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The Intimate Relationship Between The User Experience (#UX, #CX) Arms Race & Business Process (#BPM)

On his popular ebizQ blog, Peter Schooff, asks (December, 2012) "How central of a role should BPM play in customer experience?"  Readers interested in this question should visit the original discussion as there are some terrific contributions and insights; the question concerning the centrality of the role that BPM should play in customer experience is a good one.  (In the context, "BPM" means "business process management software and practices".)

A short answer is this: "In a competitive world, and for both technical and economic reasons, BPM is likely to play an increasingly important role in customer experience".

This blog entry explores this proposition in more detail.  But first let's qualify our short answer above by defining the terms "customer experience" and "BPM". (For the purposes of this discussion, we'll focus on BPM as "technology" or "software" and on customer experience as "customer experience system"). . . . read more

McKinsey On Sales Process Failures -- Also, John's Comment -- "Ironic Lack Of Theory"

Unused PhoneThe boffins at McKinsey have just issued a stirring call to "free the reps"!

According to the consulting company, at one representative global firm, 75% of inside sales reps' time was spent not selling!

This frustrating sales situation is not uncommon, despite what McKinsey says is "the guiding principle of all sales operations", which is "to maximize time for selling and relationship building".  Of course sales people and sales executives, and probably even general management, all know that sales people should be selling.  But given that sales people everywhere are facing similar issues, it's helpful to have a spotlight on the situation.

As a professional B2B sales person focused on BPM, your host is naturally interested in the subject of the McKinsey article -- and how BPM is one point of leverage for improving sales operations.  The McKinsey article also raises larger questions about sales management; your host has now commented on these issues in the letter below. 

You can read the whole McKinsey Quarterly article and follow up reader comments including your hosts' comment, at the following URL. (Please note you will need to register, although there is no charge.)

. . . read more

When Worlds Collide -- Or Don't -- BPM & Business Simulation

BPM prospects often ask a question about "simulation".  Our standard answer is "simulation is best done by a best-of-breed business simulation product, outside of BPM".  This answer is usually delivered after some qualification to discover what the prospect means by "simulation".  Some of the time the prospect is concerned about technical simulations and the regular process of software QA.  But the majority of the time the prospect wants to be able to do business what-if simulations to answer questions such as "how many warehouse staff should we have" or "should we add a new warehouse in the Midwest".

Why is the BPM business simulation question so frequently asked?  The reason is that the question is directly related the two main business cases for BPM.  BPM is justified either on efficiency terms or on business model terms.  The BPM efficiency business case is the same IT efficiency business case that has driven most IT investments for two generations.  Efficiency in the best of situations is about dramatically reducing costs for a given business process; in the worst of situations, it's about "paving the cow path"!

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Why Work-Shy? BPM Is All About Work. That's How To Define It And How To Sell It.

You'd expect the BPM-savvy practitioners and evangelists such as found on LinkedIn's "BP Group" to be able to easily come up with a good definition of BPM   .  A specific and actionable definition.  You'd be wrong.

In a BP Group forum discussion entitled "Can Anyone Make One Sentence Describing BPM", most of the answers were generic and non-actionable and often sounded like mission statements -- the kind of feel-good mission statements that are ridiculed by cynical business writers -- or worse the statements were self-referential ("BPM is about improving your processes").  In fairness. participants shared many worthwhile insights.  It's just that the there was a general and disappointing failure to answer the question in a useful way.

Let's look at what would be a good top-level definition of business process management -- and then why a good definition is important.

On the forum, Kenneth Beard came the closest to a good description of BPM with his "scientific management of work activity to enable informed decision-making", although I would make the case that final phrase in this definition is outside the scope of a definition of BPM.

Your host proposed the that BPM can be simply defined as "the modelling and management of repetitive work", which is certainly not original, but this concise definition emphasizes a fundamental concept, specifically the centrality of the question of work to the definition of BPM.

. . . read more

Why Zero Hits? Google "Dynamic BPM" And "Theory Of Work"

Dynamic BPM, along with Adaptive Case Management, is the name given to a growing body of practical knowledge about building better software for business process.  The trouble with much of existing BPM is that poorly done, the implementation of BPM can contribute to a reduction in organizational flexibility.  The wags have it as "pouring concrete over your business" -- as if enough concrete wasn't already there from the acquisition of ERP systems.  It's fair to say that no one is to blame for this -- and ER . . . read more

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