commoditization, changed this. Globalization and its intensified competition forced companies to concentrate on their "core competencies." This meant that these companies outsourced those activities where partners had greater expertise. For instance, a manufacturer might start collaborating with specialists, for example, subcomponent suppliers, warehouse facilities, services companies, logistics firms, independent repair centers, etc. This interconnected network of cooperating business partners and their relevant IT systems make up the company’s value network, and it includes closely related and essential partners like banks and other financial institutions, tax authorities, etc. The company is now highly dependent on its external partners.
But the gains in expertise and efficiency in the outsourced activities (business processes) were made at the cost of significantly diminished control, manageability, and visibility over the entire flow in the value network from end to end. In other words, the result was diminished control of the value network itself and reduced visibility of the activities carried out inside the value network.
How do you achieve optimum control and efficiency in a value network made up of your partners and their relevant systems? How do you maintain governance in such a network? How can you thoroughly integrate the business processes and systems of all participants and still retain the flexibility needed to deal with a constantly changing business environment?
BW: Today’s business environment is increasingly complex, changeable, and competitive. If your business is highly interconnected and multienterprise; if you collaborate with numerous business partners (your value network) for a significant share of your added value; you know the critical importance of operational, tactical, and strategic management of the business processes in this value network. eBuilder’s Cloud Processes integrate and automate the business processes of the entire Value Network — all the collaborating parties and their relevant systems. This gives you end-to-end control driven by the business logic and rules configured in the Cloud Process. It gives you end-to-end visibility of the entire value network based on real-time information and access to all key master information, whether it resides inside or outside your own organization.
Traditional methods and tools originating from ERP and best of breed initiatives are no longer sufficient to manage the widely distributed, business-critical resources in the value network because they give poor transparency, weak synchronization, and increased costs.
Today, the Internet, business process management (BPM), and integration technology, together with our cloud computing paradigm, constitute a completely new option that enables companies to take control of and manage their value networks. The core enabler is eBuilder’s Cloud Processes, which establish the collaborative format that defines how the participants in the value network will produce added value for their customers and how the added value will be measured, reported, and reimbursed. These cloud processes are connected end to end, and they automate and optimize execution of business processes thousands of times faster than human staff at a fraction of the cost. So the bulk of administrative tasks and critical business logic are handled automatically in seconds with better quality and consistency. These cloud processes enable you to manage business-critical information that lies outside your organization, often information about assets you own but that others control in the value network. Background information (charts of accounts, personal profiles, agreements, service level agreements, etc.) that were scattered throughout your own and other's organizations are now centrally managed and controlled.
What are the concrete advantages of end-to-end integration and automation in the Cloud?
BW: Connecting the value network using eBuilder Cloud Processes leads to dramatic improvements in business performance (where often more than 50% of administrative costs can be eliminated), significantly increased quality and customer satisfaction, and measurably reduced lead times. In general, it lowers costs by 3-15%. Managing complexity is no longer a problem — every step of millions of business transactions can be monitored in real time. The smartest business rules are applied to the specific situation. Easily configurable business logic and central management of business-critical information give you the agility to quickly and effectively react to changes in your business environment.
What is eBuilders track record in this new, fast-developing area?
BW: During the past decade, eBuilder has successfully enabled numerous multinational companies and Nordic public sector organizations to take control of their value chains. Today we serve over 120 customers in over 50 countries. These customers together have over 500,000 end users employed in more than 200 legal entities. They collaborate with more than 5,000 partners in their value networks using 10 languages.
eBuilder is unique in providing a suite of Cloud Processes built on the same technology platform, where the customers leverage the total infrastructure and pay only for their individual use as a transaction fee.
eBuilder focuses on the KPI Return on Assets (ROA), and we deliver best-of-breed Cloud Processes for Travel and Expense Management, Control Towers for Order Fulfillment, After Sales (return logistics), Procurement, and Financial Transactions – all to optimize the return on the critical assets: people, goods, and payments.
eBuilder delivers its Cloud Processes in a standard form – the Community Editions, which are upgraded/improved four times per year based on input from customers and other participants in their value networks. If a customer wants to implement a unique business process, we implement it based on the Community Edition, thus exploiting the advantages of the vigorously reality-tested components of our standard Cloud Process technology.
Bengt Wallentin is Chief Executive Officer of the eBuilder Group. Bengt brings with him more than 30 years of experience in building international technology and services businesses.