In Part II of this series we not only noted that HICX, which stands for Harmonize, Integrate, Control, and eXchange, is a relatively new SIM offering on the market (even though it has been in development since 2004), addresses the classic SIM sweet-spots, but also hits a few new ones. Not only does it include on-boarding and an integrated supplier portal like classic SIM, and more than adequately address Performance and Compliance Management — mainstays of current SIM platforms, but also goes beyond to offer a complete Master Data Management (MDM) solution for your Supply Management operation.
But that isn’t the only trick it offers. As hinted at in Part I, it not only allows a user to define, and redefine, data models as necessary but define, and redefine, workflows as necessary to allow an organization to not only accommodate new product demands but adapt to new technologies and new business requirements as they arise. These new tricks are not to be underestimated. While a number of platforms allow you to extend and augment the data model, most do not allow the data model to be extended after the fact, and those that do require all existing elements to have the new property defined, or at least defaulted (to a default or a value that represents a not-yet-defined value).
In contrast, the HICX platform allows the data model for any element to be updated at any time by any user with authority, and since the HICX platform supports versioning with all data elements of the data model, no existing elements are impacted or need to be updated since the data (element) model is loaded with each data element and each data element is validated against the (element) model it was created with. (Once the data element is loaded, the user can add any additional elements required to update the associated data model, if desired.)
But that’s not the best trick that the HICX platform has to offer. The best trick is that the platform allows the workflow to be updated at any time by any user with the authority to do so, even if the workflow is being used in an initiative currently in progress — such as an on-boarding, compliance, or performance improvement initiative. This is because the platform not only versions data models, but workflows that drive the product and initiatives. If, during an event, the event administrator notices that that the workflow is causing problems for the suppliers and can be simplified, or notices that the information being collected is not what was expected, the administrator can simplify the workflow or add additional, mandatory, data requests. Suppliers who have already started the workflow will be able to finish the current workflow, and can then be sent a request for additional information by the administrator (who can limit the request to suppliers on the older version of the workflow) but suppliers who did not begin the initiative before the update will start on the new workflow.
But the real power of the workflow management capability is the ability to change registration, data collection, and performance measurement workflows (and associated data element models) when suppliers change, products change, and evaluation methods change. Traditional SIM platforms decline in usage because they can’t keep up with changing business requirements and user needs. But with the ability to update workflows to match the business needs at any time, using an integrated visual workflow designer, the HICX platform insures that SIM is always relevant and current. It’s the new trick that most SIM platforms have been missing.
Other tricks include:
- Dynamic Dashboards
like any good SIM product, the HICX platform supports user dashboards, but doesn’t stop at one dashboard per user — the user can create as many dashboards as he or she wants and customize them to specific purposes — compliance, performance improvement, on-boarding, insurance, etc.; the tool includes a sophisticated dashboard designer that allows a knowledgeable user to design a dashboard that is actually relevant to the initiative at hand (which can be focussed on non-compliance, non-performance etc. — since we all know that dashboards that report success are dangerous and dysfunctional)
- Advanced Search
that allows the user to search for any data element using any fields, and filter using any set of fixed values (lists) and related elements; these searches can be used to define supplier sets for initiatives, using as many dimensions as necessary to get it right
- User Defined Escalations
that allow the user to define multiple levels of automated escalation during initiatives, where each escalation can occur at a different interval and be targeted to a different group or individual
These aren’t all the tricks the platform has to offer, but they are most of the tricks of note that serve to distinguish the HICX platform from the other SIM products on the market. If you’re on the market for a SIM solution, you should definitely take a look. The name and website might be a bit non-descriptive, but the tool certainly isn’t.