Customer Focus Is Key To Success of Business Applications
Right Information At The Right Time Is What Customers Want
Explosive growth of mobile devices, social media, and big data in recent years has significantly changed the manner in which users interact with business applications. Customer expectations are very different than from say five to seven years ago.
In the field of BPM and case management, customers are looking for much more adaptive applications instead of rigid process driven solutions. End-users are demanding much better user experience when interacting with business application across a variety of devices and their expectations are forcing technology vendors to rethink the entire design paradigm.
Based on a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of MicroPact, it’s easy to see that the nature of engagement is rapidly moving toward tablet, smartphone and online resources. The study, which was based on surveys of 151 application development and implementation decision-makers across North America, revealed that only 25 percent of respondents rely on traditional channels of communicating with customers or constituents.
More and more data is coming from social channels and collaboration efforts. This also implies that the process now begins closer to the customer, which impacts the data that must be captured in the first interaction impacting the overall system design.
The Changing Focus of BPM
In my review of a recent blog post -- “It's Time To Reinvent BPM For The Age Of The Customer” -- from Forrester analyst Clay Richardson, it is clear that the research firms are seeing a clear trend where the BPM applications need to change focus from heavy integration to more collaboration and social interaction. Organizations need easy access to the right information at the right time to reach an effective outcome when solving problems for their clients. This comes out in the Forrester survey (see figure #4 from the study, shown on the right). You will see that for 34 percent of the respondents, having access to the right information at the right time is one of their biggest challenges when it comes to resolving customer issues.
It is imperative that BPM and case management vendors keep customer needs in perspective when designing business applications. Instead of building rigid automated workflows where the focus is on process efficiency, vendors’ top priority should be to enhance the customers’ engagement with the application by building all necessary hooks to handle known and unknown business scenarios.
So what are the changes vendors can bring to improve interaction with the business applications? Here are some examples:
- Allow customers to collaborate among each other with ease using capabilities built within the application. For example, email, chat, forums, bulletin boards, knowledge repository, etc.
- Allow customers to upload a variety of content including documents, videos, audio, images, etc.
- Enable applications to work across a variety of mobile devices
- Allow customers to handle business use cases on an ad-hoc basis
- Build mechanisms so that the customer can get alerts/notifications as needed
- Create features, which incentivize customers to complete tasks in a timely manner (think Gamification!)
The Growth of Knowledge-Intensive Work
The nature of work is becoming more knowledge intensive instead of just routine and repetitive. Knowledge workers are becoming the primary consumers of BPM and case management applications and their work is increasingly being driven by their ability to collaborate with other knowledge workers and to be able to get to the information they need to solve business problems. This changing nature of work is directly affecting system design. Technology vendors are rushing to fill this critical gap in their offerings to stay ahead of the competition.
You can read another interesting blog post from Bob Ragsdale, VP Marketing, MicroPact, in which he explains how work is getting redefined and why that requires changes to the underlying design.
To read the entire commission study, download “Is Process Mapping A Barrier To Innovation?”
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