I just returned from this year’s Forrester Business Process Conference (#BPF11) in Boston and once again gained some great industry insights. I was especially taken by the keynote from Forrester’s Craig Le Clair who has done some outstanding work on the role of dynamic or adaptive case management in achieving business improvement. Craig was joined by Steven J. Spear, Senior Lecturer at MIT, expert on achieving operational excellence and author of “The High-Velocity Edge.” Together their message focused on what needs to happen differently for our business process solutions to meet today’s more demanding customer expectations.
Time to Change Our Process Approach
Craig led with a challenge that our traditional approaches to process improvement are failing. It’s time to change our process approach. Prior approaches have become irrelevant because of the ascendance of “untamed” business processes. Those processes that form in the seams and shadows of organizations between packaged applications. Firms struggle to effectively deal with these and provide the necessary and expected customer experience. For example:
- Customer on-boarding – takes the customer down the tunnel that reflects the internal systems and we need to flip the focus to the customer view
- Insurance claims processes – departmental silos are slowing claims resolution, raising liability risks, and giving customers bad experiences that can drive them to competitive alternatives (for my take on this area, check out How ACM Helped Fix My Car)
- Invoice processing – packaged applications and ERP systems don’t deal well with resolving exceptions with the customer in mind, and coordinating invoices with purchase orders, deal sheets and other critical supporting documents is a problem
The issue for IT and business leaders alike is to turn around the previous lost decade (1998 to 2009) consumed by rigid and often brittle packaged apps in silos, where 75 percent of IT budgets went to maintenance.
Analyst Advice: Invest in Dynamic Case Management Solutions
Craig’s advice on how best to deal with these untamed process issues is investment in dynamic case management solutions. Case Management will help to close the gap between processes that control and processes that engage, and will move us from our current environment to a more dynamic customer centric environment:
In effect, this is a movement toward a solution and support transformation where IT vanishes into the business. And, the resulting solution environment needs to simplify the complexity that businesses are facing.
Operational Excellence Expert Says Some of Most Difficult Problems Arise in the Complex Handoffs Between Systems, Activities, and People
With his focus on how businesses can gain high-velocity operational excellence, Steven J. Spear dove-tailed perfectly with Craig’s observations and advice for process improvement programs and approaches. Mr. Spear sees that some of our most difficult problems arise in the complex interrelationships and handoffs between systems, activities, and people – much like the untamed and less structured processes that Craig describes. Because of that it is hard to track what is connected to what and then hard to determine “the why” when it fails. To address this we must focus on ways to ensure that people have context and can see the complexity in which they are embedded and for which they are responsible, and at the same time simplifying that complexity for them.
New ways of working – including knowledge sharing – are driving results for high-velocity companies and Mr. Spear provides some great examples in his book. One example right from our own Global 360 (now OpenText) customer community is Citi who presented their case management application at the Forrester conference. While I don’t have a recording of their Forrester presentation session to share, you can learn more about the Citi case study at How Citigroup Delivers Exceptional Customer Service with Case Management. I think it is a great illustration of how case management can play a key role in driving operational results.
About Deb Miller
Deb Miller is Director of Market Development for Global 360 (now OpenText). Her work focuses on industry strategies for business process improvement. Her career includes more than 20 years of global industry experience with GE. You can read more of Deb’s writings at http://www.DebsG360.wordpress.com/ and follow her @DebsG360 on Twitter.
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