Multiple Country Implementation -- Influencing Factors and Approaches


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As global organizations migrate to a model where business processes, infrastructure and resources are standardized and reused across business units, their success will depend on recognizing the key factors that influence multi-country solution development, as well as industry best practices.

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Multiple Country Implementation -- Influencing Factors and Approaches

  1. 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsMultiple Country Implementation —Influencing Factors and Approaches Executive Summary a large extent, consolidate disparate software and hardware resources across multiple BUs. Micro- and macroeconomic global challenges have The regional programs are often run by a single forced large multinational companies to embrace overarching team, commonly known as a “regional a model where infrastructure and resources can team.” be standardized and reused across various busi- ness units, in many cases spanning multiple coun- As large organizations migrate to a model where tries. The goal: standardize processes and bring business processes, infrastructure and resources efficiency to resource utilization. can be standardized and reused across various BUs, they must also recognize a multitude of This approach has had significant impact on the factors that influence the foundational elements way IT systems are conceptualized, developed of this approach. Many of these factors are unlike and maintained. In today’s large enterprises with traditional green field projects and are normally operations that span various countries or regions, not seen in any single-country implementation. companies need applications that singularly address the needs of different business units This paper examines the key factors which in various countries. Organizations adopt this influence a multi-country solution development approach to control costs, standardize operations and implementation, along with the industry best and practices, consolidate hardware and software practices and their key features. and, last but not least, apply common governance practices. Insurance is an industry where we Key Factors Influencing Process and see many commonalities in the core business Systems Standardization processes followed across various regions/ Most core implementations are large, challeng- countries. As such, there is a high degree of ing transformation projects. In this section we interest in maximizing the commonality and analyze the factors and approaches influencing reusability of many IT applications among large the implementation of a standardized solution multinational insurance companies. and group them in three broad directions. Most global organizations are trying to achieve this • Development: by migrating to new technologies or by developing > These factors influence the development new applications or product implementations as a process of a regional application. There are program for multiple business units (BUs) spread multiple ways the development of a region- across countries or regions. This, they hope, will al application can be approached; choosing help them achieve the aforementioned goals of the right one is the key to the success of creating standard business processes and, to the program. cognizant 20-20 insights | august 2011
  2. 2. • Implementation: facing with legacy sub-systems may also be different. A standard data exchange format > These factors influence the best way to (mostly XML-based) should be decided upon implement the software and maintain/ and shared with all BU teams well before the enhance the system on a continuous basis, interface development starts. considering various country-specific require- ments and keeping language in mind. 4. Reusability and extensibility in architec- ture: The intent of a multi-country implemen- • Budgeting: tation is to achieve a high level of reusability > These are the factors that influence the cre- and extensibility, in terms of both technology ation of a win-win “financial model” for all building blocks and functional systems. To country businesses and the regional unit. gain maximum reusability, a flexible applica- tion architecture that enables various features Development: Key Influencing Factors such as language compatibility, feature on/off, These are factors which we must understand database call abstraction, etc. is a must. That and react to before we conceptualize the is why the architecture of the core application business application and begin development. is very important in order to ensure the extent These factors are mainly of reusability across various BUs. As country-specific related to requirement man- 5. Testing optimization: As the multi-country customization is agement, architecture defi- nition, development, gover- implementation requires multiple rollouts in performed on a nance, etc. various BUs in a short span of time, having an optimized testing strategy plays a crucial common codebase, 1. Governance: This is a key role. As country-specific customization is regression testing factor, as different BUs performed on a common codebase, regression becomes extremely may have different ways testing becomes extremely important. In many of working and systems in cases, having an automated regression bed is important. In many place. A model with rep- very useful to reduce implementation time as cases, having resentation from both well as enable more effective testing. an automated the regional as well as BU In addition to the above, several other factors and team is mandatory, along regression bed is with transparent and well- considerations are made during the developmentvery useful to reduce defined roles and respon- phase. They include:implementation time sibilities. Depending upon 6. Legal and regulatory differences: This the approach adopted for typically arises out of differing and sometimes as well as enable the multi-country develop- conflicting laws and financial practices across more effective ment, governance may be various BUs. There may be a restriction on testing. either regional-centric or hosting data outside the borders of a BU. federated within the BUs. Cross-border payments across BUs may need approval or may not be allowed at all. 2. Differing local business practices — require- ment management: BUs may have different 7. Geographical and cultural differences: This business practices to satisfy a particular includes support for local languages and business need, hence it is of extreme local practices. The key requirement of global importance that the regional team initiates implementations is the deployment of a core and oversees the gathering of requirements regional team in different BUs. The collabora- from all the BUs, either at once or in sequence tion among teams, and their timely presence, depending upon the development approach is crucial for a successful implementation. adopted. There should be a requirement Along with these factors, choosing the right control board comprised of senior business execution model is equally important. This paper analysts and architects who will make the final presents the common industry practices or call on which requirements can be classified as models for multi-country implementation. regional and which are BU-specific. 3. Integration with BU applications: Different Development: Approaches and Models BUs may have differing legacy systems as The most important part of any multi-country part of existing architecture landscapes. Inter- build and development program is the approach cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  3. 3. taken to define the solution architecture and the > Individual business unit applications areway it is shared across BUs. These can be of the tested separately as per local requirements.following two variants. > The purity of the core application is main-1. The Core and Country-Specific Model: Core is tained during the BU implementation. Any developed by extracting the common business change in the core application is made requirements from all affected BUs. only after a thorough analysis of the new requirement and after ensuring the suit- > Start with requirement gathering for all ability of that requirement in the common BUs. A thorough requirement analysis is application. This must be approved by the carried out to determine the requirements regional team and added to the core by the from all the BUs. same team. > Abstract the common requirements and The pluses and minuses of this approach are as define the boundary for the core and seg- follows. regated BU-specific requirements. After a detailed analysis is performed with inputs Pros: gathered from different BU stakeholders, a • More standardized towards a common business common requirement set is developed. and technical solution. > Develop core as a common application • Less effort required during BU implementa- based on the common requirements. tion. > Developed primarily as part of a regional • Controlled and effective governance. initiative, these system requirements are • Subsequent BU implementation may happen tested as an individual project/product. This in parallel. development of core application is run and managed by the regional team. Cons: > BU-specific layers are built on top of core, • Initial investment is high. separately. • ROI is realized very late in the process as most > Plug in country-specific functionalities or of the initial time is spent in gathering require- changes to ensure alignment with the over- ments for all BUs and then building the core. all solution road map and follow the same • Risk is higher as actual BU implementation is principles. performed late.Core and Country-Specific Model BU 1 Functionality Core Core Functionality BU 2 Functionality Core Core Core BU 3 FunctionalityFigure 1 cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  4. 4. 2. The Base and Customize Model: One BU is quent BU and controls the changes effec- selected for the first implementation and the tively. end-solution is considered and standardized as the base to be implemented for subsequent > Configuration management is done using a centrally managed repository with the BUs. trunk representing the regional codebase > Select the first two BUs to get near full and the interim BU development written on functional coverage. the branches. > Start with requirement gathering for the > Each country should have stand-alone in- first BU. stance with selected or all features from the regional codebase. > Design and develop the application for maximized reusability and extensibility. The pluses and minuses of this approach are as follows. > Test and implement the application as per first BU requirements. Pros: > Share the codebase with the next BU; that • The ROI for the first BU is achieved faster than BU then builds its specific requirements on the previous model as a working solution. top of a shared codebase. • Minimum code changes to speed up rollout and reduce risk. > Codebase will expand depending on the nature of the functional requirements en- • Less risky, as BU implementations are sequen- countered during the first two or three BU tial. implementations. • Initial investment is low. > After two to three BU implementations, Cons: cut off codebase development and baseline it as the regional codebase (though it is • Complex governance after the first implemen- tation. recommended to cut off the codebase as regional codebase after the first two BUs). • Greater chance of deviating from a standard- ized business and technical solution. > Share regional codebase as executables with subsequent BUs for extension. • Due to sequential implementation pattern, time taken to implement all the BUs is greater. > Changes and additions should be analyzed • Complex configuration management. and approved for induction to the regional codebase. Implementation: Key Influencing Factors > The regional codebase is managed region- Similar to development, there are multiple factors ally as a single repository. This helps the which influence a multi-country implementation movement of this codebase to the subse- during the post-development phase, and based onBase and Custom Model Cut Off BU 1 Functionality BU 2 Functionality First BU First BU Regional Implement to Code Code Code Subsequent Base BUsFigure 2 cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  5. 5. those factors it is crucial to adopt to any one of 5. Different regulations and data privacy:the industry practiced models. These are factors Legal and regulatory challenges arise out ofmainly related to the post-development and differing and sometimes conflicting laws andimplementation phase. These include: financial practices across countries. There may be restrictions on hosting data outside1. Governance: This is a key influencing factor the borders of a country. Cross-border even during the implementation phase; main- payments across countries may need approval tenance and enhancements of the developed or may not be allowed at all. solution may be either done by the regional 6. Multilingual support: A support team consist- team or by the BU team depending upon the ing of multilingual people is required to support approach adopted for implementation. the regional application. Various challenges2. Hardware/software/infrastructure and con- need to be overcome (as a result of geographi- nectivity: The procurement of hardware and cal and cultural differences), including support software should be conducted either regionally of local languages and local practices. or locally. Connectivity is an important factor 7. Configuration management: Configuration for consideration and highly influences the management and code promotion is complex model adopted. for a regional implementation as compared3. Change and release management: Based on with local instance deployments. This com- the development approach, the change and plexity varies largely depending on the archi- release management can be done centrally tecture of the application and development in the regional center or locally by individual methodology. BUs in accordance with an organization- Based on their enterprise constraints and working stated standard process. Any change in the model, organizations may be influenced by either core application or core codebase needs to be all or any number of the aforementioned factors. handled extremely cautiously as it will impact Based on their degree of influence and priorities, all the instances. organizations should adopt any one of the proven4. Hosting and disaster recovery environment: approaches or models as listed below. This may happen either regionally or locally and varies depending upon factors that lead Implementation: Approaches to adoption of any one of the implementation and Models approaches or models. There are two primary ways in which a multi-coun- try solution can be implemented and managed. 1. Regional Implementation:Regional Implementation > Deployment of a single instance accessed by multiple BUs (mostly separate instances of the same solution for each BU, hosted regionally). > Configuration management and code pro- motion handled regionally. Business Business Unit 1 Unit 2 > Deployment of the complete solution to a specific location (mostly the regional cen- ter) and accessed via network by different BU users. The pluses and minuses of this approach include the following. Pros: • Provides enhancement of reliability, a reduction of hardware acquisition costs, an accelera- Business tion of movement towards standards-based Unit 3 servers and application consolidation and the leveraging of existing development skills.Figure 3 • Better regional control. cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  6. 6. Cons: • Infrastructure consolidation is not achievable, resulting in high maintenance and running• Requires the availability of hardware and soft- costs. ware at the regional level only, but has a risk of availability and disaster recovery as all BUs Budgeting: Key Influencing Factors will be dependent on a single infrastructure. and Approaches• The varied country-specific rules and regula- Structuring the program cost between the BUs and tions binding data portability across country the region is often a difficult task, and can affect boundaries can pose a risk to this approach. the program outcome significantly. As different• Performance is a key concern. countries/regions will have varying degrees of reliance and importance placed on these shared2. Local Implementation: applications, and also as the customer base and > Deployment of the same core solution to in- business volume will not be the same for different dividual BUs as stand-alone instances. business units, it is important to build a financial model which is proportionate and justifiable to > Requires the availability of hardware and all the stakeholders. In most of the cases, the software in individual BUs. businesses for different BUs vary in size and > Configuration management and code pro- complexity, so the cost allocations to build appli- motion is handled by BUs. cations for different BUs need to be handled in aThe pluses and minuses of this approach include very reasonable and equitable manner. There isthe following. no easy solution for this challenge, but typically it is handled in one of the following two ways.Pros: 1. Sharing the cost for each implementation:• Federated control of hardware and software Typically for these types of program, a regional locally. budget is allocated along with a budget for each BU. The implementation cost for any BU• Existing peripheral devices can be used without is shared by the regional and BU teams. In this much change. method, each BU implementation is taken as• Reduced risk of disaster recovery as all BUs a separate project and cost is shared between may operate separately. BU and region.• Control of changes and releases management 2. Core and customization cost: In this model, is quite simple and done by local teams. the regional team sponsors the development• Better performance than a regional model. cost for the core application or codebase (depending on the development methodology).Cons: Here the initial core application development• Hardware and software procurement costs cost is completely borne by the regional team, may be redundant and high. then the BU implementation and BU-specificLocal Implementation Business Unit 1 Business Unit 2 Business Unit 3Figure 4 cognizant 20-20 insights 6
  7. 7. customization cost is left with the individual our vantage point: It is extremely important BUs. In this method, the BU has the liberty to to have a proper due diligence phase, to first customize (with BU-specific functionalities) understand necessary orga- the application based on its need, budget and nizational behaviors and It is extremely business criticality. weigh the applicability of key influencing factors. Based important to have aConclusion on the influencing factors proper due diligenceRegional implementation of various applications applicable for the organization, phase, to firsthas become a necessity for most large orga- a suitable model or approachnizations doing business in multiple countries for multi-country implemen- understand necessaryacross BUs within a single region. This approach tation can be adopted. Once organizationalis becoming increasingly relevant in today’s an organization adopts the behaviors and weighincreasingly interconnected global economy, right development and imple-where organizations deploy varying methods and mentation approach, the the applicability oftechnologies to achieve maximum efficiency from subsequent processes fall in the key influencinga single initiative. Different approaches will make place with little or no difficulty. factors.sense to different organizations based on their On the other hand, withoutbusiness situation and future road map. giving due considerations to the key influencing factors organizations may runThis paper has acquainted the reader with key into thorny problems during the development andinfluences and business factors based on our implementation phases.real-world experiences. One key takeaway fromAbout the AuthorsGoutam Kanjilal is a Cognizant Client Partner working with insurance industry customers across Asia.A 10-year Cognizant veteran, Goutam has worked on numerous large consulting and strategic devel-opment projects with multiple clients worldwide. His primary responsibility is to provide strategicsolutions and build strong executive-level relationships with insurance clients throughout Asia. Goutamhas a bachelor of engineering degree from Calcutta University (India) and holds various certifica-tions on project management, technical and insurance-domain related subjects. He can be reached Chowdhury is a Senior Architect with the Insurance Technology Consulting Group withinCognizant. He has experience in SOA, multi-country rollout, JEE-based insurance applications andenterprise architectures. His interests include architecting, multi-country implementation and large-scale technology modernization programs. Sabya has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineeringfrom NIT Rourkela (India) and is a PMP and certified in TOGAF 9 and SCRUM. He can be reached cognizant 20-20 insights 7
  8. 8. About CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 118,000 employees as of June 30, 2011, Cognizant is a member of theNASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing andfastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Haymarket House #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA 28-29 Haymarket Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London SW1Y 4SP UK Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7321 4888 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7321 4890 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: Email: Email:© Copyright 2011, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.