JTI Uses SemTalk to Optimize 1200 Accounting Processes Worldwide

SemTalk enables company-wide process optimization via global comparisons and reporting. Chosen as a successful best practice project for the Gartner BPM Summit 2014

Potsdam, January 28, 2015 – Semtation, maker of the well-known process modeling software SemTalk, is selected by Microsoft as a best practice winner for its solution for Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

The jumping off point for this project were 5.3 million account bookings from 36 countries in 16 languages with more than 1000 SAP 1,000 processes supported by 350 JTI employees in three Global Service Centers located in Manchester, Kuala Lumpur and St. Petersburg.  In order to consolidate both processes and documentation, and to establish uniform standards and principles for global comparisons and reports, a suitable process modeling software tool was required to make it possible to execute worldwide comparisons and optimization strategies.

The choice was made to model with Visio and SemTalk using an individualize notation that was especially created for JTI. Management of more than 1200 Visio files operates smoothly using a SharePoint repository. SemTalk ensures consistency. SemTalk Services uses this SharePoint repository to generate a process portal for users with all necessary graphical process descriptions as well as to provide intelligent navigation through the various process models using search and reporting features.

Modeling is based on a Business Process Reference Framework (BPRF) shared by all three Service Centers. In BPRF more than a thousand processes are stored in a standardized format. Local customizations are easily created, but, through skillful modeling, variations only amounted to ~10% of total model content. The BPRF makes process models, processes, companies and markets comparable.  This standardization provides the basis for JTI central reporting.

Twenty-Six process execution data reports are generated during the night.  Additional Excel reports are also generated on a daily basis. These reports easily answer questions such as “Which processes are affected by a change in the J-SOX compliance rules?”, “What processes relate to Business Unit 4711?” and “Which responsibilities are performed by an accountant at the Manchester Service Center?”

Transparency not only pays off in process controlling, but also in daily process execution. During their last half-year evaluation, JTI has shown that world-wide process compliance improved to 99.8%. In view of the complexity presented by 36 different countries, and the sheer volume of 5.3 million processes, this represents outstanding quality performance.

"As a result of this project JTI has achieved an enormous increase in process execution quality. A process fidelity of 99.8% for millions of processes clearly shows the positive effects of process consolidation through comprehensive modeling and intuitive process documentation available in the resulting process portals." Said Dr. Frauke Weichhardt, COO of BPM specialist Semtation.

The combination of SemTalk, Visio and SharePoint not only fulfills requirements perfectly, it is also inexpensive to maintain.  Worldwide technical maintenance and operation of the overall solution only requires the equivalent of 1/10th of the capacity of a single system administrator.

"In combination with Visio and SharePoint, SemTalk is able to provide an extremely robust and easy-to-administer process modeling solution that is able to be used as the basis for a Process Portal," says Christian Fillies, Managing Director of Semtation. "Microsoft SharePoint is often used by our customers as a Central Portal Platform.  SemTalk rarely generates additional administration expense and the Visio front-end makes it particularly easy for users. "

Reason enough for Microsoft to select JTI’s SemTalk project as a best practice.  Together with Microsoft and JTI, Semtation presented their solution to Gartner’s global Business Process Management Summit 2014 in Las Vegas - a special tribute to be awarded to a German BPM vendor.

This project shows that a standardized Business Process Reference Framework can be used as the basis for consolidation and optimization - even in the most complex process environments.  The important thing is to harmonize process modeling and process model descriptions within a single repository using a unified modeling and publishing tool. SemTalk, in combination with Visio and SharePoint, is perfectly designed to meet this task. SemTalk provides model consistency and uniformity, Visio adds ease of operation and SharePoint delivers a central repository and portal collaboration.