MicroPact Blog

First BPM, Now CRM is Dead Too?

Bad User Experience (UX) Can Kill Great Initiatives

Bob Ragsdale's avatar

By: Bob Ragsdale

May 21, 2014 | Analysts

In order for any system to gain widespread adoption it must meet the needs of the user community it serves. I’ve been emphasizing this painfully obvious statement for a long time. Still, I’m always surprised at how often the user experience (UX) is overlooked in the development process. If a system doesn’t meet people’s needs or is hard to use, people won’t use it, and it won’t matter how good the underlying technology is – it will die.

BPM is Dead

One prominent technology analyst recently opined “BPM is Dead, Long Live Big Change!” BPM in particular has suffered from bad UX for a long time. I am not necessarily talking about the applications that are ultimately produced, but the holistic “experience” of BPM’s rigid approach to requirements gathering, building, testing, implementation, roll-out, and usage as a whole. It is often a hard and painful experience.

CRM is Dead

Christopher Bucholtz penned a blog a couple of weeks ago that highlighted the key actors that can kill a good CRM initiative. Christopher points to the collaborative experience of Sales, Support, and Marketing teams as being the key suspects that create a disjointed experience that ultimately result in the death of CRM initiatives.

User Experience is Alive

ISO 9241-210 defines user experience as "a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service." So we’re not just talking about the interface, but the holistic, end-to-end experience. When we are creating applications for our businesses, it is essential that we view the user experience as beginning all the way back at requirements gathering and extending all the way to the most forward boundaries of system interaction.

For most organizations, 75% to be exact, this shift to the forward boundaries includes mobile and web channels (according to a recent commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of MicroPact). And in the age of the consumer where the right information needs to be delivered to knowledge workers at each and every stage of customer interaction (as shown below) BPM’s traditional process-first approach of system development doesn’t “meet the process needs for less structured activities” nor does it adequately extract the context of the work item” to “guide work, support better process decisions, routing, and rule invocation.”

Current Approaches Are Not Suited For Accelerating Unstructured Process Needs

How to Create a Better User experience

According to the Forrester study, “Information-led approaches (are) cited as a potential future.”

Information-led is also known as a Data-First™ approach, whereby the data associations that connect data elements (structured and unstructured) and process artifacts are organized into logical entities that reflect the business needs. One of the key benefits of this approach relative to the user experience discussion is that it allows the greatest number of people within an organization to participate in the system design. Users are all levels are generally familiar with the information they require to accomplish their work therefore when design discussions center on the management of data, they are able to contribute. Conversely, very few people within an organization are generally conversant in the language of process mapping thus successful user engagement at the leading edge of development rarely happens with a process-first approach.

I encourage you to download the full study, Is Process Mapping A Barrier To Innovation? (February 2014), to learn more about how to empower users at all levels to create highly engaging user experiences.

About the Author

Bob Ragsdale is Director of Marketing at MicroPact. Bob has over 20 years of experience leading the international marketing and branding efforts of software and technology companies at nearly every stage of development.


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