Micro Focus's Solutions Business Manager is a robust, rapid application development platform uniquely enabled to build any workflow you can imagine. Typically, SBM customers associate the tool with change management within the IT department, but it does so much more than that. At TTP Solutions LLC, we firmly believe that you should use it for all its worth and maximize your ROI. Think outside the box, think Enterprise Business Process...
At this point, if you’re not familiar with SBM, then we highly recommend you click here to go to the tool’s website. There, you can learn all about the possibilities of using Solutions Business Manager in your organization.
If you are a current SBM customer, keep reading for some inspiration on maximizing the value of the technology you’re already paying for.
Implement SBM Organization-Wide
If you’re only using SBM for change management, then you are seriously missing out on much of the tool’s value. If you can think of a business process, you can build it in SBM. Make no mistake; just because SBM is flexible doesn’t mean that it lacks power. You can create any process from paid time off requests to financial audit workflows, contract and vendor management workflows, manufacturing quality workflows, and much, much more.
Solutions Business Manager has several features that make it the perfect tool for getting work done with well-defined and enforced workflows regardless of the department context.
What is SBM?
Solutions Business Manager is a tool that allows you to define a workflow as a series of states and actions, assign roles, configure permissions, and define a data design for collecting, storing, and manipulating data, which you can use to build visual reports. Users then interact with the workflow in a browser to complete their part of the process.
You can leverage SBM however you want, including building a single source of process, CRM, ITIL, Asset Management, or general operational processes for Human Resources, Finance, Quality, and the C-Suite. The most significant restriction in SBM is the creativity of the solution designer. So, to get your creative juices flowing, we’ve put together a few examples of how you might leverage SBM to maximize the value you receive from your instance.
SBM for Human Resources
Behind every company is a hard-working group of employees. Sometimes you have to hire more. Unfortunately, other times require reductions for one reason or another. Of course, there is a lot more to HR than just hiring and firing. There is also onboarding, managing employee benefits, inner-organization promotion, relocation, and handling complaints. All of these are business processes that you can easily define and automate in Solutions Business Manager.
Let’s look at the example of a paid time off request. Johnny works at your company. Johnny wants to use five days of his allotted paid time off for the year. Johnny needs to submit the request through email to his manager. His manager then has to receive the email, verify there are no black-outs or too many other requests off during the dates, and assign a backup to cover Johnny’s work queue.
What is the time involved to complete these simple activities? If there is no automation, then it might take a few hours spread across multiple days to complete these tasks. At a minimum, this request involves three different people, and all of them have to communicate around busy schedules and prior obligations.
In Solutions Business Manager, we could quickly build a workflow that encapsulates this process. We would provide a form for the requester to enter the required information such as dates, leave type, and approver. Then once submitted, the approving manager receives a notification that they have a new work item to process. We can automatically check against black-out dates and other time off requests and see who is available to back up the submitter for this request.
The manager can approve or deny the request or ask for more information and send it back to the requester. If approved, the workflow could even move into a state to communicate that the requester has begun and then completed the requested leave.
Using automation, we have just taken an activity that could have taken days to process and transformed it to receive an approval within just a few minutes. That’s the power of Solutions Business Manager.
SBM for Finance
Any time money is involved, maintaining high visibility and transparency is critical. Finance organizations love SBM because it is incredibly auditable. This audibility means that it’s the perfect solution for processing accounts payable and receivable, managing company audits, expense reimbursement, budget approvals, and more.
Let’s take the process for managing expense reimbursements, for example.
Sarah wants to submit an expense report for reimbursement after her recent business trip. Without automation, that process looks like creating a document that describes each expense and includes scans of receipts. After she makes the document, she sends it to the approving manager for processing via email. The manager then decides whether her expenses are legitimate and notifies the payroll team of the amount to reimburse her.
Assuming the email isn’t lost or buried, the process of creating an expense report is not only monotonous, but it can drag on for hours depending on the duration of the trip and what kinds of expenses Sarah incurred.
Instead, create a workflow in SBM that will take a fraction of the time to add consistency to the expense report process and recover all of that lost productivity.
The manager can approve the expenses or dialogue with Sarah for clarification within the workflow.
Once the expenses are approved, the workflow moves to payroll, where they receive notice of the reimbursement total. From here, they can complete and close the workflow, or using a post transition, can start a new workflow to update the payroll information for the next cycle.
Because this is data collected within SBM, Sarah’s manager can easily track reimbursement payouts to Sarah, her team, or even company-wide and compare against the budget using visual reports.
SBM for Quality and Supply Chain Management
In a manufacturing organization, process enforcement is everything. Having a consistent process means achieving optimum efficiency while delivering the highest quality product possible.
The applications of SBM in a manufacturing quality context are infinite. There are processes for product assembly, inspections, issue tracking and resolution, and supplier communications.
Consider your supplier communications workflows. Specifically, consider Root Cause and Corrective Action. If you’re wondering what that is, then take a look at this article.
RCCA should be process-oriented. If you’re managing RCCA with your suppliers without process, you have to bring in additional information systems to track your number of issues related to each supplier. Sure, you can manually track these issues in a spreadsheet and hope it doesn’t become buried in the tomb of forgotten files, but that requires a significant time investment, which translates to lost productivity and lost dollars.
Additionally, if managing the conversation over email, you have no way to force your supplier to participate in the discussion. Just as quickly as you can send an email raising an issue, they can ‘misplace’ that email and try to claim ignorance to keep from having to pay a chargeback.
Finally, consider that you can never be sure if you’re making progress in the conversation due to a lack of defined states and transitions to move between states in the process. You begin to see why you need business process management to support your supplier communications.
Using a business process to facilitate the RCCA or RMA discussion is super simple with Solutions Business Manager. Just configure the workflow and use the integration feature in SBM to connect it to a supplier portal so that your suppliers aren’t snooping around your SBM environment for competitive browsing data. We recommend thetradingportal.com.
Now you have process-based supplier communications, which you can use to create supplier scorecards, enforce quality standards down into your supply chain, and save your organization millions of dollars in wasted product that your supplier doesn’t want to admit was their fault.
SBM for the C-Suite
For the C-Suite, SBM is all about the bottom line. By nature, using Solutions Business Manager allows you to maximize efficiency while eliminating waste. The result is a massive impact for the positive in gross profit margins.
However, there is one other strategic advantage to using Solutions Business Manager for as many business processes as possible. Each business process you define collects data that you can use to build custom visual reports to measure whether your organization is hitting its goals, all in SBM.
As a CEO, you can build actual business intelligence reports that give you reliable, actionable information that you can use to make important decisions about your business strategy.
A straightforward application would be to build a visual report-based dashboard based on all of these other workflow examples we’ve already described. You can monitor KPIs and goals in human resources, finance, operations, and even marketing. This dashboard gives you the power to identify issues and opportunities for improvement within your business by looking at a single web page.
These are just a few examples of how you can leverage the power of Micro Focus Solutions Business Manager across your entire organization. There is real power in defining and enforcing a business process regardless of the department context. Set it up to deliver actionable information from all of your departments, and you have a tool that is foundational in the positive transformation of your organization. This is what it looks like to maximize the value of the investment you’ve already made in SBM.