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Home > News > NTT COMWARE develops TANGIBLE BUSINESS PROCESS ANALYZER, the Business Process Management Platform for the Simulation of Business Process Reforms



NTT COMWARE develops TANGIBLE BUSINESS PROCESS ANALYZER, the Business Process Management Platform for the Simulation of Business Process Reforms

NTT COMWARE Corporation (Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Yuhji Imai; hereinafter, NTT COMWARE) has developed the Tangible Business Process Analyzer (Tangible BPA), the business process management platform which supports all work for business process reengineering (BPR) such as the process analysis and design that is usually contracted out to specialist consultants. Tangible means "perceptible by the senses especially the sense of touch". No special consultant's skills are required for Tangible BPR however. By simply moving tiny puck-shaped objects on the top of an object tracking table, Tangible BPR will enable businesses to determine the optimum solutions for their BPR.

[ Overview ]

Tangible BPA designs the most ideal solutions for BPR. It is a business process analysis platform that displays numerical data from numerous sources while simulating the outcomes of business-related investments and other information in real-time.
A flow-chart detailing business items such as business details, personnel numbers, employee skill levels, work levels and IT equipment assets is projected from an overhead projector onto a 60 cm × 80 cm desk-sized Sensetable. The data values for items such as work levels, personnel numbers and IT equipment assets can be changed simply by rotating the 4 cm diameter pucks on top of the flow-chart items. When personnel or IT equipment assets such as business support tools are increased or decreased, the effect of these changes on operating costs including personnel and equipment costs, as well as the change in efficiency from implementing IT, is displayed visually and in real time on graphs and 3D displays on the table.
Because multiple pucks can be used concurrently, discussion groups can simulate various proposed solutions in real time in order to determine for example optimum allocation of human resources, the efficiency gains resulting from the implementation of IT equipment and the efficiency gains resulting from the business process flow. Tangible BPA allows businesses to determine their most optimal solutions while monitoring key business process performance indicators such as bottlenecks, lead time, delays in order processing, rates of operation as well as costs and profits.

[ Anticipated Users ]

Tangible BPA is ideal for use by call center operations management businesses such as mail-order firms. Increases in telephone or website traffic can lead to bottlenecks in reception and in answering customer inquiries which in turn can lead to delays in the processing of orders. Tangible BPA eliminates these bottlenecks. In addition, it allows businesses to determine which IT equipment will be the most effective in ensuring short customer response times and low unanswered call rates, two variables which have an important impact on customer satisfaction. In addition to call centers, it is anticipated that Tangible BPA will also be utilized on factory lines as well as in the field of supply chain management (SCM).
Using this platform as a base and focusing on the call center and SCM sectors, it is also anticipated that Tangible BPA will be applied to built-in operating systems which will be able to meet the daily work-related requirements of customers.

[ Tangible BPA: Components ]

1.Standard version
      Allows users to input data into the computer by moving the pucks on the top of the board. The surface of the board is surrounded by an antennae grid. Information on the position and angle of the pucks is calculated utilizing the electromagnetic induction principle and is then inputted into the computer. Thus, while the personal computer relies on the keyboard or other instruments for input, for this platform, that role is fulfilled by the pucks.
      Projects the computer data onto the tangible board.
      Displays the outcomes for each business items such as cost from every simulation on graphs and other graphics.
2.Extended version
  3D Display:
      Displays a more detailed version of the analysis results.
  LCD Tablet:
      Simulation conditions can be inputted via the tablet.
  Anoto Digital Pen:
      Simulation conditions can be inputted via the digital pen.

[ Product Development: Background ]

Many businesses recognize the need to optimize their business work flow. In order to accomplish this, these businesses must be able to make a firm assessment of their current situation, make an analysis and based on this analysis, determine potential solutions which will lead to improvements in their business flow. These are however difficult tasks and businesses must often rely on long-term support from consultants with specialized knowledge in this field. Furthermore, this approach requires that potential solutions be verified one-by-one, and the cost and time associated with this approach is becoming problematic.

[ Product Development: Progress ]

NTT COMWARE has pursued the development of a cutting-edge user interface which would surpass existing input devices such as the keyboard and mouse by making more intuitive work possible. NTT COMWARE participated in the 2002 Digital Life Consortium hosted by the MIT Media Laboratory. In addition, researchers from the NTT COMWARE Research and Development Division were dispatched to the Digital Media Group of the MIT Media Laboratory led by Prof. Hironori Ishii, one of the leaders in the field of human-computer interaction and the head of the laboratory, to participate in joint research.
The theme of the joint-research was Tangible User Interface (TUI), the next-generation human-machine interface. TUI is a means for the physical manipulation of digital information, and it allows information to be manipulated directly with human sensory organs such as the hand. Through TUI, both the person manipulating the data and the person receiving the data experience the identical sensation, and TUI therefore represents a step from a simple interface "contact" towards interaction "mutual link".
In 2003, NTT COMWARE developed the Tangible IP Network Designer, the complete solution for IP Network consulting, design and operations monitoring. The Tangible IP Network Designer received numerous accolades when it was showcased at the World Information Society Summit in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2003, and was also introduced in BusinessWeek magazine, one of the worldfs most widely read sources for business information.

The information shown in this page is the latest as of the day of the release. It is subject to change without further notice. Thank you for your kind understanding and consideration.

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