The BroadVision Blog

Vmoso and GDPR

With the introduction of GDPR just months away, it’s important that the systems you use for communication receive the same level of data protection scrutiny as your systems of record. Vmoso brings together internal and external communication, integrated to your systems of record, helping you meet your data protection obligations.

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The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a new set of data protection laws set to be introduced on 25th May 2018. It applies to all organisations in the European Union, and all organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU.

It aims to standardize data protection rules across the EU, and for most countries goes significantly beyond the previous national laws in place to establish a wider set of rights for individuals about the information organisations hold about them.

 

GDPR provides individuals with:

  • The right to be informed about the information organisations hold about them, and how it is used
  • The right of access to that information
  • The right to rectification of any incorrect data held
  • The right to erasure of the data
  • The right to restrict processing, limiting how data an organisation holds may be used
  • The right to data portability, allowing individuals to transfer their data from one service to another
  • The right to object to how their data is used, and
  • Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

 

As most organisations already comply with their data protection obligations, the processes and systems they have in place form a solid basis for ensuring GDPR compliance.

However, in recent years, changes in the way business communication takes place have often worked against organisations’ good intentions around data protection. While their systems of record are typically well-structured and enable organisations to comply with their data protection obligations, their internal and external communication systems are a different matter entirely.

 

GDPR describes how personal data and sensitive personal data is handled. When this remains in an organisation’s systems of record – their customer databases, CRM systems, finance systems , etc, it’s relatively easy to comply with GDPR’s provisions to protect the individual’s rights. The problems start when this personal data is held in, or copied to communication systems that are much less tightly regulated.

 

This problem has been exacerbated by a move away from email into wide range of new communication tools, often brought into the organisation by employees without IT approval. This trend towards “shadow IT” or “bring your own app” puts company data at risk, and makes it almost impossible for organisations to meet their data protection obligations. How can an organisation possible find, rectify or erase an individual’s data if it is scattered across a mish-mash of employee-chosen communication apps?

 

If this scenario sounds unlikely to you, think again. In the UK, one of the largest ever fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office related to the breach of a customer database that had not been approved by the organisation’s IT department.  And it is widely acknowledged that NHS staff are regularly using WhatsApp to exchange patient data, often crossing the boundary of what constitutes “personal data”. Shadow IT is alive and well in most organisations, whether they know about it or not.

 

So all the good data protection work on your core enterprise systems could be undone if you fail to consider how personal data is included in your day to day business communication. One of the major changes GDPR brings is significantly increased fines for non-compliance. For example, Pharmacy2U’s fine of 130,000 in 2015 could have been 4.4m under GDPR. Talktalk’s 2016 fine of 400,000 could have been 59m under GDPR. In the new world of GDPR, no company can afford to ignore the risks of shadow IT.

 

Vmoso from BroadVision helps your meet your data protection obligations by consolidating your business communication in one place, removing the need for shadow IT communication solutions. Instead of messages being scattered across individual users’ email inboxes, or locked into unapproved communication apps like WhatsApp or Line, Vmoso stores all messages in a secure, cloud-based environment, making data discovery, rectification, and erasure straightforward.

 

Let’s look at an example.

 

Galaxy Telecom provides phone and broadband services to residential customers.

 

As Galaxy customer, Sarah is provided with a dedicated Vmoso customer service channel for all her communication.

She has reported a problem to Galaxy customer service, saying she’s unable to access certain websites and is being redirected to other sites.

 

Lloyd in the customer service team asks for details of which sites Sarah’s trying to access and where she’s ending up instead. During this discussion, Sarah confirms the IP address she’s currently using – this is something that GDPR classes as “personal data”.

 

As part of this discussion, Lloyd explicitly asks for Sarah’s consent to use the information provided to resolve the issue. A key requirement of GDPR is being able to demonstrate consent to use personal data, and receiving this consent in Vmoso provides a permanent record.

 

It’s now several months later. Galaxy have recently suffered a security breach of some customer data. They have, as GDPR requires, reported this to the relevant supervisory authority.

 

At the end of her contract, Sarah chose to switch suppliers so is no longer a Galaxy customer. But she hears about the breach in the news and is concerned that Galaxy may still hold some of her personal data. He asks Galaxy to provide her with all the information they still hold about her , and to delete it all.

 

Because all Sarah’s interactions with Galaxy have been through a persistent Vmoso customer service channel, this is trivially easy for Galaxy to do. Galaxy are able to provide Sarah with both the records from their core customer database, and a transcript of all the discussions they had with Sarah on Vmoso.

 

Galaxy’s use of Vmoso enables them to meet their GDPR obligations by providing Sarah with a rapid and comprehensive response.

 

But the impact of GDPR on communication systems isn’t just limited to customer service. It applies equally to any organisation inside or outside the EU that holds personal data about EU citizens, including cases such as:

  • HR departments retaining candidate information for recruitment
  • Charities maintaining lists of donors and volunteers
  • National and local government departments communicating with citizens.

 

With the introduction of GDPR just months away, it’s important that the systems you use for communication receive the same level of data protection scrutiny as your systems of record. Vmoso brings together internal and external communication, integrated to your systems of record, helping you meet your data protection obligations.

 

For more information about how Vmoso can help your organisation, contact us at sales@broadvision.com or broadvision.com/contact

 

Vmoso Enterprise Transformation Methodology

As organizations embark on programmes of digital transformation, managing collective knowledge is becoming more important than ever. Knowledge is increasingly lost in employees’ email inboxes, or fragmented across a chaotic assortment of new communication tools brought in to address email’s failings.

At BroadVision, we understand that getting your corporate knowledge under control is more than just a technology implementation programme. The Vmoso Enterprise Transformation (or VET) methodology is a 10-step iterative process that refines working practices and establishes Vmoso at the heart of your enterprise communication and collaboration.

VET help organizations:

  • Identify and integrate existing knowledge sources
  • Capture new knowledge at source and index it for easy access
  • Define collaborative processes to add accountability to business communication
  • Devise and report upon meaningful metrics that link directly to business objectives

We know that the hardest part of any project to adopt new technology is getting started. Many employees remained wedded to working practices that discourage effective collaboration and impede the flow of information around the company. The VET methodology engages with all participants and stakeholders to drive behavioural change alongside Vmoso product implementation.

Let’s take a look at the ten steps in one cycle of the VET methodology.

  1. First of all, it’s essential to gain a mandate for the project from the executive sponsor. Experience shows that without clear objectives from senior management, and commitment to make the people involved in the project available, it will be very hard to make the rest of the project successful. So before we do anything else, we need to establish project charter, endorsed by company management.
  2. Next, we audit the communication and collaboration tools currently in use, and who’s using them. Digital transformation is a journey, and to define a realistic destination, we need to understand where we’re starting.
  3. Then, we identify where the vast amount of collective knowledge in the organisation is currently stored, and decide whether that should be migrated to Vmoso, or left in place and integrated to Vmoso.
  4. In step 4, we specify the use cases that are going to be implemented in this iteration of the methodology. The priority here is choosing those cases where we are most likely to see the biggest benefit, based on what we discovered in steps 2 and 3.
  5. Then we design the knowledge architecture – how we are going to organise the information that will be held in Vmoso or integrated to it. This includes the Vmoso spaces, user groups and access control restrictions. We also map the business workflows we’ve identified in previous steps into Vmoso-based collaborative processes.
  6. Next, we plan the schedule for the adoption phases of the project. This includes any technical integration and customization work required, the training schedule, and the metrics that are going to be used to evaluate success.
  7. The length of the solution implementation itself will vary based on the amount of integration and customization work, so may be anything between a few days and many weeks, depending on decisions made earlier in the project.
  8. Next, we transfer knowledge to the project steering committee and then all project participants. This includes not just Vmoso product training, but how the new working practices will be applied.
  9. Then, of course, we need some time for the system to be used in the way it has been designed. The length of this phase can be anything between a few weeks and several months, with regular steering committee meetings to monitor progress.
  10. Finally, we evaluate the results of the project against the success criteria defined earlier. Inevitably, some things will have worked well, some less so – this is essential input into the next iteration of the project, which starts again back at the “gain mandate” step.

VET is a continuous improvement programme.  At BroadVision, we understand that behavioural changes take time and the end goal is only reached through a series of smaller steps. The results of one phase of the project feed directly into the definition of the next. Each iteration delivers invaluable data about which initiatives have worked, and which need to be reviewed. So the journey from noise and miscommunication to a streamlined “big knowledge” environment is taken gradually, not as one big leap.

BroadVision Global Services have been assisting leading enterprises around the world with their digital business initiatives for more than 20 years. Throughout the VET process, consultants from our Digital Transformation Group are here to help you. We’ll take part in your steering committee meetings, assist with project scoping and implementation, and training project participants.

The Vmoso Enterprise Transformation Methodology formulates and executes a clear, realistic, achievable plan for digital transformation of your communication, collaboration and engagement. It unlocks collective knowledge stored in fragmented systems across your organisation and introduces dynamic, collaborative processes to your business workflows.

BroadVision Launches Vmoso Collaborative Process Management Solution

New platform redefines traditional business process management (BPM) in the context of mobile-centric and people-intensive activities for transforming both digital workplace internally and digital engagement externally

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 15, 2017 — BroadVision, Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN), a leading provider of mobile-centric platform for empowering digital enterprise transformation, where knowledge management unifies business communication, collaboration and engagement, today announced the addition of Collaborative Process Management (CPM) to its flagship Vmoso suite of solutions.

Whereas traditional business process management (BPM) tools excel at managing well-defined, rigid processes, they typically remain very PC/desktop-centric, suboptimal for today’s highly mobile workforce and customer base.  Moreover, they usually fall short in exception/interrupt-driven, people-intensive, and knowledge/decision-centric situations where extensive collaboration and communication are required.  From customer services departments to operations teams, from document reviews to field service organizations, almost every enterprise in the world has these collaborative processes, and often handles them inefficiently through email, instant messaging, file sharing, and numerous other tools/sources around any core BPM, causing serious knowledge fragmentation problems for the enterprise and significant waste of time and frustration for users.

Vmoso CPM is the first BPM solution that combines structured, semi-structured, and unstructured business processes in one go, offering users a seamless experience to conduct ad-hoc collaboration around well-orchestrated workflow by bringing accountability, continuity, and serendipity together to get the job done faster and better.  It empowers companies to introduce just the right amount of structure for their business processes, to be facilitated by agile and timely knowledge-based collaboration, rather than overtaken by a disorganized mess of email, IMs, and other fragmented activities.

Vmoso CPM is an open and extensible platform, which can be easily customized to meet every enterprise’s needs.  Each process is defined by 3 inter-related XML files for specifying its workflow, form, and language locales.  Once orchestrated into a process template, it can be provisioned by the enterprise under stringent security and access control, or shared peer-to-peer to other users for more ad-hoc use cases.  Through Vmoso Integration Bot (VIB), a process can be connected to any external content or data sources, including Internet of Things, for authentication, schema mapping, data input/output, location-based services, as well as action triggering on a bi-directional basis.

BroadVision CEO, Dr. Pehong Chen, commented that “Vmoso CPM is a truly innovative solution.  By integrating BPM, collaboration, and knowledge management into a holistic platform, it can help global companies accelerate their enterprise transformation across both their digital workplace internally and customer engagement externally, achieving unprecedented business velocity, agility, loyalty, and profitability.”

To learn more about how the solution may benefit to your business, please visit Vmoso CPM resource page and review Vmoso CPM use case video for more details.

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About Vmoso

Vmoso is a mobile-centric platform for empowering digital transformation, where knowledge management unifies enterprise communication, workplace collaboration, and business engagement.

  • It consolidates email, instant messaging, content sharing, workflow, social networking, and other enterprise data sources into an action-oriented universal activity stream, personalized for each user over a secure private cloud.
  • Such unified activities organically capture each user’s tacit knowledge at the source and automatically weave it into an elastic and self-perpetuating corporate knowledge web, preserving it as a single source of truth while eliminating all the costly fragmentation and confusing redundancy along the way.
  • Working smartly like this, it can significantly enhance internal collaboration and operating continuity as well as dramatically transform external engagement and customer experience, delivering substantial gains in both business velocity and value across the entire enterprise ecosystem.

For more information, please visit broadvision.com/vmoso.

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About BroadVision

Driving innovation since 1993, BroadVision (NASDAQ: BVSN) provides e-business solutions that enable the enterprise and its employees, partners, and customers to stay actively engaged, socially connected, and universally organized to achieve greater business results.  BroadVision® solutions—including Vmoso for digital business transformation and Clearvale for enterprise social networking—are available globally in the cloud via the Web and mobile applications.

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Press Contact:

Shonagh Woods | shonagh.woods@broadvision.com | @broadvision

BroadVision and all its case-sensitive permutations are trademarks of BroadVision, Inc., registered in the United States and other countries.

Collaborative Processes

Whereas the structured, predictable element of a business process is increasingly automated, exception handling continues to be where human knowledge and intelligence needs to be applied to resolve a problem.

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In an ideal world, all the processes that power our businesses would be neatly defined and predictable with provision made for everything that could go wrong.

Of course, in the real world, there’s always something that can go wrong that you didn’t expect. Whereas the structured, predictable element of a business process is increasingly automated, exception handling continues to be where human knowledge and intelligence needs to be applied to resolve a problem.

But all too often, this exception handling is a chaotic mess of email conversations. Attempts to bring structure to this person-to-person interaction often results in both front- and back-office processes becoming too rigid, frustrating employees and customers alike when the inevitable “the system won’t let me do that” situation arises.

Let’s take the simple example of a consulting company agreeing a change request with their customer.

While steps 2, 4 and 5 of the process are individual approval actions, steps 1 and 3 are likely to involve a several people working together.

Without the collaboration in the process, the change request won’t get a sufficiently thorough review, and time may be wasted further down the line when overlooked details become apparent.

Without the structure in the process, the collaboration could lose direction and fail to come to a final conclusion.

Of course, countless variations on this example are happening every day. From simple document reviews, to field service engineers resolving issues at customer sites. From customer service departments handling complaints, to operations teams working to restore service after automatically-triggered downtime alerts – almost every organisation in the world has a set of processes that are too unstructured to be modelled rigidly in traditional Business Process Management tools, but too important to be left to email. We call these collaborative processes; they can also be characterized as people-intensive, decision-centric, knowledge-based processes.

And even as our business processes become more automated, the need for structured collaboration is not going to diminish, merely change. Over the next few years, collaborative processes triggered by Internet-of-Things-connected sensors will become just as common as the examples we see today.

Vmoso Process management introduces structure, discipline and accountability to collaboration.

Process flows can be started from a list of pre-prepared templates for your organisation, or created from scratch to suit the specific task in hand.

Throughout the process, there’s always a  clear indication of who’s responsible for completing the current step, but the assignee can always call on Vmoso’s collaboration features to access the expertise of their co-workers. And of course, all participants can see all the discussion so far, ensuring they have the information they need to complete the task, and a clear audit trail.

For more information, visit broadvision.com/process-management

Tidy up your coils of unstructured process

 

How improved collaboration reduces complexity and enhances user experience

In my last post, I mentioned that “User Experience” was one the topics that delegates at digital transformation conferences name as one of their areas of focus when it came to seeking out help and advice.

What do people mean by “User Experience”? Here’s a definition I like from the Nielsen Norman Group:

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

Let’s consider this in the context of digital transformation where organisations are seeking to make themselves fitter and more adaptable to market disruption.

In a white paper “The Agile Enterprise”, PWC explain that organisations have a propensity to become too complex, especially following periods of rapid growth or acquisition. The basic aim of achieving agility is to reduce this complexity.

We are all customers, and we all see the effects of organisational complexity in the dealings we have with organisations. How many times have you chased up an issue with your phone supplier, electricity company, or any other supplier, and found yourself becoming increasingly exasperated repeating the same information over again in different channels? Not great for the customer, but how expensive must all those interactions be for the supplier? And how soon will an innovative competitor jump in with a new service model and take market share?

Living with complexity is not good for the employee experience either, especially for Generation Y. In their paper, “The digitisation of everything”, EY found that,

“Generation Y display the same lack of patience as employees as they show as consumers, and companies must address their evolving expectations to avoid high recruitment and churn costs.”

They go on to say,

“What is more, this generation have significant ideas and are willing to share them company-wide, they represent a useful resource every company”.

So the risk is not only in disenchanting your staff, but the opportunity cost of losing valuable new ideas.

Most digital transformation efforts focus on core processes and those operations that are repeatable and can be automated by BPM, PLM, ERP, CRM, or HRM/HCM software. Companies seek to be more agile by simplifying existing processes, and ensuring that new processes can be quickly and easily created as the business seeks to adapt to new threats and opportunities.

But around these structured and repeatable core processes, there is usually a large “coil” of supporting unstructured activity in the form of conversation, collaboration and the exchange of information and knowledge. In this “coil”, there can be a great deal of complexity because this exchange of information is almost always fragmented across many different tools and methods of communication. So what’s the user experience in the “coil”? Often very confused :

“Does this email have the latest document version attached?”

“Where did I see that information? In a chat, an email, a shared document, or in the enterprise social network?”

“I am just looking at this issue now. How many emails do I need to read to catch up?”

“Haven’t we dealt with a similar issue before?”

“Sorry, this got lost in my inbox”

“Sorry, I turned my chat notifications off. They’re constantly interrupting me with stuff that’s of no interest to me.”

So complexity creates confusion and a poor user experience, both for customers and employees. Reducing complexity is also the aim of becoming agile. So are these two sides of the same digital transformation coin?

How can we address the complexity in the coil, and in doing so, improve the overall user experience for customers and employees? Here are some suggestions:

1. Consolidate collaboration tools. Instead of using many incompatible tools for chat, file sharing, social collaboration, tasks, etc., use an integrated platform that combines all these methods of collaboration and engagement, so users only have one inbox, and one place to find information.

2. Eliminate the use of consumer tools internally. Many people prefer the experience of consumer chat and sharing tools over email (sometimes even when it risks breaching compliance or privacy rules). So offer the same methods of collaboration but using tools that are managed in the business. Your employees will be better connected, and the ideas and knowledge they are creating and sharing will not be lost to the organisation.

3. Have a plan to reduce or eliminate the use of email for internal communication and collaboration. It is not feasible to just “turn email off” by executive order, but email is a very poor tool for collaboration, and provides no accountability. So plan for transition and choose a tool and an approach that allows for a bridge between old and new ways of working.

4. Use your mobile digital channels to bring the (consumer) customer closer. Customers resort to social media channels to raise issues often because it is just easier than emailing or picking up the phone. So why not make it even easier by offering a private, persistent chat channel to each of your customers? They just pick up their mobile, post their question, at any time in the chat. When they do so, if all the context (previous discussions, links to their account, statements, contracted documents, etc) is directly linked to the chat, there will be no need for additional explanations. They do not need to wait for a call centre person to answer, and you can get issues resolved in less time and with less resource. And the episode is not aired in public.

5. Ensure there is an automated process for capturing and organising the knowledge in all collaboration and engagement activities. To avoid confusion, try to ensure there is only one copy of everything (a “Single Source of Truth”). Make sure that the cross-references between activities, content, topics and people are embedded so as to make knowledge re-use, audit, discovery and analysis easy later on.

If an object of your digital transformation initiatives is to make life less complicated for your employees and your customers, you could do a lot worse than look at how your organisation copes (or doesn’t cope) with its unstructured coils of communication, collaboration and engagement activities.