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D-GEM: Capgemini’s Answer to the Problem of Scaling Automation

Finance & accounting is at the forefront of the application of RPA, with organizations attracted by its high volumes of transactional activity. Consequently, activities such as the movement and matching of data within purchase-to-pay have been a frequent start-point for organizational automation initiatives.

Organizations starting on RPA are initially faced with the challenges of understanding RPA tools and approaches and typically lack the internal skills necessary to undertake automation initiatives. Once these skills have been acquired, RPA is then often applied in a piecemeal fashion, with each use case considered by a governance committee on its own merits. However, once a number of deployments have been achieved, organizations then look to scale their automation initiatives across the finance function and are confronted by the sheer complexity, and impossibility, of managing the scaling of automation while maintaining a ‘piecemeal’ approach. At this point, organizations realize they need to modify their approach to automation and adopt a guiding framework and target operating model if they are to scale automation successfully across their finance & accounting processes.

In response to these needs, Capgemini has introduced its Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM to assist organizations in scaling automation across processes such as finance & accounting more rapidly and effectively.

Introducing D-GEM

The basic premise behind D-GEM is that organizations need both a vision and a detailed roadmap if they are to scale their application of automation successfully. Capgemini is taking an automation-first approach to solutioning, with the client vision initially developed in “Five Senses of Intelligent Automation” workshops. Here, Capgemini runs workshops for clients to demo the various technologies and the possibilities from automation, and to establish their new target operating model taking into account:

  • The key outcomes sought within finance & accounting under the new target operating model. For example, key outcomes sought could be reduced DSO, increased working capital, and reduced close days
  • How the existing processes could be configured and connected better using “five senses”:
    • Act (RPA)
    • Think (analytics)
    • Remember (knowledge base)
    • Watch (machine vision & machine learning)
    • Talk (chatbot technology).

However, while the vision, goals, and technology are important, implementing this target operating model at scale requires an understanding of the underlying blueprint, and here Capgemini has developed D-GEM as the “practitioners’ guidebook, a repository showing (e.g., for finance & accounting) what can be achieved and how to achieve it at a granular level (process level 4).

D-GEM essentially aims to provide the blueprint to support the use of automation and deliver the transformation. It is now being widely used within Capgemini and is being made available not just to the company’s BPO clients but for wider application by non-BPO clients within their SSCs and GBS organizations.

From GEM to D-GEM

Capgemini’s original GEM (Global Enterprise Model) was used for solutioning and driving transformation within BPO clients prior to the advent of intelligent automation technologies. Its transformation focus was on improving the end-to-end process and eliminating exceptions. It aimed to introduce best-in-class processes while optimizing the location mix and improving domain competencies and reflected the need to drive standardization and lean processes to deliver efficiency.

While the focus of D-GEM remains the introduction of “best-in-class” processes, best-in-class has now been updated to take into account Intelligent Automation technologies, and the transformation focus has changed to the application of automation to facilitate best-in-class. For example, industrialization of the inputs needs to be taken into account at an early stage if downstream processes are to be automated at scale. Alongside the efficiency focus on eliminating waste, it also looks to use technology to improve the user experience. For instance, rather than eliminating non-standard reporting as has often been a focus in the past, deployment of reporting tools and services on top of standardized inputs and data can enhance the user experience by allowing them to produce their own one-off reports based on consistent and accurate information.

D-GEM provides a portal for practitioners using the same seven levers as GEM, namely:

  • Grade Mix
  • Location Mix
  • Competencies
  • Digital Global Process Model
  • Technology
  • Pricing and Cost Allocations
  • Governance.

However, the emphasis within each of these levers has now changed, as explained in the following sections.

Role of the Manager Changes from Managing Throughput to Eliminating Exceptions

Within Grade Mix, Capgemini evaluates the impact of automation on the grade mix, including how to increase the manager’s span of control by adding bots as well as people, how to use knowledge to increase the capability at different grades, and how to optimize the team structure.

Under D-GEM, the role of the manager fundamentally changes. With the emphasis on automation-first, the primary role of the manager is now to assist the team in eliminating exceptions rather than managing the throughput of team members. Essentially, managers now need to focus on changing the way invoices are processed rather than managing the processing of invoices.

The needs of the agents also change as the profile of work changes with increased levels of task automation. Typically, agents now need to have a level of knowledge that will enable them to act as problem-solvers and trainers of bots. Millennials typically have great problem-solving skills, and Capgemini is using Transversal and the process knowledge base within D-GEM to skill people up faster and ensure Process Champions are growing within each delivery team, so knowledge management tools have a key role to play in ensuring that knowledge is effectively dispersed and able junior team members can expand their responsibility more quickly.

The required changes in competency are key considerations within digital transformations, and it is important to understand how the competencies of particular roles or grades change in response to automation and how to ensure that the workforce knows how automation can enrich and automate their capabilities.

The resulting team structure is often portrayed as a diamond. However, Capgemini believes it is important not to end up with a top-heavy organization as a result of process automation. The basic pyramid structure doesn’t necessarily change, but the team now includes an army of robots, so while the span of managers will typically be largely unchanged in terms of personnel, they are now additionally managing bots. In addition, tools such as Capgemini’s “prompt” facilitate the management of teams across multiple locations.

Within Location Mix, as well as evaluating that the right processes are in the right locations and how the increased role of automation impacts the location mix, it is now important to consider how much work can be transitioned to a Virtual Delivery Center.

Process & Technology Roadmaps Remain Important

Within Digital Global Process Model, D-GEM provides a roadmap for best-practice processes powered by automation with integrated control and performance measures. Capgemini firmly believes that if an organization is looking to transform and automate at scale, then it is important to apply ESOAR (eliminate, standardize, optimize, automate, and then apply RPA and other intelligent automation technologies) first, not just RPA.

Finance & accounting processes haven’t massively changed in terms of the key steps, but D-GEM now includes a repository for each process, based on ESOAR, which shows which steps can be eliminated, what can be standardized, how to optimize, how to automate, how to robotize, and how to add value.

Within the Technology lever, D-GEM then provides a framework for identifying suitable technologies and future-proofing technology. It also indicates what technologies could potentially be applied to each process tower, showing a “five senses” perspective. For example, Capgemini is now undertaking some pilots applying blockchain to intercompany accounting to create an internal network. Elsewhere, for one German organization, Capgemini has applied Tradeshift and RPA on top of the organization’s ERP to achieve straight-through processing.

In addition, as would be expected, D-GEM includes an RPA catalog, listing the available artifacts by process, together with the expected benefits from each artifact, which greatly facilitates the integration of RPA into best practices.

Governance is also a critical part of transformation, and the Governance lever within D-GEM suggests appropriate structures to drive transformation, what KPIs should be used to drive performance, and how roles in the governance model change in the new digital environment.

Summary

Overall, D-GEM has taken Capgemini’s Global Enterprise Model and updated it to address the world of digital transformation, applying automation-first principles. While process best practice remains key, best practice is now driven by a “five senses” perspective and how AI can be applied in an interconnected fashion across processes such as finance and accounting.

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