Have you ever used your fingernail to turn a screw or the heel of your shoe to hammer a nail? I thought so. Didn’t work out so well did it? You used a workaround because, at the time, you didn’t have the right tool for the job.
It’s the same thing when certain dynamic processes within an organization are not effectively managed by transactional or functional applications. Those systems often can’t keep up with the changing needs of dynamic, human-centric processes such as managing a request for services, opening an account, or managing exceptions, and knowledge workers will use spreadsheets, email, IMs, Access databases and other tools as workarounds to get the job done. Forrester in refers to these kinds of processes “untamed,” and when content and actions within untamed processes are not managed, they add will costs and time to the process, increase risk to the organization, and result in poor customer experiences.
The concept of the Smart Process Applications has become the most compelling new type of solution for unstructured and collaborative processes. The analyst firm Forrester does a nice job of explaining these new types of applications in their report called “Smart Process Applications Fill A Big Business Gap” (downloadable from the OpenText website), and how they include the following components:
- Information Capture
- Data Awareness
- Information Capture
- Content Analysis
- Multi-Channel Communications
And how all of these services are orchestrated and managed by a business process management infrastructure. Smart Process Applications created with these technologies effectively bridge the gap between transactional applications and dynamic human engagement, and can tame the untamed processes.
To consider the power of Smart Process Applications, let’s first look at the capture and communications aspects of a process. These are the “on-ramps” and “off-ramps” of a process, and are how an organization engages with its customers, partners, citizens and employees, both in the information capture, and outbound communication aspects of a process. Examples of on-ramps include a mortgage application, the forms needed to apply for a business permit, or an insurance claim form, and they may trigger a process or be a communication in the middle of a process when more information is needed. Examples of off-ramps include a notification to the mortgage applicant for further information or actions, an acceptance or rejection notification, or a marketing communication with a desired action.
The importance of the on-ramps and off-ramps is described by Forrester in that enterprises will begin to distinguish and differentiate themselves by the way they handle customer requests, exceptions, and other ad hoc engagements with speed, efficiency, and quality. According to them, taming the workarounds must be done from the “outside in,” by understanding the user’s perspective first before mapping the internal components needed to support a process.
For the onramps, this means high quality, multi-channel inputs. This includes dynamic information captures sessions that take the user “by-the-hand” through sophisticated transactions/interactions, providing intuitive help, engagement history where needed, and by eliminating the need to input redundant or known information. How many of you have yelled at a form: “… But you already asked me that!” Hopefully, no one was around to hear you.
More importantly, effective on-ramping is providing access to users in the ways they want, which is multi-channel communications and now means mobile access along with web-based, paper-based, and phone-based mobile interactions. The Apple app store experience, starting with the iPhone and now tablets, has changed expectations with more and more (meaning older) users that they should be able to start any process, check a status, purchase goods, and process payment from any mobile device they want, wherever they are. Mobile is no longer an option for process engagement – it’s a requirement.
On the off-ramp side of a process, how an organization responds will directly impact the user’s experience, and can affect process participation or abandonment, overall satisfaction, and sales. Impersonal text-based communications get lost in the white noise of incoming content, and create a lack of connection with an audience. Multi-channel response communication that provides clear, relevant, personalized, and visually appealing interaction, across any device, is now the expectation.
So the key to bridging the engagement gap between process systems and users is through a complete Smart Process Application such as the ones provided by OpenText. They extend the BPM foundation with broad EIM components that create the on-ramps and off-ramps that truly engage users. OpenText provides a very powerful set of on-ramps with:
- OpenText Social Workplace – for extending processes to Apple IOS-based devices.
- OpenText Portal – for creating windows into a process with rich content.
- OpenText Mobile Wave – for creating mobile experiences across devices.
- OpenText Capture and Recognition – to capture and digitize document and form information .
- OpenText Tempo Social – to engage users through with social and team worksites.
For off ramps, OpenText offers the industry leading tools including:
- OpenText Customer Communications Management – to automate the generation of compelling customer communications – both digitally and via paper.
- OpenText Mobile Wave – to communicate with users across mobile platforms.
- OpenText WCM – to create engaging web experiences.
Organizations that attempt to manage their untamed processes without a broad set of tools for user engagement may improve internal productivity, but will not extend the value outside their organization to the people that really matter most. OpenText has a very broad set of EIM pillars that work together to create high value Smart Process Applications. They are the right tools for the job.
A great example of a customer that used OpenText to change how it engages with clients is Irish Life, where BPM and social tools were used to create a social media-based case management claims solution. Check out the video. According to Irish Life, the solution boosted morale, improved customer service with advance reporting and collaboration, and increased internal productivity by 35% in the process.
In his report called “Stuck In Cement: When Packaged Apps Create Barriers To Innovation,” Craig Le Clair of Forrester writes about “recapturing human engagement – but doing it at scale.” That has been a huge challenge, with most organizations failing miserably in developing the best, or even adequate on-ramps and off-ramps. Now organizations can achieve this goal because with OpenText’s Smart Process Applications, there is finally the right set of tools.
One final note, be sure to download a free copy of Forrester Research, Inc.’s report, “Smart Process Applications Fill a Big Business Gap” at: www.opentextbpm.com/SmartProcessAppsReport, and register for OpenText’s Smart Process Applications webinar with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, Craig LeClair, on March 20th.
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