I am fresh off the road from two consecutive weeks of international travel: 3 days in Latin America and 4 days in Europe. While the travel is hard, the rewards are great. Having the opportunity to hear firsthand how business process management is positively impacting customer operations is the ultimate feedback anyone can ask for (better than white papers, conference calls, emails, and blog posts).
I am thankful that Ultimus’ customers and partners are always gracious and hospitable when I visit them (especially the international customers who realize I am coming from a long distance). And while I love all of the stories where our BPM Suite provides mission critical value to their operations, I eventually ask them to quit being so nice and let’s start talking about challenges. Specifically, understanding the challenges, trials, and tribulations of BPM software provides arguably more value than receiving the “win situation” information. And frankly, no matter how great a software application is or how universal it may be, there are always challenges to overcome. No one software application is the universal solution for all needs.
Back in the mid to late 1990s, when workflow and BPM were new innovations, I regularly saw customers use Workflow and BPM Suites as the “backbone” to their entire IT stack. In this way, all other applications (database-driven applications, CRM, document management applications) were called upon as needed. For the customers with whom I recently spoke, I learned again what I already knew….today’s customer has greater needs than just process alone. In many cases, other applications outside of BPM provide more value in day-to-day, minute-by-minute business operations…and BPM is then called upon as needed. It is the responsibility of today’s BPM vendor to understand and respect this customer need. BPM Suites must be amorphous and fit into the “white space” of customer’s IT landscape. If it is the case that a CRM solution provides the ultimate value to a business (where the optimal value is provided back to the business’s own customers), then forcing a BPM solution to be the main software solution is the wrong approach. BPM Suites can provide great value to exceptional handling to other forefront software application. Moreover, by exception capturing, aggregating, and unifying exception information from numerous other systems, the importance of a BPM Suite in a company can be just as much as their main line systems.
If the only value a BPM vendor has to a customer is to be the “backbone” of their IT stack, then isn’t the “B” in BPM being overlooked?
Streamlined and Easier BPM is BPM Innovation: BPM "Take-Two"
BPM, ACM, ECM... At Its Core, Your Company Simply has Process Needs
VP Product and Technology
Recently having had a poor customer service experience I am inspired to revisit the importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the tweets from Forrester's CRMJam. Looking back through the tweets it rings true more than ever that having a comprehensive approach to managing your organizations customers, their inquiries and concerns is essential for success and growth.
In the business world of today many companies find themselves divided into departmental, service and/or information based silos. It is the inability to connect these various silos that jeopardizes customer service. Had Company X implemented a more comprehensive CRM system, such as one backed by BPM, they could have avoided a series of mishaps that ultimately led to an unhappy customer.
BPM supports and advances the effectiveness of CRM in several ways:
- First of all, it connects the various departments and silos of information that provide the customer with answers and service, enabling fluid communication within the organization
- With fluid communication, a company also gains greater visibility into tasks and activities that have either been completed or require follow up attention.
- While different departments use different systems, a BPMS has the ability to integrate these various systems allowing access to important customer information and the ability to auto populate information fields. (As a consumer I find nothing more frustrating than being transferred from department to department and having to recite the same information over and over.)
- BPM provides businesses with the ability to automate processes such as email notifications that are sent to customers or other departments, whether they are order confirmations, shipping information, product back order notifications, etc.
- Finally, BPM provides the ability to track order status and the actions taken as they relate to customers to ensure that concerns are adequately being followed up with.
There is a great deal to be said for maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Is your company actively following up with customer service requests and doing all that it can to keep customers happy?
The Age of Social: Thoughts from Forrester's CRM Tweet Jam
5 Ways to Improve Quality by Connecting Technology Systems
BPM As A Foundation For Business Transformation
Mary Katherine Strupe
In the customer service space, CRM applications are essential in providing the quality of service customers expect. Without a quality CRM application, customer service representatives are separated from the vital, up-to-date information to provide the best service to the company's customers. Take for example Salesforce.com (http://www.salesforce.com), the worldwide leader in on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) services. Salesforce streamlines customer relationship management and boosts customer satisfaction by providing an easy to use, zero-footprint application for client users. By using Salesforce, companies can not only manage their customers, prospects, and opportunities, but also streamline their sales and revenues.
But how do you leverage this valuable CRM information inside your company? Who in your company needs to know when key information in Salesforce changes? And how does the data in Salesforce relate to the other data you have in your legacy systems? This is exactly where business process management comes to the rescue, as true customer satisfaction cannot mature without end-to-end process improvement.
Consider the example where a company acquires a key new customer. Of course this information will be recorded in Salesforce, but there are many other systems that require updating as well once the customer has been "won" in Salesforce (and there is a specific order in which these updates must be done). By leveraging a BPMS, once the new customer is recorded into Salesforce, the following additional activities should occur in an organized automated way:
- Sending alerts to key people in the company (sales manager, finance, manufacturing, distribution) informing them of the new customer
- Creating a record of the customer and key financial data in the company's Accounting systems
- Informing the right people in the company to send a "Welcome Packet"
- Finally, updating Salesforce itself that all of these actions have happened (to ensure the most up-to-date information regarding the customer activity is recorded)
As you can see, by using a BPMS like Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite, not only are the lines between CRM and BPM blurred (thus virtually creating a single cohesive solution), but also the company is able to provide a high level of service to their new customers by quickly and efficiently on-boarding the new customer.
Vice President of Product Marketing and Management