"Digital technologies are doing for human brainpower what the steam engine and related technologies did for human muscle power. They’re allowing us to overcome many limitations rapidly and to open up new frontiers with unprecedented speed. It’s a very big deal. But how exactly it will play out is uncertain." – Andrew McAfee

Digital transformation moves at breakneck speed and organizations are trying to catch up with latest trends. As a result, operations management plays an increasingly important role in carving out a competitive edge. However, enabling operations management in the digital era has not been an area of focus for many organizations.

Compounding this issue is the fact that customers are now expecting omni-channel experiences as well as speed, accuracy, productivity, and convenience. This can raise a question about the role of operations management in digital era: Will everything be automated and made straight-through? The answer is that operations management will only become more relevant as leadership manages customer and business outcomes. Customer experience will be at the heart of operations management irrespective of whether the transactions are managed by a digital or human workforce. This creates the need to manage the interplay between the human and digital workforce. Leadership needs to leverage digital capabilities to provide enhanced customer experience. Agility and responsiveness will be the key to digital operations management.

The only way this can be achieved is to exploit a resource, which for a long time was considered just as residual bi-product, but today has become a source of business transformation: Data. While one may be aware of its power or possess large amount of data, capitalizing data to create a meaningful narrative out of it is still fraught with challenges.

A survey conducted by EXL found that 56% of companies identified organizing and better using data as their primary focus areas for digital transformation. Some of the common challenges they face are:

  • Preparing Data: Data is not readily usable – especially when it is coming from disparate sources. It needs to undergo the process of cleansing, simplifying, classifying, and aggregation to make it usable, which can be a time- and effort-intensive exercise
  • Generating Data Insights: In order to overcome the data preparation challenges, several organizations have invested in business intelligence (BI) solutions, which offer great visualization features. However, data analysis is a matter of individual perspective. Data is open to multiple interpretations, lacks objectivity, and often fails to drive the organization towards a common goal.
  • Leveraging Data-Driven: One of the other challenges is the lack of sustainable models or tools which can continuously capture the dynamicity of the business and generate prescriptive and predictive inputs, combined with human intelligence to define next best actions.

Future-ready digitally intelligent operations will have six key characteristics:

  1. Ability to unify operational data from multiple sources
  2. Ability to effectively manage interplay between human and a rapidly increasing digital workforce
  3. Ability to eliminate bias and generate objective actionable insights
  4. Ability to redefine engagement between data and its users
  5. Ability to link the micro, process-level metrics and macro perspectives for customer and business outcomes
  6. Ability to combine human and data prowess for continuous transformation

Companies must combine data visualization, real-time insights, embedded analytics and predictive recommendations to drive manageability, differentiation and transformational outcomes.


With digital disruption and hyper-competition, organizations are under tremendous pressure to continuously reinvent themselves to drive revenue growth, reduce cost, and stay relevant. With the adoption of digital technologies, most organizations are re-imagining their business models. Digital transformation requires heavy resources, and many companies struggle to generate the business value they expect from transformation. In one survey conducted by EXL, only 33% of the respondents realized significant value from their transformation initiatives. 53% of executives stated the highest contributing factor for digital transformation failure is a silo mentality and weak adoption, driven largely by organization’s inability to drive operationalization of digital solutions. What is remarkable here is that the reason for failure has nothing to do with the technology itself. It is the inability to align operations with digital transformation outcomes and the failure to embed digital transformation seamlessly into operations. Hence, there is an imminent need to modernize operations to realize and sustain the full potential of digital investments.


Operations in a digital world are no longer about efficiently handling customer contacts, processing invoices, and managing exceptions. Digital operations management is about driving end customer and business outcomes to ensure that every operational decision positively affects the strategic imperatives. Some of the key challenges which today’s operations face are:

  • Smaller and focused digital implementations have led to the creation of several data sources with limited standardization
  • Digitization has created a new workforce of BOTs, thereby challenging the traditional ways of operations management
  • Globalization has led to fragmented processes and disparate ways of managing operations
  • Non-standardized reporting procedures lead to inadequate, inconsistent and inoperative data insights
  • Inability to establish relationship between metrics leads to ad-hoc and reactive decision making
  • Inside-out view adopted by organizations in defining process metrics has made it difficult to link operational success with customer experience
  • Establishing a clear link between transformational efforts and outcomes sought remains an uphill task

EXL Solution: EXL NerveHubTM

The EXL NerveHubTM is a robust industry-agnostic platform to digitize operations management, link operational metrics with outcomes, manage the digital workforce, and drive customer outcomes through enhanced visualization, embedded intelligence, and real-time insights.

It unifies data from multiple sources and provides powerful visualization across KPIs, workforce, transformation roadmaps, customer journeys, strategy simulations and other innovations. It helps organizations establish a distinct link between strategy changes and their impact on customer outcomes and business KPIs. The EXL NerveHubTM solution suite combines best-in-class proprietary and partner components to manage operations, drive digital operations management, and support transformational outcomes.

It leverages built-in descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics to understand what happened, why it happened, and what is needed next to improve. These customized insights lead to intelligent operations and real-time, dynamic decision making capabilities enabling operations to achieve superlative customer and business outcomes, and deliver unprecedented value to clients. It focuses on creating context by combining data and domain knowledge and orchestrating digital and human workforces to achieve established business outcomes.

The EXL NerveHub<sup>TM</sup> helps organizations manage, engage, and
evolve digital operations.


A critical element of operations management is collecting, cleaning, and utilizing the data that is most valuable to an organization. This solution equips stakeholders with a distinct understanding of operations through a centralized dashboard that aggregates multiple data sources and applications, both internal and external. Through powerful real-time data visualization across key operational metrics, the EXL NerveHubTM provides an overview of performance indices, SLAs/KPIs, human and BOT workforce management, transformation roadmaps, and embedded quality monitoring and management. With the EXL NerveHubTM, companies can move beyond just visualizing data to drill down and delineate the key variables impacting business performance.


The solution also has built-in features to generate individual performance insights using AI and natural language generation (NLG). Early warnings signals with calls to action help reduce the risk of breakdowns and enable proactive interventions. The insights engine enables gamification and improves coaching effectiveness by identifying improvement opportunities. A wellstructured escalation matrix ensures these actions are worked upon appropriately and receive manager intervention if required.


While data unification, visualization, and insights support post-facto descriptive and diagnostic analysis, the power of the EXL NerveHubTM lies in its predictive and prescriptive decision support. Interactive customer journey maps support segmentation and drilldowns, allowing executives to review reasons for customer journey failures, as well as set thresholds, configure alerts, and investigate the root cause analysis of these issues. The built-in predictive analytics models also offer quick decision support and recommendations that translate into improved results on the most critical business metrics.

Case Study

EXL deployed its EXL NerveHubTM solution for a leading UK energy retailer who was struggling to reduce costs, prevent revenue leakages, and improve customer experience in a highly competitive and highly regulated environment. A data aggregation and visualization solution, combined with EXL domain expertise, unlocked insights to eliminate work that didn’t add value, reduce the number of unbilled accounts, improve bill quality, and optimize IVR to reduce calls. Benefits delivered in the first year of implementation include a $1.4 MM annual recurring cost reduction and an $18.85 MM improvement in revenue leakage and realization.

The EXL NerveHubTM is an integrated operations management suite in a digital world. It helps organizations utilize their operational data effectively to realize full potential of their digital investment by unifying data and providing real-time monitoring that highlights inherent process inefficiencies, generates actionable insights, prescribes actions, and predicts performance.

Written by

Sumit Taneja
Vice President and Global Lead,
Digital EXLerator Framework, EXL

Puneet Mehra
Vice President,
Process Excellence


Raman Kumar
Senior Manager,
Digital EXLerator


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