Forrester's Business Process Forum 2011: Customer Engagement

  • October 4, 2011
  • Scott

We’re well-overdue to comment on the Forrester BPF 2011 event, partly because we weren’t in attendance this year.  To make up for lost time, we’re linking here to some of the best coverage of the event that we saw in blogging.

First, two articles by Anne Stuart on ebizQ.  The first post, early returns, focuses on this year’s theme for the event, “Customer Engagement”:

“What was good enough before is not good enough today,” Derek Miers, a Forrester principal analyst, warned in one of the event’s opening sessions. And, he added, customer-engagement approaches that work right now won’t be sufficient for long; they’ll need to continue evolving to meet changing customer needs. “We almost have to rebuild the ship while we’re at sea,” he noted.

This sounds like a riff on continuous process improvement – you don’t “arrive at the destination” so much as always take a step back and see how you can improve and then refocus your efforts.  The landscape is changing, so the same goals may not stay relevant over time.

Next up was a post of shorthand notes from a session about getting started with DCM.

Sandy Kemsley once again takes the honors for Most Complete Coverage of the event, with no less than 5 posts tagged accordingly.  In one post, “Empowering the Customer Through Process Improvement and BPM“, she notes:

They [Nokia Siemens Networks] are a big SAP customer, but find that they use Appian BPM to fill the gaps that SAP just doesn’t do without major customization, and to bridge between different systems. They’ve implemented BPM in five major business areas with more than 22,000 users. By reusing some components but adapting to each particular business area, they’re able to roll out new systems in a matter of months. They are pushing into social capabilities to facilitate faster decision-making, and mobile platforms to better support remote users.

Wait, I thought SAP = BPM? Well, layering process on top of SAP is a common BPM deployment story. In another summary, this particular phrasing rang true for me:

Looking at processes in customer experience, we need to use Lean principles to eliminate waste from the customer viewpoint, not just the company viewpoint. We need to understand the full customer journey and all of the touchpoints that need to be managed, and ensure that the end-to-end customer processes are properly defined and orchestrated. This can lead to businesses reorganizing to eliminate business functional silos in favor of process-focused organizational models.

I think the concept of eliminating waste from the customer experience as well as from the company viewpoint is critical.  All too often ill-thought process improvement exercises just “squeeze the balloon”  – moving a burden from one part of the process to another, from one group to another.  If the group you’re moving the process burden to is your customer, look out…

We hope to get to BPF12 next year – for some reason this one flew below the radar all year and sneaked up on us while we were busy making BPM projects happen!



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