The Cloud – Transforming the Business Case for BPM

Despite rumours of its demise, or at the very least it’s description as a doddery old man who’s gotten lost after accidentally wandering out of the old folks home, there might be life in the old BPM dog yet. Like the movie Cocoon where a bunch of old folks are rejuvenated by alien visitors, the cloud has the potential to regenerate BPM.

The cloud is an opportunity to transform the business case for BPM and process improvement. Today many BPM applications are largely the preserve of large and multinational enterprises. BPM SaaS/PaaS presents the opportunity to extend the market reach of BPM applications into the SME market. Low start off costs and the ability to only pay for what you need with the reassurance of elasticity and scalability on demand has the potential to transform the business case for BPM for many organizations. The availability of on demand, pre-built process solutions delivered via cloud based BPM platforms takes this a step further giving SMEs the opportunity access to process solutions and industry best practice that they would have been unable to develop in house.

BPM in the cloud creates a business process outsourcing (BPO) opportunity for organizations with a specific area of process expertise. Organisations with specific domain expertise in for example financial services, healthcare or legal services can now not only deploy cloud based process solutions within their own enterprises but rapidly enter the BPO market and resell their intellectual property (IP) through the development of BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) process applications.

Deployment of business process solutions is de-risked through the ability to carry out rapid prototyping and testing of BPM solutions in the cloud. For organizations still developing their cloud strategy business process solutions can be incubated in the cloud before bringing on premise.

Most BPM vendors offer applications across a variety of mobile devices and form factors. Cloud computing extends the mobile capabilities of BPM suites through access to cloud based storage and processing and delivers process access via web browsers on any device, anywhere.

While it’s been slow to develop the cloud is a major opportunity for BPM. BPM SaaS/PaaS is an opportunity to strip away, the sometimes self-inflicted, barriers to entry for process improvement, to stimulate much broader adoption of BPM technologies and to engage with a whole new audience.

CRM – Pimp My Ride

I’ve only watched the MTV program Pimp My Ride a couple of times, I actually prefer Trick My Truck for some good ole boy, big rig action. On Pimp My Ride car enthusiasts take an old banger and add a bit of bling to it. The end result usually confirms the age old saying that you can’t polish a turd.

I got round to thinking about Pimp My Ride this week while reading this article on the “5 trends that will change CRM”. In the responses to the “5 trends that will change CRM” the usual suspects appeared; mobility, social, data analytics as well as some new ones gamification, customer influencing factor. This is all fine and I expect that all of these will influence CRM in some way over the next five years. The problem is though that at the moment CRM is still a bit of an old banger. Adding social and gamification to a CRM suite is the IT equivalent of pimping your ride.

My call centre colleagues are going to be jealous as hell when they see this.

Despite spending huge sums on CRM suites many organizations still struggle to deliver competent customer service. Within the CRM suites themselves the horizontal integration between the Sales, Marketing and Support functions of the CRM suites remain poor let alone CRM integration with other business applications.

Call centres remain the modern equivalent of the workhouse. A production line where employees work to a script or fixed workflow and have no opportunity to use their own discretion or to suggest alternative paths for their customers. All of this leads to high employee turnover, demotivation and poor customer service.

If there’s one trend that will change CRM my vote goes for, focus on your employees. It may not be sexy, it may not have chrome bumpers or jewel encrusted cup holders, but it’s likely to be more effective than pimping out your CRM application with social, data analytics and gamification features.