Enterprises Bind Customer Experience Management (CEM) Goals to Smart Process Applications

By John Mancini | 6 October 2014

It is impossible to ignore the impact social media has had on customer service and the way it has re-engineered the way enterprises measure their success. The speed that customers demand means companies are monitoring what is said about their brands and products 24/7. Suddenly companies can have dialog that was previously only dreamt about across a variety of channels – but this in turn has made them look carefully at Customer Experience Management.

AIIM’s latest Industry Watch, Case Management and Smart Process Applications (SPAs), looks closely at case management and looks at how it can improve Customer Experience Management and what enterprises should put at the top of their list when shopping for a case management system.

SPAs March In

Smart Process Applications (SPAs), Intelligent Business Processes, Adaptive BPM: these are basically a new and emerging breed of applications that use computer intelligence to filter out context-relevant data from data linked to a business process, and use it to select, modify or re-direct the next steps to be taken in a workflow. They are there essentially to streamline and improve the efficiency of so called human-centric business activities. One of the chief applications is case management. Applications here can range from payment management, contract bids, claims handling and loan origination, so are of great importance to financial services firms. Finding the right vendor for such a system, however, has been a challenge.

Case Management Interrogates Business Processes Management

Case management has always put BPM or workflow systems through the wringer. These systems work best when they have a clear road ahead, although there may be diversions and detours that are set up, such as order value or loan amount. Case Management, however, isn’t always predictable and can veer off the track. To work well they need true flexibility built into the workflow rules.

This is spotlighted in the AIIM research: For 51% of the organisations we polled, half or more of their business processes are not straightforward or predictable, while 62% said half or more of their processes involved assembling a case folder, claim file, project folder, or a proposal.

Only 37% have a case-capable support system, whereas 28% said they need to use customisations, workarounds and add-ons to handle case scenarios. Surprisingly, 18% still use an entirely manual process, and 17% don’t really manage cases as processes.

From this one can see that within the same organisation there are several systems being used, all handling different case applications. Some more successfully than others.

Early Adopters Are Being Rewarded

For those that have taken an early leap, the dividends are already emerging. According to the enterprises we polled, 41% have achieved successful outcomes, and 52% feel the results are promising but still early. The biggest deployment issues, however, are setting up the rules and handling difficult exceptions. The biggest benefits cited by users are faster and more consistent customer response and faster end-to-end process times. Staff appreciate the flexibility, and adaptive systems are making it much easier to respond to regulatory change.

This is extremely positive, but there is still a way to go. The biggest issue with current solutions is lack of a single view of the customer due to parallel storage of data in multiple systems. After email, the records management system, and then Line-of-business (LOB) and Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are seen as the most important integration requirements. 

Making Some Recommendations

Case management has a host of applications beyond conventional healthcare, crime and social administration. Project management, contract and bid management, payments, and incident management come out top, along with help desk, customer disputes, claims processes and, of course, law suites.

It is clear that Cloud or hybrid cloud would make the external workings of case applications much simpler. This will also fulfil a need in the roadmap for mobile access and the ability for mobile devices to interact with each other as part of the so called Internet of Things.

A first step is to look at your current BPM and workflow potential and how it performs with predictable business processes and case-based processes. If your system has very rigid workflows that might stop case management or need customisation, look at what add-ons or alternatives are available in the marketplace. Make sure you look for smart or adaptive capabilities that monitor content as well as process context in order to re-route workflows within a rules based or compliant environment, so you get greatest benefits.

You may find that condensing multiple case-handling tools from other lines-of-business into a single much more capable system could considerably improve productivity and enhance the business case. This may be particularly true for payment or contract management.

If you need to handle high volumes or a wide variety of inbound content, automate routing and sorting at the point of capture to speed up response and improve productivity.  Also use content and context in order to automate classification for records archiving. In addition, always use the best monitoring, analytics and alerting tools to ensure the whole system is running to the very best of its ability.

Smart Process Applications have the potential to dramatically improve the way enterprises in FS manage their structured and unstructured content and boost productivity if the right plan is put in place from the onset. It pays for enterprises to do their homework here!

By John Mancini, President, AIIM

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