Jumpstarting a Business Process Revolution
Colt Telecom Group realized improved transparency and process data quality across the business
COLT has been providing data, voice and managed services to enterprise customers and governments across Europe since 1993, and is known for its commitment to providing excellent service and highly resilient, secure network services.
Thriving in the fast-changing and highly-competitive telecoms marketplace, COLT has grown from being a single city-based network in London to one that covers 13 countries and provides last-mile fibre access to over 16,000 buildings in 34 major cities.
For a company that is continually launching new products and expanding its services, it is essential that COLT’s teams understand its internal processes in order to drive efficiencies and maintain customer satisfaction.
As COLT continued to evolve and build its managed services portfolio, it had to become even more customer-centric and flexible, in order to deliver personalised bundles of services to customers. As a result, the company recognized the need for greater transparency across the company and to capture all core processes in a standard format and in a single place, so they deployed iGrafx® FlowCharter® and iGrafx® Process Central®.
COLT had developed rapidly, in a range of geographies and markets, so many people within the business were developing processes in isolation, without a company-wide methodology or system in place for business process documentation, modelling and management.
Documents tended to be stand alone, and many of the processes captured were in different formats, including Microsoft® Word®, Visio® and Excel® and were stored in a range of places. This meant that any changes to processes had to be updated in multiple documents in many locations, which created a problem with version control between offices and departments and led to a high percentage of COLT’s process documents being out of date at any one time.
"In order to ensure we could continue to deliver first class services to our customers, we knew that there needed to be much greater visibility of what was going on within the business, and an understanding of how processes were structured and worked together was central to that," said Helmut Palz, Senior Programme Manager, Business Process Architecture and Change, at COLT.
In order to achieve its vision, the team knew that COLT needed to implement a single tool across the entire business that would standardise process maps, as well as create a central repository of all linked documentation that would be accessible to whoever needed it within the company.
One critical element of the chosen solution would be the ability to create Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) diagrams, and convert any existing swimlane process maps into BPMN format, as well as it being simple to use and with detailed drill-down functions.
"We had previously stopped the rollout of a similar project because of problems with the reporting functionality and usability," explained Palz. "As a result, we went through a very detailed scoping and selection process, which involved using research from analyst houses like Gartner."
After working through a proof of concept, COLT chose iGrafx Process Central and iGrafx FlowCharter as its tools of choice.
"iGrafx offered everything we needed in order to achieve our goals," said Palz. "Along with the modelling tool and library platform, it also offered BPMN capabilities and there were a range of additional elements and functionality that would prove to be of real benefit as we began to roll out the software and a new Process Modelling Framework around it."
As the software was implemented, COLT’s central Business Processes team of around 15 modelling specialists began working through the company’s processes, following the customer journey—beginning with prospective enquiries, through the order process, to the handover to the customer—rather than along departmental lines, as Palz explained:
"Most of the Business Process Re-engineers are based outside of the headquarters, in various departments so, in order to avoid duplication, we mapped each of the processes in the order that the client would experience the interaction. Using iGrafx, capturing the information was very quick and we have worked through a large portion of the company’s processes in only a short time."
With 40% of the company’s processes mapped over a couple of months using iGrafx, the feedback has been so positive from the management team who, for the first time, can see how processes work as a standalone and integrated with other processes, then drill down to a level of detail that was once unimaginable. There is also a very clear structure for how processes are mapped, developed, updated and changes approved.
"Many managers have been surprised," said Palz. "Often not having fully appreciated what was happening outside of their departments, they can now see exactly how processes work and where changes should be made. The fact that everything is standardised also means that there is consistency and a new-found transparency across the many process areas in the business."
"The appetite within the business to use the tool is constantly growing," added Palz. And we are now also considering using iGrafx for our BPO activities."
In addition to the process maps being stored centrally using iGrafx Process Central, the COLT team has also added hundreds of associated documents to the central library and linked back to the maps, all of which are now available to more than 4,600 employees across the company via its intranet, as Palz said:
"When employees open their browser—whether they be in Europe or India—it automatically logs them into the company intranet. From the start page, they can easily access the process maps by using a shortcut to what we call the ‘COLT Workflow and Process Library’—and that’s all done using Process Central."
"Not only has iGrafx allowed us to significantly improve the quality of our process documentation, it’s also a key stepping stone in helping everyone within the company to understand how processes work and where improvements can be made, helping us offer customers new and innovative services, whilst maintaining our reputation for quality and service," concluded Palz.