What is Business Assurance
Business Assurance in layman terms refers to something which helps or supports an organization in assuring that the things are working, as planned. More technically it includes near real time processes and controls, embedded within the organization’s decision making and culture. Moreover this function has a very wide coverage and sometimes may overlap with other functions when not managed properly.
Why Business Assurance is required
When we talk about any company which is going for or is already through a digital transformation phase, we come across many consolidated and key dimensions which are core to any transformation project. For example major focus areas within a transformation project revolves around Customer Experience, Digital Products, Operations, Strategy and Digital IT.
We also understand how complicated the digital economy is going to be when we talk about thousands of partners and OTT players. Who is going to take care of their revenue share or payment terms? Off course you have the system owners but what is your second line of defence? Similarly who is going to ascertain that the bundled promotion which one of your self on boarded partner launched last week with 5 days validity has ended as per schedule or still continuing? Or how you are sure that the omni channel experience which is connected to your big data analytics is being updated as per the recent logic updates provided by the marketing team for pushing recent promotions? Or how you are sure that the new product strategy which is based on an assumption of 5% market penetration has actually targeted what was proposed?
For all these and many more activities, we need a system which not only ensures processes are followed but also establish accountability. This is a function which works proactively throughout the value chain. This also helps in agile monitoring of any digital transformation project seamlessly and promotes transparency. Any company willing to go for digitalization must go for Business Assurance as that will be the ONLY end to end monitoring system and a second line of active defence for a much complex digital environment.
How to go for Business Assurance
There are multiple facets influencing or defining the scope of BA in real world. Since the scope of BA is so huge, companies or individuals tend to define the scope as per their experience and expectation in a particular domain. For example a risk management guy shall include risk, audit, operational efficiency in the BA scope. Whereas a Revenue Management guy shall mostly exclude risk and audit from their BA scope. This had led to a big confusion & a philosophical discussion in the industry as to what is the actual scope of BA. Moreover absence of any defined standard or framework for BA has made this domain more complicated.
What we need to understand and acknowledge that BA activities cannot be universal for all the companies and a proper context is important to be set before any activity or action plan is initiated. Establishing context will help individuals to identify critical success factors and key focus areas. A proper PDCA cycle needs to be followed for BA end to end execution. Objective and quantitative benchmarking is very much required at the time of establishing the context.
The key differentiator for BA would be a well defined & mandated policy document along with a practical RACI matrix which shall help in defining proper roles and responsibilities. Objective of BA is not to own everything but to create an environment/ culture which promotes growth. Growth through process improvement, growth through revenue enhancement and growth through enriched customer experience.
Tools for Business Assurance
The recommended tools for end to end Business Assurance are;
- Business Assurance Monitoring Tool (BAMoT)
- Digital Maturity Assessment Tool (DiMAT)
- Revenue Assurance Maturity Model Tool (RAMM2)
All of the above tools compliment each other and monitor the BA activities throughout the transformation journey and beyond.