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It s Time to Reinvent Your Processes for Customer Obsession!

Staff, Appian
April 29, 2015

The customer. For Appian, the customer is everything!

We are under-utilizing how we think about BPM, focused on its traditional role as a process manager. There needs to be a shift to designing processes to focus on the customer. For Clay Richardson, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, it must be an obsession!

Process change is typically rooted in driving improved worker productivity and operational efficiencies. However, in the "Age of the Customer," process change teams must shift to design and reinvent core business processes that power new customer experiences and unlock new revenue streams. At Appian World 2015, Richardson shared insights and new practices on how innovative companies use "low-code" approaches and techniques for rapid delivery of apps that engage customers and employees.

"Process is everything in BPM, and I have started to look at things a bit differently," said Richardson. "It's about the experience the process delivers."

Clay serves enterprise architecture professionals and is a leading expert on BPM software and methodologies. Richardson delivers strategic guidance to professionals seeking to improve collaborative and operational business processes, specifically helping enterprises establish BPM strategies, governance standards, and centers of excellence.

76 percent of IT leaders say improving customer experience is the top business priority, with improving revenue following just behind. This makes sense, as customers are essentially buyers regardless of industry, and must have a valuable experience with a brand or business if they are to align loyalty.

According to Richardson, the formula for achieving customer obsession comes down to understanding and mastering several elements of redefined process, which includes:

    • Turning Big Data into business insight

    • Embracing mobile enablement

    • Digitizing for agility over efficiency

For this reason, BPM has been hidden behind a mask, historically complicated by long analysis, and large up-front investment costs. To successfully put the customer first, BPM must rip off its mask and get back to its core of fast design, access and action.

"An acceleration of process and knowledge from new data is the only way to keep up with the ever-changing customer expectations," claimed Richardson. "If not, customers will align loyalty with someone else who can deliver what they want faster and in the matter in which they want it. Aligning loyalty is the number one thing you must focus on to achieve customer obsession."

Richardson cited several examples of organizations across industries that have recently rededicated themselves to customer obsession, including how banks have drastically cut down the wait time for customers to meet and engage with financial analysts.

Another major component of achieving customer obsession is getting BPM to move at a faster rate. This is increasingly prevalent in the fast-paced digital age, where business operations must occur at increased speed. According to Richardson, organizations must adopt a low-code platform approach that prioritizes fast change.

"BPM must shift to faster delivery at a faster rate," said Richardson. "With a low-code design, there shouldn't be any training. Applications should be rolled-out for new employees to access and understand immediately."

Richardson cited Appian's Ryder trucking use case as an example of low-code business excellence, and predicts this type of design environment will be the norm for the future of BPM.

Though the onset of data, mobile, and collaboration make up key ingredients of the customer experience, Richardson closed by sharing with attendees the hidden piece.

"Empathy is your secret weapon for customer obsession," said Richardson. "You must understand what the customer's pain points are and then build for that purpose."

-Mike Ingrisano, Media Relations Manager