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Digital Process Automation's Path of the Future

Written by Guest Blogger, Kelly Sewczwicz, Process Manager at Cox Communications.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the iGrafx Customer Conference last October and listen to Rob Kolplowitz, the principal analyst at Forrester for digital process automation, speak about Forrester’s research on BPM trends and what areas companies will focus on in the future. He talked about how this is the age of the customer and what matters most is customer outcomes. Forrester discussed its research in the Forrester Wave: BPM Service Providers, Q4 2016. In this report, it stated:

“Improving customer experience and accelerating digital transformation are the top drivers for business process improvement programs. Business leaders see that digital is disrupting the staid landscape of process improvement. Yet these same process leaders are often poorly prepared to harness the forceful currents of new digital automation technologies, such as robotic automation, cognitive computing, and the internet of things.”

Rob discussed that the traditional work of process professionals is changing to respond to market disruptors like Netflix, Uber, and Amazon that are dramatically changing how business is done. The skills of the future will need to include:

    • Scope and deliver experiments with new digital automation technologies – figure out how to deliver cost-effective, small-scale experiments that show how digital automation can improve customer outcomes.
    • Build new design-thinking and customer experience skills – the most difficult part of making the shift to digital automation is not the technology; rather it is the shift in thinking of adopting a new design and delivery techniques that are shifting away from traditional BPM approaches.
    • Reinvent business processes to tap into the power of cognitive computing – tapping into autonomous business processes that engage customers and fulfill customer requests with very little human interaction using cognitive intelligence, process automation, and analytics.

Forrester conducted a survey on what companies are thinking about related to digital business automation.  Customer experience and digital transformation are going to outpace our traditional work in cost reduction and productivity improvements.

Companies are going to begin to merging customer experience and process improvement methodologies to transform traditional Lean and Six Sigma practices with customer journey mapping and empathy models and traditional business process analysis. 

I worked on projects at Cox Communications in 2017 that are aligning with the research recommendations to link together customer journeys with process maps to get a better understanding of what the customer experience was like.  It was eye opening to see that a customer may get up to five communications about the technician coming to their home because the systems don’t know what the other system is doing nor what the customer’s preferred method of communication is.  A customer must listen to a sales pitch numerous times and say no repeatedly because the agents don’t know that the customer had already heard the offers.  Companies need to find ways to delight customers and not irritate them.

iGrafx is a tool that can easily handle connecting and synchronizing information between customer experience and process to be able to deliver the improved customer outcomes that a company is going to need to stay competitive. As a guest blogger for iGrafx, I look forward to sharing practical steps for accomplishing this goal.

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