Comply with customer needs and outplay your competitors
Shaku Selvakumar 060001XT47 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  soa business_agility ibmimpact decision_management bizagility bpm
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Contributed by Hessel Pijpker, Global WebSphere Business Integration Tiger Team
Consumers are becoming more powerful than ever. At the same time, their choice of products and services has increased significantly. This development has resulted in the need for businesses to shift their activities towards consumers’ demands. An example is the huge popularity of Whatsapp Messenger at the expense of using regular text messaging services, costing telephone companies billions of missed turnover and forcing them to reinvent their business models. The ability to notice these trends and their consequences has become crucial for companies’ survival. In which way is it possible to comply with customer needs and simultaneously be one step ahead of the competition?
The crux of serving consumers in a fast and effective way is the flexibility of the internal business processes. Consumers expect a direct answer on their questions through any channel they prefer. In case of complaints procedures, an organization has to know through which channel the customer expressed it. And if there have been any issues with that specific customer in the past, or with the subject his complaint is referring to. The processes within an organization have to enable the swift handling of these information flows, transforming them into a user-friendly summary for a relevant employee. In this way, he can serve customers with a suitable solution before they leave the organization for another.
Building bridges between organizational islands
The disability of organizations to act flexible is mainly caused by the way in which they have been embedding ICT into their businesses. Organizations developed standalone ICT-solutions for each individual issue, solutions which were rather rigid and rarely reusable for similar issues. When employees put forth ideas for improvement, these could not be implemented as ICT-professionals lacked time and their standard solutions the required impact.
Business Project Management (BPM) has proved itself to overcome these shortcomings. BPM improves the effectiveness and efficiency of organizational processes. The needs of customers, suppliers and regulatory parties become central to the development of a solution. BPM ensures shared responsibility of both business and ICT for the realization and maintenance of business processes. As a result of the collective contribution to the organizational information systems, they become more integrated. Thus, BPM exceeds individual departments within an organization and makes it easier to detect and streamline the bottlenecks between them. The gap that exists between the islands within an organization is bridged.
The effectiveness of business processes governed by BPM can be measured using Business Activity Monitoring (BAM). For example, the speedometer in a car or the thermostat in a livingroom works the same way: they monitor activities. BAM measures the current situation of a business process against the organizational goals. Analysts set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and are able to assess them at any given moment. When they discover deviations that exceed what is tolerable, analysts receive a notification and are able to quickly determine whether the process has to be adjusted or not.
New processes are modeled after the example of their predecessors and can be simulated directly to measure their impact. Hence, the capability of a process to meet norms that are integral to the organizational goals, are demonstrated instantly. Organizations become more dynamic and can respond quicker to market developments. BPM provides organizations the means to focus on customer needs and to regroup in rapidly changing markets. This flexibility is essential to survive in markets that are disrupted by products similar to Whatsapp. The numbers of such products are expected to only increase further in the near future.
Business Process Management (BPM) software and services empower organizations of all sizes to not only meet but exceed their customers' expectations, not only react to, but anticipate shifts in their marketplace, and all of this while keeping costs under control. It takes a process aware organization to achieve this level of agility and IBM has both the tools and the know-how to transform you into one.
Interested in finding out more? Meet the BPM experts, listen to customers, business partners and catch demos at Impact 2012. Check out the session preview tool
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