Guest blog by Scott Blau
, WW Director of Document Capture, IBM Enterprise Content Management
When I think about what Smarter Commerce can mean to a
customer, I think of all the reasons I love shopping on Main Street. I don’t do a lot of shopping in person, but
when I do, I have pretty high expectations. The places I go to – and return to
– all share some common characteristics:
me. I can tell because when I walk
in the door, someone smiles at me like a friend!
remember me. At my café, I don’t
need to ask each time for skim milk in my coffee.
care of me. When I have a question about
my bill, they look over my shoulder at it and we go line-by-line to sort out
These days most of my shopping is actually done online. It’s a very different experience from
shopping in a store. When I go into an
online shop nobody smiles at me. They
rarely remember much about me. And when
I have a question about the bill… ouch!
The out-of-touch call center can’t really take care of me and rarely can
even look at the same bill I’m looking at.
There is very little that is “smart” about this commerce.
Sure, eCommerce has changed the way I shop and my
expectations on the speed of transactions, but I still miss the human touch
from the era of Main Street shopping. It’s
harder than ever to satisfy me as a consumer, because now I want the best of
eCommerce married to the best of Main Street.
I want truly smarter commerce!
To get instant – and accurate – feedback on my
transactions based on my input
To have a personalized experience where “the system”
knows me and remembers my preferences, “anticipating” my next move
And when I speak to someone on the phone – I
really expect them to take care of me
as a valuable customer!
full of systems that don’t speak to each other
To meet these high expectations requires a concerted (some
may say monumental) effort to break down the barriers between systems. If I’m calling Customer Service, I don’t want
to explain what products I have purchased from the company. If I am disputing a
charge on a bill that I have in my hand, I expect the person on the other end
of the phone to be able to see exactly the same bill I am looking at.
Being able to meet my Main Street expectations in the
eCommerce world is where smarter commerce started at IBM twenty years ago, long
before the term “Smarter Commerce” was coined.
A product now called Content Manager On Demand (CMOD) made it easy to
efficiently store images of bills being printed before they were sent to
customers. So when I call the company to
sort out a billing issue, the customer service rep can easily pull up my bill
and see exactly what I am seeing. That’s
a good place to start to deliver excellent customer service.
ECM bridges the gap
between siloed systems
ECM is good at this because it represents a set of
technologies that often are used to span otherwise rigidly siloed systems
within an organization. Document imaging
often does exactly that – making documents that originate in one area of the
business, say orders, available in other areas, such as Customer Service. This is important when customer service wants
to see, for example, a customer’s original purchase order.
Case Management – another ECM technology – is great at managing
customer interactions in Support or Customer Service. It excels because it avoids using rigid
process management. Instead, case
management offers the ability to deal with the ‘randomness’ of customers who
don’t always fit into pre-defined patterns of interaction. Turns out that when your customers are people
they tend to behave like people!! And
people don’t tend to follow pre-defined patterns of interaction.
Paper documents continue to challenge organizations that have
otherwise committed to electronic commerce.
They have paper order forms that won’t go away and paper invoices. Document capture technologies – like OCR and
ICR – turn paper into an electronic, “p2e,” compliment to eCommerce. And these ECM staples are at their best when
they dovetail with an organization’s existing electronic systems.
ECM: Turning eCommerce
into Smarter Commerce
Commerce gets smarter, a step at a time, by using
technologies that help hide “systems” and instead present a personal face to
our customers, our suppliers, and even our employees. I see IBM ECM as a good place to start transforming
your eCommerce into something as pleasurable as Main Street shopping – that’s
when commerce really gets smarter!
To know more about how ECM drives Smarter Commerce, attend our sessions on Smarter Processes for Smarter Commerce
and Find the Voice of Customer
at IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, Orlando 2012 from September 5th to 7th. To know more about the sessions and register to attend the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012 visit the micro-site