Tap Into Your Managed Services Provider to Consistently Innovate
by Ken Neal
October 2, 2020
Most leading companies have a clear commitment to driving innovation in their business processes. Their ongoing goals include reducing costs, as well as streamlining operational efficiency and reducing cycle time in areas ranging from accounts payable to warehouse and distribution activities. What some business leaders may not realize, however, is that innovation need not be limited to internal initiatives.
With the right innovation partner, companies can build a future-ready workforce, reimagine business processes, and make smart technology investments that will support them throughout their innovation journeys. Often, though, business leaders identify an outsourcing partner with a narrow focus on cost and labor issues. It can take years of lost opportunity before they realize that their partner is not providing creative, advanced solutions to prepare them for the future. By identifying and partnering with the right managed services provider, organizations can benefit from a broad range of expertise not available inside their walls.
The right partner for innovation takes a holistic approach, focusing on three key pillars: people, process and technology. Using these foundational pieces, such a partner can help you to explore new ideas and identify opportunities at every level of the organization.
Rightsizing Your Workforce
To advance your new initiatives and consequently the business, you need the right people in the right place, working on the right tasks. An unbiased view of how work gets done today can help you find better ways to solve the constant challenges you face caused by changing market conditions.
The right managed services provider both applies innovation to and creates innovation from these challenges. By leveraging expertise from a variety of industries, managed services providers can offer the kind of partnership that can bring fresh perspectives to talent assessment, help you dive deep into your people’s skills and build strategies to close gaps. They can also help you integrate a blended workforce of contingent labor, consultants, contractors and vendors to take over non-core activities such as document scanning or data entry. This frees up your talent to better concentrate on future-focused, high-impact activity.
Many businesses struggle to innovate because they find themselves applying the same old processes to new business demands or opportunities. As transformative leaders know, a resistance to process change across the organization can be costly. The best innovators reassess goals and strategies on an iterative basis, which builds the muscle of agility within the organization, allows for the capture of new ideas or changes in the marketplace, and creates pivot points for process improvement.
Although many managed services partners help refine existing processes, an innovative partner can help you reimagine those processes altogether. For example, innovation-driven providers will have a depth and breadth of experience—gained by working with others in your industry—to help you plan appropriately for process changes. They can take an objective view of an existing process and use practice-tested methodologies to create a new, more efficient and potentially automated process. They’ll also be able to provide the transparency you need to align all of the stakeholders, helping ensure that your new initiatives meet their benchmarks and add measurable value to your business as intended.
Innovating with Technology
For many organizations, new technologies are the hallmark of innovation. But companies that are undergoing digital transformation often spend millions on emerging technologies without the right expertise to fully leverage their capability.
Having the right managed services partner can help you make the smartest, most targeted technology investment for where you are today and where you hope to go. This is where the “managed” portion of the managed services provider comes from. The right partner will help you identify opportunities to leverage automation and implement such solutions as document scanning and digital mail, which can yield significant business benefits.
In addition to simply streamlining a process, the right partner creates a plan to build on your innovation. Once basic workflows are automated (often processes that are manually repetitive and paper based), your organization can enhance operational efficiency by considering more advanced approaches including robotic process automation (RPA), performance management analytics and reporting, and workplace experience services. These are the kinds of solutions that can enable your organization to continually evolve and grow in the days ahead.
Case History: Teaming with a Managed Services Provider to Innovate
Let’s look at a brief example of how effective partnering can yield substantial business benefits. A major North American insurance company had a business process outsourcing program and a services provider helping them maintain document management services. Over time, the company decided it needed a new partner in order to make significant investments in growing the outsourcing program and improving operational performance.
The firm engaged Canon Business Process Services to transform the program via our holistic approach to people, processes and technology. As the insurer’s new partner, we introduced a phased methodology. The first phase, which comprised a special focus on the “people” element, included deploying an experienced workforce to take over existing document management processes―spanning such areas as mail, print and office services.
The next phase, which emphasized the “process” component, involved exploring process automation opportunities in areas such as document imaging and leveraging Canon’s Digital Intake Center solution (i.e. digitizing and distributing mail electronically so organizations can virtually eliminate fine mail-sorting and distribution costs).
The third phase highlighted the technology pillar. It included considering such innovations as robotic process automation (RPA) and consolidating technical operations into regional hubs, potentially utilizing the flexible onsite/offsite/offshore service delivery capabilities of Canon’s Business Processing Centers.
As these solutions are deployed, opportunities to innovate have presented themselves rapidly. Mail and print management helped to create a centralized system for digital documents, which meant that fewer resources were necessary to maintain the same level of specialized printing. Digitizing mail with Canon’s Digital Intake Center and implementing our Workplace Experience Services enabled the company to foster a more operationally efficient and agile, open work environment. Thus transformed, the corporate ecosystem can fully leverage Canon BusinessInsights, our analytics and reporting tool, to monitor performance management trends and measure process effectiveness. As a result, the company is projected to save millions of dollars annually and is now in a position to capture innovation whenever the opportunity arises.
This story demonstrates the ways in which the right partner can drive innovation across an organization by leveraging the three pillars of people, process and technology. By digitally transforming work, eliminating manual and repetitive tasks, fostering a culture of agility, and freeing up creative space for new ideas, Canon helped the insurer realize significant gains. These include an enhanced ability to attract and retain top talent, devote more time and resources to profit-driving initiatives, and prepare for what’s next.
That’s innovation in action.