Information fuels the process engine for today’s digital business
For decades, organizations have invested heavily in technologies that automate business processes, manage unstructured content, and track crucial customer and product data. For example, ERP, CRM and a litany of other enterprise suites, plus content and data management technologies, websites and digital channels (and many more tools) — have helped organizations differentiate their products and services, keep costs down, and respond more effectively to customers. As a result:
- Process automation has delivered operational effectiveness and efficiency, allowing organizations to reduce costs, collapse wait times from weeks to minutes, remove waste, and increase operational efficiency by a factor of 3-5 times, while improving compliance.
- Information management has allowed organizations to manage unruly content across the enterprise. Internal teams that use content are 25-50% more productive, critical documents are more easily controlled, compliance is better managed, and information is significantly easier for customers to find.
Still, executives cannot rest on their laurels. Why not?
- Content management (access, update, delivery, etc.) alone is insufficient for engaging and delighting customers. Information management efforts that stand alone from customer engagement processes no longer meet rising expectations because customers want and expect highly contextual information delivered to their interactions.
- “End-to-end” and “outside-in” business processes are crucial to customer satisfaction, but poorly supported by processes within operational silos. What the customer (or employee) touches is only part of the entire business process. To be a digital business, the organization must execute customer engagement flawlessly that is both end-to-end, and across and between the front and back offices. This typically requires a combination of integrating existing processes and creating or redesigning the end-to-end customer engagement process.
Given the massive technology investments that organizations have already made–alongside a never-ending rising tide of customer expectations–executives and business leaders should embrace three proven mantras:
- Process is the invisible customer engagement engine that drives a digital business from the outside-in. Organizations that reinvent, automate, and continuously improve their end-to-end business processes are more competitive and uniquely differentiated than organizations that rely on old, inwardly focused processes to drive customer engagement.
- Information within context is the essential fuel for the digital process engine. Although managing information is important, this approach has limited value unless that information is integrated with a business process. In fact, business processes quickly grind to a halt if they lack content and data to continue fueling the processes, making process and information inextricably linked.
- The integration of content and process automation always provides more “bang for the buck” than separate, standalone initiatives. Organizations are significantly more productive and profitable when they combine process automation and information management rather than focusing on each technology separately.
To realize greater value from the integration of information management and process automation investments, digital business executives should follow two guiding principles:
- Connect customer experience and operational effectiveness projects and resources to deliver end-to-end business transformation. Although companies put tremendous effort into content management and process automation projects, they are typically separate universes with separate project teams and different objectives. Combining these efforts will help the organization transition more seamlessly and quickly to a customer-focused digital business.
- Drive the digital business by using process engines that are fueled by information. It’s a simple formula: information = fuel, and process = engine, and information + process = digital business. For solutions, look to digital process platforms or embedded process capabilities that combine low- code, BPM, case management, business rules, analytics, and robotic process automation to integrate with lighter-weight, contextualized content solutions that speed the digital business.
When making this transition, it’s imperative to use customer journeys, voice of the customer, and insights into customer expectations to re-envision and transform outdated ways of doing business. It is also imperative to keep an eye on rapidly emerging technologies (e.g. virtual reality, machine learning) that customers may be unaware of, but are emotionally ready to embrace. Customers expect, and even demand, diverse ways to engage with the organization depending on the situation and circumstances surrounding the customer at any given time.
For more insights on how to overlay customer journey mapping onto integrated information management and process improvement projects, see Process and Information Are the Engines and Fuel Driving Today’s Digital Business. The brief includes a sample customer journey map for a long-term care insurance customer that illustrates how using business process and information management technologies can be re-envisioned through the eyes of the customer. The brief also includes an analysis of process automation tools ranging from constrained process usage to a fully digital business process platform.