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Business Process Management as a core CEM competency

Just Clarity Hero BMP as CEM Core Competency

Welcome to another episode of Just Clarity by Digital Clarity Group. In this segment, Cathy McKnight and Connie Moore explore the topic of Business Project Management as a core CEM competency.

Transcript: Business Process Management is a core CEM competency

Welcome to Just Clarity, a periodic podcast about Digital. Just Clarity is produced by the team at Digital Clarity Group. We help leaders transform the experience they deliver to customers, prospects, and their employees through the effective selection, integration, and adoption of Customer Experience Management technology. Learn more at

Cathy McKnight (CMc): Welcome to our Just Clarity podcast on Business Process Management as a core competency for Customer Experience Management. My name is Cathy McKnight and I’m a Co-founder and VP of consulting and operations for Digital Clarity Group. Joining me today is Connie Moore our Senior Vice President of Research. Connie has a wealth of experience in today’s topic which is Business Process Management or BPM, and how BPM is one of the core competencies companies need to be successful at Customer Experience Management, but before we tackle BPM, let’s talk about the other nine CEM competencies we see as equally important factors to today’s CEM strategy and welcome by the way Connie before we get to the other nine.

Connie Moore (CM): Oh thank you.

CMc: So the other nine competencies, I’ll go through them quickly. First off is user research. So user research being companies have to engage their audience from the outset to make sure they truly understand what their looking for, that true outside in view of what their trying to deliver. Technology fluency is number two and it’s not just about content as so we so often focus ourselves when we think about customers, but it’s about considering the entire marketing technology landscape and even corporate technology landscape and all the things that factor into delivering customer experience.

You’ve got the physical and digital components of customer experience, considering not only what’s on the web and mobile, but also thinking a little bit of old school and making sure you’re not losing sight of those really effective tactics and communication tools. There’s organizational change. CEM impacts the entire organization and there will be change when you adopt a CEM strategy and put customers at the center of what you do.

Measurement. Companies need to continue to be looking at what’s working and what’s not. The only constant today is change and what was working well yesterday to meet customers’ needs may not be working well tomorrow. So keeping a tab on what’s working through measurement and analytics is really important.

There’s experience design, which is making sure that you consider the device and the context through which customers are engaging with you and your brand.

Customer data intelligence. Keeping tabs on what customers have done and are doing to be able to forecast and really try and project and meet their needs in the future.

There’s content strategy as well. Having a strategy that considers all types of content: Video, images, text and works that into a cohesive plan.

There’s business strategy. So considering and putting the views and needs and aspirations of customers at the center of everything you do. Like I said with the organizational change, CEM has to be adopted by the entire organization and the business strategy really needs to reflect that.

And then we come to Business Process Management which you know what Connie, this is your bailiwick so first off, why don’t you tell us what is BPM?

CM: Okay I am very happy to do that. So Business Process Management, just like Customer Experience Management is not a technology, it’s a discipline, it’s a practice, it’s a way of approaching how you do your business in your organization, and the focus with Business Process Management is on continuous improvement or even transformation of business processes that have become outdated, out of sync with today’s technologies or out of sync with today’s behaviors and to deliver value from those processes by keeping them continuously improved and continuously changing. You’ll also find that because it is a discipline, it has a number of core methodologies that help you with this and you will hear lean, or lean thinking used a lot in conjunction with BPM and you’ll also hear Six Sigma, which is another process improvement methodology, and those are just ways of helping you tackle changes that are so fundamental and so large, so strategic to your organization.

Now it’s important to stress the discipline part of this because there is a technology component of BPM that people often get confused with the BPM discipline. So the technology component that often gets installed along with BPM initiatives but it certainly not required is, Business Process Management software, and that is a category of software that allows business people and process owners to design the processes and improve the processes using modeling tools and for this and then be codified in software that then integrates with information, people, applications. By using this BPM software, you take the process logic that’s often been encoded and embedded down in the application software and you’re able to pull that out so that it is in a separate repository and you can make changes to it without having to get into the code, and that allows business analysts, people on the business side as well as business analysts and technologists in IT to make changes to the process logic without having to get into the application code itself.

I should point out that there are other technologies where you can accomplish BPM as well. So you can do Business Process Management transformation or improvement using packaged applications, using process modeling tools and not getting into the actual execution of the software. So there are different ways to combine it, but usually BPMS, the software, is what you often hear associated with BPM the discipline.

CMc: You mentioned several pieces of the CEM core competencies that we see repeated across the different components. Things like technology, intelligence, using strategy. So from a BPM perspective, why is that a core competency because it sounds like there’s some overlap in some of the other ones I mentioned.

CM: Yes. BPM is a core competency because at its heart and soul, you want processes that deliver value to the customer, and it’s so ironic to me how a lot of BPM practitioners have lost sight of the customer piece, but if you really look at lean methodology, lean is about delivering value to the customer while eliminating waste on the inside. So it’s really those two sides of the coin, you want to have high value to the customer and no waste or inefficiencies inside the organization, and so if we are talking about improving your Customer Experience Management, and we do a phenomenal job at that, but then we kind of leave it to the departments and the business functions to take it from there and they don’t have site of the customer, then you’re only going to do a part of Customer Experience Management.

To really do Customer Experience Management, you have to go all the way through the end of the process, turn around, back out and come back to the customer and whatever it is that the customer has asked for, whether it’s a service, a product, help or whatever, and we call that looking at digital outside and digital inside.

CMc: So that’s a great point Connie. There’s a lot of talk these days about digital inside digital outside shifting from an inside out perspective to an outside in perspective. So can you tell me a little bit more about what that means from a CEM and BPM perspective?

CM: Yes. I think it is super, super important for process practitioners and for customer experience practitioners to understand this. So let’s think about digital outside for a few minutes. A typical untransformed, undisrupted, business as usual organization may have a whole lot of technology that they use to support the customer, but it’s all broken. You know the customer gets on the website and the website isn’t very connected with the mobile app that they have, and to talk to someone in customer service, chat doesn’t really work properly so they have to go through several phone calls and iterations only to be told they’re talking to the wrong department because the information on the website was wrong, and they get frustrated and say heck, “I’m going to go and go to the store” and the people at the store have no idea what’s on the website, no idea about any of the technology outside the store and it’s a very broken journey.

So digital outside is about fixing that and Customer Experience Management, we spend a lot of time and effort getting that fixed, and we talk about customer journey mapping and making certain that you know, you send the customers down the path that they want to take and that nowhere is it broken. That is usually what a Customer Experience Management person thinks about and I just went to a process excellence conference last week. It was a great event.

We talked a lot about business transformation, we talked about business strategy. I think they had a little confusion between strategy and transformation, but let’s say a company either has a three-year strategy and it \ wants to really improve its processes or the company is under a lot of duress and it wants to transform its processes. This is usually given to practitioners who are in the COO’s office or they may be in the business functions themselves, or they may be in IT, but they have deep experience in lean and Six Sigma and other types of things like process mapping tools and a way they go, and they start looking at how the process works inside the company, and low and behold, just like those people who went to the store, and the website, and the chat, and the phone call and all of that, they discover all these broken processes where work is handed off and nobody’s there to catch it and so it just gets lost or chains of work that are all broken and overlapping things where two organizations in the company of doing the same thing at the same time and coming up with conflicting results.

So what looks like a lot like customer journey mapping when you go inside the company is process mapping, and so process professionals when they’re done, they say, “Here are the transform processes”. If they’re really doing transformation and they’re really doing it in a very comprehensive way, they may go from 20 sum, departmental functional processes, to five or six very strategic, end to end, cross functional processes. Digital inside is working great, the problem is: digital inside and digital outside didn’t meet each other. No one thought about, “Wow, that customer journey goes inside the company” or “Our transform process inside the company is serving someone” and we have to make sure what happens on the outside connects with what happens on the inside.

CMc: That was great. Absolutely and I think a lot of times people think of one or the other and they don’t think about one doing both or two, connecting both. So I’m sure many of our listeners are nodding their head in agreement saying that makes complete sense, but then scratching it as well wondering where they should start. When you solve world hunger, you’ve got to have to pick a street. So from a business process perspective and thinking about it in context to Customer Experience Management, is there one place they can start looking to make some of those quick wins and some quick fixes as some of the more in depth and complicated processes get underway.

CM: Yeah I think that when we looked at our 10 core competencies, you flagged off the real indicators of how to get going because ultimately, you want to get going with what makes a huge difference to the customer and that’s why we have that core competency of looking at the business strategy and looking at: is there digital disruption going on? Is there a need for transformation? Because there is probably some very distinct pain point that would be the logical place to start, and whether you’re doing Customer Experience Management with an outside in perspective, digital outside perspective, or you’re doing process excellence which is often the term you’ll hear from a digital inside perspective, you can’t take on all the processes or all the customer journeys.

We often hear that as an onerous of thinking is, they’re trying to take on all the journey mapping, every single possible permutation that a customer can go through, and what you want to do is you want to pick something that is a product oriented piece of the business that you’re delivering, a service that you’re delivering, a strategic initiative that you’re focusing on and work on that because you just cannot in any kind of technology or business undertaking, try and tackle it all.

It has to be prioritized and so forth, but I think it is so important for these two ways of looking at business: digital outside, digital inside to get married because if you don’t, what will happen is you may have a customer that goes and engages with all your channels and the customer says “wow, this is so much better then when I worked with this company a year ago, wow they’ve done something really good. It’s fantastic. I just love this person I was talking to on the phone, and oh wow this mobile app is really great, and yeah I dropped by the store and used that kiosk and the sales rep in the store could guide me through all kinds of stuff, I’m going to buy from this company from now on,” and yet let’s say that company hadn’t gone to the inside processes. Hadn’t improved a thing. Same old same old business functions doing work in silos and the wrong product gets sent to the customer, or product doesn’t arrive in good condition. It got damaged in shipment or the customer doesn’t like the product, it’s the right one they ordered, but when they try to return it, someone is horribly rude and says, “too bad buddy, you’re stuck with that”. All those horrible things you can just imagine going wrong, that’s because digital inside wasn’t transformed, wasn’t improved, and so all a sudden, that customer who thought that the company was phenomenal thinks, “they’re worse than they ever were. I’ll never buy from this company again”.

Or you can flip it around, you can improve your processes to the point of they are so streamlined, something that used to take 25 days, now gets taken care of in a day and a half, and the company is saving massive amounts of money on labor that no longer has to do rework and fixing errors and they just have a much more efficient work environment and people are much more productive and they’re able deploy those resources and more on the revenue generating side and it looks like nirvana to the COO, and when they get an order, they flash it through the company so fast that would make everyone’s heads spin compared to the old way of doing things, but the customer doesn’t know that because as far as the customer knows, it’s the same broken website, it’s the same app that doesn’t work, it’s the same customer service center that can’t answer the questions, it’s the same disinterested person at the store, it’s the same account rep who was supposed to make an appointment and didn’t do it and cancelled three times and finally you find out the person left the job.

So what I just painted right there is an incredibly effective, efficient digital inside and a completely broken digital outside. So I hope those which are not really outrageous descriptions of what goes on at these, made them buy from the wrong companies, but I encounter this a lot. I hope that this really helps our listeners imagine how, if you just fix one side of the equation and leave the other side of the equation off, you really haven’t created dramatic change. You haven’t really transformed the business, and I’m so passionate about it because I know that, I know for a fact that process professionals who have been highly trained and are highly passionate about what they do and go to work every day committed to making processes work better, don’t know about Customer Experience Management.

They don’t know the journey mapping and process mapping are to be looked at together. They don’t know about that side of the world, and I know that a lot of the Customer Experience Management people that we advise and consult with and talk with, are really not familiar with the process world because one tends to sit in marketing and customer service and the other tends to sit in operations and IT, and so I think we have an incredible opportunity to put these two together and just like there’s chocolate in my peanut butter, we make a better product. We make something that works for companies.

CMc: Yeah I think talking about that and putting it in context like that and thinking about it because of course you know there’s a lot of people who will go very, very far out of their way not to think about process and really BPM helps companies reorient the entire organization to put customers at the center of everything they do, regardless of whether it’s customer facing or not.

So very sage advice, thank you so much. To our listeners, if you want to learn more about our 10 core competencies please visit our website to download our CEM core competency paper as well as Connie’s BPM core competency paper.

This is Cathy McKnight and this has been another Just Clarity podcast. Thank you for listening and have a great day.

You have been listening to another episode of Just Clarity. Produced by the team at Digital Clarity Group. For more information on the topics we discussed today or the subject of Customer Experience Management, please visit us at


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