The Hackett Group Names 2020 Digital Award Winners for Analytics, Automation, AI and Digital Transformation

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Sarah Fane
Head of Research, sharedserviceslink
Jun 10, 2020

The Hackett Group recently announced the winners of its 2020 Digital Awards, which spotlight companies that are on the cutting edge of digital business practice. This year’s winners are IBM (artificial intelligence), Deutsche Telekom Services Europe (DTSE) (automation), DBS Bank (digital transformation), and Genpact, in collaboration with the Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team (analytics).

The 2020 winners used an array of innovative digital solutions to drive performance and agility. IBM used artificial intelligence (AI) to create a lead-to-cash system that leverages machine learning to streamline the sales cycle and increase revenue. Deutsche Telekom’s source-to-pay solution relied on robotic process automation (RPA), process mining, enhanced core systems and more to streamline its procure-to-pay process, generating dramatic savings. DBS Bank transformed multiple aspects of its business with digital technology, ranging from AI-powered workforce planning during the COVID-19 crisis to enhanced customer service for its commercial banking customers to improve customer satisfaction and revenue generation. Finally, Genpact and the Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team used advanced analytics and algorithms to provide the team with an AI-based scenario engine to give drivers superior insight, support race strategy, and optimize efficient energy management.

In addition, three companies were named as finalists in the competition: Nationwide Insurance, ABB, and Infosys BPM.

“In today’s exceptionally challenging business climate, companies are laser-focused on improving effectiveness, efficiency, and user experience. At the same time they need to become more agile, flexible, and resilient. This year’s Digital Award winners and finalists show how these goals can be met with digital transformation. They are the pioneers of a new mantra for these times – the need to deliver more, for less,” said Paul Morrison, Managing Director, The Hackett Group.

“Each year, our Digital Awards provides a snapshot of how businesses are building digital ways of working into their operations. For 2020, the quality and sophistication of the solutions was markedly greater than in previous years,” Morrison explained. “Many of the technologies at work here -- in particular the ‘3As’ of automation, AI, and analytics – have now proven themselves in the marketplace. Companies are now taking the next step, moving beyond pilots and stand-alone applications to truly embed them across end-to-end business processes. With increasingly bold strides they are changing the way they operate, and the way they compete. We congratulate our winners and finalists for their impressive efforts, and are excited to see what companies will do with these technologies in the years to come,” said Morrison.

IBM - Lead-to-Cash Transformation Powered by AI – AI Winner

IBM’s Lead-to-Cash transformation initiative is designed to offer a fully cognitive-enabled sales experience through the use of embedded AI (including IBM Watson technology), natural language processing, and advanced analytics. The initiative has three major elements. BlueSeller is an intelligent virtual assistant that guides and coaches sellers and support teams through the entire sales process. WinSights is an AI-driven cognitive solution that enables sellers to build customized proposals. Finally, IBM’s Contract Language Analyser helps intelligently identify and mitigate risks associated with the language used in the contracts to prevent revenue leakage.

These projects generated an ROI of more than 13x, largely due to reduced cycle time. BlueSeller has additional revenue by providing faster answers to sellers, enabling IBM to close more deals. WinSights has resulted in higher win rates, faster execution and lower costs on qualified opportunities, a dramatic reduction in cycle times, and higher quality of client proposals. The Contract Language Analyser has helped IBM improve the quality of contracts being signed, resulting in higher client satisfaction and a reduction in the number of projects with profit erosion.

Deutsche Telekom Services Europe SE - Transforming Procure-to-Pay into a Source-to-Pay Solution Provider – Automation Winner

The objective for Deutsche Telekom Services Europe (DTSE) was to implement a holistic transformation of its procure-to-pay process, which was highly manual and lacking in standardization, transparency, and customer-centricity. The challenge was to decrease costs, increase quality and customer satisfaction, and simultaneously find new revenue streams and growth areas.

Through a combination of robotic process automation (RPA), process mining, data analytics, chatbots, and more, DTSE achieved a comprehensive transformation. One key element was Nelson, an intelligent chatbot that can simulate a human negotiation agent. Nelson included a natural language interface, supervised learning capability, and long-tail price optimization. Suppliers agreed to Nelson’s proposals 30% of the time, and it achieved an average 7.4% discount on its negotiations.

SAP ARIBA enabled Deutsche Telekom Services Europe to create a fully digital and truly transparent procure-to-pay process, managing more than 8,000 suppliers, enabling savings of more than one million euros in 2019, and reducing lead time by five days. The AI Incubator also helped DTSE grow its artificial intelligence and analytics initiatives and build bridges across service lines to identify new use cases and scale existing ones. In addition, machine learning systems were built to identify invoices that were not related to a purchase order.

To improve customer experience, DTSE used natural language processing to run qualitative analyses of written feedback from customers, enabling them to identify problems and analyze sentiment.

The transformation initiative led Deutsche Telekom Services Europe to become a top performer and generated €10 million in annual savings. In addition, sustainability improvements could be realized due to an elimination of more than 600,000 pages of paper invoices annually.

Genpact & Envision Virgin Racing - Augmented Intelligence in Energy Optimization: How to Win a Race Using Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics – Analytics Winner

Formula E racing, which features high-speed all-electric cars, offers a unique challenge – 24 teams compete in a 45-minute + 1 lap race with a finite amount of battery power at speeds of up to 170 mph. Energy optimization is critical, and teams must both watch the clock and the number of laps remaining. To address this challenge, Genpact developed a Lap Estimate Optimizer (LEO) with the Envision Virgin Racing Team. LEO, deployed in mid-2019, is designed to complement existing systems to support the Race Team in improving its algorithms to enable deeper analysis, enhancing how the Team predicts the number of laps within a race and ultimately to ensure optimization of available energy from the battery and powertrain.

LEO provides Envision Virgin Racing with superior insights for every race, so it can make better decisions when a safety car pauses a race, weather changes, track conditions shift, or a competitor attacks. LEO has consistently predicted the actual number of laps remaining ahead of the existing technology, and so far, has prevented either Envision Virgin Racing Driver from running out of energy before the end of the race, a problem other teams have experienced.

LEO is designed to eliminate common issues with evolutionary analytics algorithms – that they are slow and require a top-down approach. This solution should facilitate the development of business systems that use evolutionary algorithms to enable companies to more effectively predict business outcomes, and adjust strategies more quickly, collaborate more effectively, innovate, respond to changes, and grow while protecting the bottom line.

DBS Bank - Digital Servicing (JOY Chatbot) – Digital Transformation Winner

DBS Bank set out to address the radical shift in banking in the digital age by transforming multiple aspects of its business, using a range of automation, analytics, and AI technologies. Underpinning this wide-reaching transformation has been a highly effective mix of clear strategy, a focus on reusable tech platforms (as opposed to narrow point solutions), clear staff incentivization, and reinforcing cultural change. Together this structure has generated a wave of high-impact digital interventions, including:

Joy Corporate Banking Chat Bot - Finding few chatbot services readily available for use by small- and medium-sized enterprise customers, DBS Bank developed and launched Joy, a corporate banking chatbot enabled by artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and natural language processing. Launched in June 2019, Joy analyzes customer needs and transaction history, and uses predictive analytics to recommend the most relevant products and services. It also offers a hyper-personalized experience through built-in sentiment analysis that enables the chatbot to “empathize” with each customer.

Analytics-Based Operations Resource Management (ORM) - Tracking staff work patterns can be labor intensive, slow and haphazard. This initiative tackled this using integrated automation and analytics, and an orchestration workflow system - providing operations management with data-driven, model-based insights on staff shortages and surpluses, cross-training, and role rotations, reducing operational risk and enhancing business continuity planning. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the tool has been used to model various operational scenarios spanning 3-6 months, enabling managers to better perform capacity planning for their teams amidst the pandemic.

Integrated AI/Machine Learning Driven AML/CFT Surveillance - Surveillance for anti-money laundering (AML) is traditionally ad hoc and highly inaccurate, and is increasingly unable to cope with newer and more complex money-laundering risks. DBS used AI, analytics, and a new platform to develop a comprehensive end-to-end surveillance process for AML, and to better combat the financing of terrorism (CFT). The initiative combines multiple models using rules, network link analysis, and machine learning with a range of internal and external data sources to generate faster and better insights on money laundering threats. The initiative has driven a 20% reduction in unnecessary customer alerts (with improved customer experience as a result) and a 25% reduction in review time for transaction monitoring. Overall detection rates have improved by 10%, and this percentage is expected to increase as the initiative continues to develop.

Nationwide Insurance - Unclaimed Property Operations – Finalist

Nationwide’s Finance Share Service Center (FSSC) is laser focused on people development and enabling our associates with technology. The FSSC sought to address an opportunity in its unclaimed property operations by utilizing RPA. As required by law, Nationwide sends thousands of physical letters annually, attempting to reunite customers with their unclaimed funds. Processing the high volume of returned letters was very manual, and deploying RPA enables the returned letters to be scanned, aggregated and organized automatically, seamlessly distributing to internal business partners to reissue funds to customers. In addition, the RPA solution tracks the status of each returned letter, generating escalation of notifications until resolution.

Automating the letter process has generated significant and on-going annual savings, enables associates to focus more time on analysis of unclaimed property data, consultation with business units, and ensuring members receive their funds in a timely manner. Through this automation, the FSSC is helping Nationwide fulfil its mission to protect people, businesses, and futures with extraordinary care.

ABB – Record-to-Report Analytics & Cockpit Dashboard – Finalist

ABB set out to use automation to address a highly fragmented and manual process for tracking its record-to-report team performance, which operate in more than 100 countries with 50+ different ERP systems.

ABB redesigned its system of key performance indicators (KPIs) for record-to-report, shifting from a manual-driven system to one that is fully automated. A balanced and weighted scorecard was created, and all KPIs are now generated automatically from structured and unstructured data sources. Users have full visibility into their scores, via a dashboard, understanding underlying elements, trend analysis, and more, so they can see where improvements are needed. Mindset is moved from producing to using the KPI and this is a strong enabler to the performance of the global business center in finance.

The new system is now at the core of the operations for ABB’s Finance global business center record-to-report teams and part of their yearly performance appraisal. Each month a central team generates the dashboard and identifies, together with the hubs, opportunities to improve by changing the behaviors in operations and generating a better score. Results from the dashboard are now available to everyone, helping boost performance improvement. ABB is now raising the bar further, using data mining tools to identify patterns in journal entries, potential accounting fraud cases, and predict critical areas that require monitoring.

The system, which took six months to develop and fine tune, went into operation globally. It is generating savings largely via freeing up capacity from the staff producing KPIs. Other benefits include reduced conflicts and misperception towards global business services, increased sense of ownership by local teams, and a greater understanding of how efficiency and effectiveness can be improved

Infosys BPM Ltd - adidas Profit Protection – Finalist

Infosys BPM Ltd., the business process management (BPM) arm of Infosys Ltd., offers integrated end-to-end digital transformative services to its clients across the globe. The company has journeyed through the table stakes of effectiveness and efficiency with an ever-increasing focus on enhancing stakeholder experience, with empathy. It provides best-in-class services, leveraging extensive industry experience, future ready technology, and deep domain knowledge.

Infosys BPM collaborated with adidas to arrest losses in profitability in its retail business, using a man-machine ecosystem. The Fraud Analytics team at Infosys BPM provided pattern detection and analytical services, which analyzed POS data from the client’s physical stores spread across the globe. The analysis is exercised using a wide array of techniques pertaining to anomaly detection, gap analysis, and peer comparison. The system mines data to detect new and complex fraud patterns to protect revenues against fraud. The centralized team of Infosys BPM also enables the client to share best practices and learnings across regions. Bespoke analysis helps the Profit Protection Manager to focus on specific incidents avoiding irrelevant transactions, in order to mitigate risks of fraud. This has resulted in ~10x ROI for the client and reduced fraud incidents by 15%.

The Hackett Group’s Digital Awards were established by Aecus in 2014 as the Aecus Automation Awards. Aecus was acquired by The Hackett Group in May 2017.

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