Feb 27, 2019

The BPM evolution

Increasingly complex automation projects must have customer experience at their core

Business process management (BPM) automation, or workflow automation, has been around for a long time – some of the clients who attended our recent Cora SeQuence user group have been using the workflow orchestration solution for over 10 years. But as organizations progress from BPM to intelligent BPM and then to robotic process automation (RPA), understanding how this automation impacts customers becomes increasingly important as the reach of these technologies spreads.

Employees who have worked on previous BPM projects have vital insights to contribute here. All that time spent unraveling complex business processes means they possess a hands-on knowledge of how new technologies impact business processes and, ultimately, the end user. Insights companies should be tapping in to as they continue their digital transformation.

The digital race for survival

At current churn rates, 50% of the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2028. Faced with this bleak future, organizations know they must evolve to survive, and technology has become the lifeline to achieve this. They are having to deal with:

  1. An explosion of connected devices – connectivity has become ubiquitous
  2. Big data opening up a vast number of data sources on which to base decisions
  3. The exponential rise of computing power
  4. The adoption of low-code digital tools
  5. Rising consumer expectations as people want more from the enterprises they deal with and expect consumer experiences in their business lives, too

These changes are disrupting business models and creating new markets as they connect supply and demand in different ways, and BPM automation is being called on to deliver bigger efficiency and operational gains to help organizations compete.

BPM automation as an agent of change

I think we've now reached a tipping point for BPM automation as companies navigate this world. We're seeing it become internalized across our Cora SeQuence customer base as it's applied to increasingly complex processes. A global engineering company is using it to streamline its bid process, a financial services company is orchestrating the data input process to meet tough compliance standards, and a consulting firm uses it to compile clients' tax returns.

As the technology evolves, companies may add elements like RPA or agile case management, enabling greater organizational agility and an improved user experience. But BPM automation is still a small step toward digital transformation – the challenge for our customers is how they can build on this and move it to the next level to ensure the future success of the company. Not just incremental changes, but thinking about the products and services they provide in a fundamentally different way.

Start with the human angle

Companies looking for big competitive gains can start by mapping their customer experiences – putting themselves in their customers' shoes during all their interactions.

Smartphones continue to raise the bar for customer experience through ease of use, speed, and user focus, so if companies don't get it right, consumers will walk. Mapping the customer experience helps combat this in two ways. It acts as an anchor for decisions on new technologies or processes and how they will impact the end user. Plus, it identifies key moments of pain, which, if solved, can improve attrition, attract more customers, and increase revenues.

Designing a roadmap for change

Companies should apply a design-thinking approach when it comes to improving the customer experience and the role of automation and other technologies. This includes:

  • Mapping the customer experience before making any decisions about which technologies to implement so you know what you're trying to improve or fix
  • Bringing in employees for their insights on where applying new technologies would make the biggest impact for them, such as the tedious manual processes that could be automated to free up their time to spend on more effective customer service
  • Having the right mix of people in the room to bring a vision to life – technology experts, system architects, and those who touch the processes being changed

About the author

James Luxford

James Luxford

VP, Digital Solutions

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