76 posts categorized "BPM"

April 04, 2014

Webinar With The Process Ninja: Register Now!

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I'm delighted to announce that I'll be hosting a webinar on the 29th April at 2pm Australian Eastern Standard Time with the guys from Bosch SI to talk about my latest whitepaper "Achieving Organisational Effectiveness and Agility with Smart Process Applications".

Register for the webinar by clicking here.

Abstract:

Today’s latest evolution in business process technology takes us another step further in the ability to respond to our customers and their needs. The focus on organisational efficiency remains but the emphasis has started to swing towards a new goal – effectiveness. Allied with the need for large organisations to be faster to market with new offerings in order to remain competitive, smart process applications are delivering the functionality to achieve organisational agility and effectiveness. This whitepaper explains these key challenges and explains the benefits that smart process applications can deliver.

Cheers,

TPN

March 18, 2014

Free Whitepaper - Achieving Organisational Effectiveness and Agility with Smart Process Applications

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My latest whitepaper "Achieving Organisational Effectiveness and Agility with Smart Process Applications" is now available for free download from the Bosch Software Innovations website.

Click here to download (sign-up required).

Abstract:

Today’s latest evolution in business process technology takes us another step further in the ability to respond to our customers and their needs. The focus on organisational efficiency remains but the emphasis has started to swing towards a new goal – effectiveness. Allied with the need for large organisations to be faster to market with new offerings in order to remain competitive, smart process applications are delivering the functionality to achieve organisational agility and effectiveness. This whitepaper explains these key challenges and explains the benefits that smart process applications can deliver.

Cheers,

TPN

December 17, 2013

Customer Onboarding - Your Most Important, Worst Process?

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Improvements to customer onboarding are all the rage these days. Why so? Probably because most organisations do it so badly.

Firstly even by it's name we make the process of becoming a customer sound like something that will require herculean effort to achieve - boarding a ship with your luggage strapped to all limbs. Unfortunately for many firms the blood sweat and tears of the sales pipeline are washed away when the customer finds out that it's "just too hard" - and takes their business elsewhere.

So what do companies do that makes the process so hard? How should it work?

1. Single channel, not omni channel

In an age where we have almost limitless technology in our pockets customers are still plagued by companies asking them to fill out bits of paper and "send them back". Customers today expect to do business their way, not the way that suits the company - and that is omni-channel - phone, fax, web, smartphone, in person (or even on a bit of paper). What's more, they want it without delay.

2. Antique business rules and policy

"Our policy is that we need you to..." - words of death for a blossoming new customer relationship. Too many firms simply gather unnecessary information at onboarding because it was decided 20 or 30 years ago that it was required. Antiquated business rules need to be questioned, challenged, eliminated or they become a catalyst for complexity and errors.

3. The sales breakpoint

So your customer has been wooed and wowed, the sales funnel has given birth to a beautiful new baby and then you hand it over. And wait. And wait. "No-one has contacted me" cry the customers. The breakpoint between the sales process and the often laborious customer administration piece often creates delays, confusion and frustration. The cure? Wherever possible capture customer data in the sales process and re-use to minimise back office processing.

4. Duplicate effort

More often than not data will be entered several times by several people into several systems (and more than likely entered incorrectly). Each keystroke is time and money that could be saved and staff that could be directed to use their time more effectively (like getting new customers, perhaps?) Technology today has the capability of "glueing" systems together to pass data to disparate systems - so if staff absolutely have to enter the data themselves, they at least only have to enter it once. 

5. The Customer Experience

Organisations have a tendency to think that once the sale is made, the hard work is done. The truth is that the onboarding of a customer sets the tone for the relationship. A bad onboarding experience is a bit like getting married, carrying your partner across the threshhold then telling them to wash the dishes. The customer experience has to be nurtured for the longevity of the relationship to be sustainable.

The key to customer onboarding is minimal customer effort through the channel of their choice - data entered once and passed through the process. Customers don't care about being "onboarded" they just care about your products and services - so don't keep them from using them by putting process roadblocks in their way.

Cheers,

TPN

November 18, 2013

Business Requirements - The End is Nigh

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Documenting business requirements is one of those pieces of work that sends a cold shiver down my spine, particularly when preceeded by the word "detailed". Some of the worst work on the worst projects I've ever seen has been achieved primarily due to the laser focus on creating phone book sized documents of "detailed business requirements". Our reliance on them is a slavery to an old religion of business that needs to end. Thankfully the end is nigh.

Agile software development is playing a big part in that due to the high business contact of the method. Fact of the matter is, the more often you can show the business what the end result will look like, the more feedback you'll get and you'll get closer to what they need. Waterfall development kills all of that stone dead - high customer touch up front then the project dissappears into IT land only to emerge as some transmogrified beast that no-one wanted.

The other factor that will lead to the demise of the dreaded business requirements is the continued development of BPMS'. Most BPMS vendors strictly push an agile implementation pathway, with the focus on building the processes and screens. Having worked with both Pega and Appian in recent projects, this really is the best way to go and almost totally eliminates the need to write business requirements. In my experience, whole processes and screen layouts can be built in a couple of days, demoed to the business and an iterative, agile cycle follows. If it sounds simple, that's because it is.

Process isn't just about challenging the way the business operates, it's also about challenging our own holy cows. It's time to challenge the concept of business requirements.

Cheers,

TPN

P.S. Need help with your process improvement initiatives? Drop me a line to explore how I could help your organisation.

August 27, 2013

Free Whitepaper: Big Data and Process

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Big Data has become one of the most talked about trends in technology today. It has been pinpointed as a marketer’s dream – a way of targeting customers like never before – but there is little understanding about how Big Data could or should interact with Business Processes.

In this whitepaper paper, I attempt to identify how we can use Big Data and Business Process together to improve our organizations. In particular CIO's, Data Architects and Business Process Analysts can use this white paper to identify how to use the two together to provide benefits to the organization and to customers.

In summary, this white paper explains:

What Big Data is

Why organizations need to examine the impact of Big Data on Business Process

• The benefits of using Big Data and Business Process together

Examples of how organizations are using Big Data and Business Process to add value.

The whitepaper can be downloaded from the Orbus website by clicking here (registration required).

Cheers,

TPN

July 17, 2013

Free Whitepaper: How To Build a Compelling Case for Business Process Improvement

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Often, the hardest part of bringing business process improvement (BPI) to life in an organization is in building a compelling case to get the initiative up and running.

In this paper I provide a structured approach to building a compelling case for business process improvement (BPI) that will get staff at all levels of the organization involved and motivated to make the change a success.

It is intended to be used as a practical guide for Process Analysts, Change Managers and Business Architects to get buy-in to a programme of organizational change.

In summary the whitepaper details:

  • Why you need a compelling case
  • A nine step pathway to ensuring business process improvement initiatives obtain the necessary commitment to ensure success.

Please click here to download.

Cheers,

TPN

July 01, 2013

Free Whitepaper: Business Process & The Customer Experience - A Quick Start Guide

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My latest whitepaper is available for download from the Orbus website.

In this white paper, I introduce the fundamentals of how business process and the customer experience work together. It is intended as a practical guide for Business Analysts or managers to quickly understand the concepts of customer experience management, and how to improve business processes using ‘outside-in’ thinking.

The paper considers the difference between the customer experience and the process, why a customer experience approach is critical and how to improve the Customer Experience Management using the Customer Experience Management (CEM) Method.

Click here to download (registration required).

Cheers,

TPN

May 30, 2013

Improving The Customer Experience - A Chat With Gartner's Ed Thompson

Ed Thompson

I had the luck of getting a 1 hour one on one with Ed Thompson  at the Gartner BPM Summit in Sydney. Ed works for Gartner and is a world expert in Customer Experience.

I spoke to him about what I do, my passion for customer experience and what I try to do for my clients. In return I received some great tips on improving the customer experience.

Here are my notes from the session:

Customer Satisfaction Measurement

Most companies are moving away from long CSAT surveys and are typically using NPS (Net Promoter score) - . However the latest trend is to use Customer Effort Score (CES) – which measures the amount of effort a customer has to put into a particular interaction with the company (customers don’t like effort!)

Process Improvement Implementation

He recommended process improvement efforts are undertaken in 6 month sprints – if it takes longer than that you’ve lost momentum and you’ll lose the enthusiasm of the business

We should describe our processes the way a customer would – for example a customer would never call a process “provisioning”, to them it’s “getting the service”.

Getting high level engagement

To maintain an ongoing focus on the customer experience he recommended getting 20 minutes at least once a quarter to talk to the senior managers / exec of the organisation. These sessions would not be focussed on stats (everyone gets bored of stats) but focussed on real life examples of where companies the had particularly bad customer experiences and what they are doing to fix them. This is a bit of a shock and awe tactic but it really helps to bring things to life for those that are disconnected from the front line. He suggested using call recordings, mystery shop videos or even bringing in customers to talk about their experiences.

Ed also suggested getting everyone at the senior level from the CEO down to do a “back to the frontline” day – a bit like undercover boss except, err, not undercover so that they can really reconnect with what the frontline troops have to deal with.

Customer Experience Days

He also suggested that companies have a “customer experience day” where anyone from the company who is involved with customer experience should get together to discuss how they can help each other and co-ordinate ideas.

Customer Complaints and Compliments

It’s important to really take control of the feedback process – the ability for customers to provide feedback should be there as quickly as possible after the interaction. This is particularly the case with compliments. People fester on complaints and will tend to lodge a complaint up to twice as long on average compared to a customer leaving a compliment. So the lesson is – you snooze, you miss out on compliments.

He also recommended having an option to ask permission to use the customer’s compliments so that these can be used e.g. in a twitter feed, facebook wall or any other marketing.

He also mentioned that the top 5% of organisations with the highest customer engagement were those that gave feedback to customers on the customer’s feedback. 35% don’t give feedback to
the customer but will use the feedback to improve the organisation. 60% of companies will ignore the customer feedback and do nothing with it.

Building a Customer Community

One of the key things he recommended is to build an online community. i.e. forums that customers can join and discuss the companies products and services, etc. This provides an extra channel of contact. It helps to deflect some of the contact via other channels and doesn’t require a huge amount of staff involvement once enthusiastic members get on board (generally the 1% contribute 90% of content).


Staff would act as moderators and step in if a question remains unanswered after a few hours. It’s success is dependent upon a recognition scheme of some sort where they would be rewarded with points / stars / guru status, etc for contributing. e.g. companies could invite the top 10 contributors to a dinner or awards day on behalf of the company.

Ed recommended checking out Lithium which is the software that many organisations use for social customer experience.

Those organisations that do adopt a multichannel approach have increased levels of loyalty and profitability.

Social Media

Obviously Ed recommended companies getting on facebook and twitter ASAP if they aren’t there already and he mentioned that it’s a good way to engage facebook followers with quirky / weird / interesting novelty topics. One example that he has seen being popular is showcasing people with collections of old bank piggybanks. This apparently appeals to older customers!

Facebook is also an excellent place to showcase charity / socially responsible activities.

Ed also stressed the importance of undertaking continual social media monitoring using software such as Radian6 so that companies can be aware of what everyone is saying about them on whatever social media they are using. He even mentioned that some companies publish live feeds from Radian 6 to show what people are talking about at that instant.

Apps

Ed mentioned that apps are critical and can greatly boost an organisation if done correctly.

He also said it’s essential to  have separate apps for separate products / services as this way you can track number of downloads (usefulness) and feedback (useability) – otherwise you get a mish mash of feedback and no indication of why they downloaded the app.

A shining example

Ed mentioned USAA as a good example of a company that has engaged customers (I should say members because it is a membership based organisation) and has paid great attention to the customer experience. They have an astonishing average of 6.5 products per member - have a look at their community focus and you'll understand why they've been so successful.

Cheers,

TPN

May 24, 2013

Social BPM: The Watercooler Just Got Cooler

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I never quite got social BPM. "It's like facebook but for corporations" the BPMS marketing departments screamed! "It will change the way we do business" they cried!

The success of social media is primarily that it's fun and easy. We get a laugh out of sharing our catbearding photos (well I do...) and having innane conversations with people on the other side of the world that we haven't seen for years. It's an escape from the day-to-day humrum. So what is social BPM given that it's focus IS the day-to-day humrum?

At the Gartner BPM summit last week I met Edward Hughes from Appian. Edward was kind enough to take the time to show me the Appian app on his iPhone and explain social BPM to me. Then it struck me: social BPM is the new watercooler. All those little conversations we have in passing, all those chats in the corridor or at drinks after work - they give us those snippets of information about "what people are up to". The same is the case with social BPM. "I'm working on project X" someone might say "Oh I didn't know you were working on project X!" someone else might say - "maybe we can collaborate?"

So the social BPM interface is like all those little watercooler conversations, except it's much, much cooler and the exposure is far greater. There are plusses and minus to that, but if the social BPM conversations can be encouraged and made a habit by employees the ability to communicate and collaborate will be worth it's weight in gold...or at least water...

Cheers,

TPN

May 16, 2013

The Straw Point: How Process Can Win or Lose Customers

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In every process we have customer interaction points - how well we manage these "moments of truth" with our customers influences their levels of loyalty towards the firm. Loyal customers spend more and are more likely to recommend the firm to friends or collegues so making customers more loyal should be a major focus - and to do this we need to look at process from a customer experience perspective. How should we do this?

When we look at processes we must take an outside-in view. The process does not start and end at the front door of the organisation. Take, for example, my recent experience with travelling with virgin on holiday. The flight is a small part of the customer experience - it's up to organisations to influence and manage as much of the process as they can outside of their traditional view of the process.

Managing moments of truth is critical. Each interaction with a customer has a different level of impact on customer dissatisfaction and consequently loyalty. Example: for the last couple of years I have been ordering my groceries through Woolworths online and in the last couple of years woolworths online have made a mistake with every single order I have received. Usually it's only a couple of items which is a minor dissatisfaction and not enough to make me either switch to a competitor or to trudge to the supermarket myself. However, minor dissatisfactions have a cumulative effect which can break a relationship with the firm.

Conversely, positive moments of truth can help to reduce the dissatisfaction that builds up. After I complained and said I was going to stop ordering with them Woolworths gave me a credit and refunded my delivery fee - which like pouring water on a fire, died it down for some time until the next event to trigger dissatisfaction...which wasn't far off...

I then received a delivery where all of the frozen foods were missing. I contacted Woolworths and received a cut and paste email saying that they'd refund the missing items - this only inflamed my dissatisfaction before a couple of weeks later I received none of my fruit and veg (half of the order). Cue the straw point.

The straw point is the final incident of dissatisfaction that leads to the termination of the relationship with the company - it is "the straw that breaks the camels back". All loyalty is broken. For me the straw point was when I called the Woolworths call centre 10 minutes after receiving my delivery to see if my fruit and veg was in the truck and I received a message saying that "due to unforseen circumstances the call centre is now closed". After which I sent the following terse email:

"Hi - please refund the items marked with a cross which we did not receive. You will note this includes all of the fruit and veg. I called your call centre but you are strangely closed.

We will be shopping with Coles online from this point forward (if only you cared about losing a customer!)"

I did receive a response the next day - yet another cut and paste saying that the missing items would be refunded. And I was right, they didn't care to lose me as a customer - a family of 6 who spend in the region of $20k a year in their supermarket.

So what lessons can organisations learn to avoid the straw point?

  1. Look at the process from the outside-in - look at the customer experience
  2. Identify all of your customer interaction points in the process
  3. Identify the dissatisfaction impact level in the event that the interaction goes wrong
  4. Reduce the number of customer interaction points to reduce the probability of things going wrong
  5. Optimise the customer interaction points that are left - focus on reducing the customer's level of effort.

We are all customers, so do unto them as you would expect yourself.

Cheers,

TPN

P.S. My first shop with Coles online was last week - and I am pleased to advise that not a single item was missing.