Naked Process: Are you ready to “bare it” to customers (and across silos)?

Companies are accustomed and even comfortable keeping internal process opaque to customers―and often to co-workers as well. “Lack of cost-effective technology” has served as a convenient excuse for shutting out customers and blocking communication across silo boundaries – although we know “technology” is just an excuse.

All that’s about to change. A new technology named CBPA (communication-based process automation) is about to tear away the fig-leaf excuses. CBPA will track typically opaque internal processes including: mortgage and loan processing; insurance claim processing; technology support beyond one-call resolution; special orders; back orders; custom fabrication; incident research; and a host of other high-frequency events – each of which generates high volumes of expensive-to-handle customer calls and e-mail, not to mention endless internal e-mail and even face-to-face conversations.

Because it’s all IP-based and outside corporate firewalls, companies will now be able to let customers access CBPA for self-service – and let internal folks track progress across silo walls as well. Gazillions of dollars could be saved, IF individual companies are ready to “bare their process.”

Several industries have already developed vertical fixes resembling CBPA. You no longer have to call Fed-X or UPS to track a package, just hit the web. Likewise for medical test results. But business-at-large continues to spend gazillions of dollars on people and communication infrastructure to handle customers’ “Where is it?” questions and similar internal queries.

Because it’s IP-based, companies will now be able to let customers access work-in-process data themselves – and let internal folks track progress across silo walls as well. Gazillions of dollars could be saved, IF individual companies are ready to “bare their process.”

I’m excited about this because it’s classic Outside-In. Think of a solution to customers aren’t yet asking for; create customer delight; and grab a lead on competitors. But I’ll admit, it’s also Outside-In because implementing this solution will require organizational redesign, staff redeployment and shedding the traditional “protect ourselves from customers” perspective. Well-led, forward-thinking companies can effect these changes. But many others can’t and will suffer customer consequences as a result.

To be fully transparent myself, I got so excited by CBPA’s potential that I’ve partnered with the software developer’s largest partner to launch a process/technology partnership we’re calling “Enterprise Collaboration.” And I’m presenting a free Avtex-sponsored webinar on March 23rd from 10:00 to 11:00 Central Time (that’s GMT minus 6 hours). You can register @ http://tinyurl.com/yfunttu.

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