Business Process Automation from a Communications Company?

These days when I speak to analysts, editors, prospects, and customers about the value of automating core processes inside businesses, I frequently get asked the question, “Why would I look to a communications company to deliver a business process automation solution?” A valid question, with what I believe are compelling answers.

First, the most common processes in business are people-oriented – new employee onboarding, loan applications, lead management – at the core they all involve people engaged in reviews and decisions. As a connection, communications is all about people interacting. A nice link between the two.

Second, communication technology was initially designed to receive, rout, and report on multistep events such as an incoming call to a contact center. That same logic can be applied to steps in a process flow that need to be captured, prioritized, routed, escalated, and tracked.

Third, the technology is in place and proven. Skills-based routing, queuing, presence, reporting, monitoring, recording – all tried and true in the communications industry for decades, can be applied to the various steps of a business process.

Fourth, communications companies are accustomed to integrating with other systems – back end databases, third-party IVR systems, etc. That integration expertise translates well to the needs of process automation integration.

Fifth, having the process automation and the communication functions reside on one unified platform means there is a direct connection between all the events inside a business. As an example, a phone call placed and recorded as a part of the processing of an insurance claim are part of a single, common process record. No silos between the process steps and the associated communications.

Makes sense to me. What do you think?

Joe Staples — long live the comm blog

4 comments to Business Process Automation from a Communications Company?

  • ijimenez
    It absolutely make sense to have the ongoing and past business process in place tightly integrated with the communications tasks involved (calls, mails, faxes, whatever) for quick consult and check.
    I’m thinking about how convenient is for a supervisor (for example) to cope with an specific customer claim about the service offered (let’s imagine a loan request or an issue with their Internet connection) to have a proper tool to dig at quick glance how the whole process has been managed in terms of what has been transmited to him on subsequent calls and how process activities has been carried by whatever specific person or department was in charge of it.

    The problem here is that it exists a lot of workflow systems and CRM vendors that already provides good solutions for the business processes management part. They know quite well the advantages of a unified tool that combines this capability with the Contact center functionality and sure they’re going to do whatever it’s in their hands to avoid the risk and challenge that this approach brings to the table and that, eventually, can lead them to lose their current customers and make near impossible to compete for new deals.
    It’s hard to break the establishment, especially when this represents a lot of money and business.

  • Carlean Moser
    Carlean posted this via the Contact & Call Centers LinkedIn group.

    Absolutely! I have done Process Re-engineering for Fortune 1000 companies all over the country in a wide variety of industries and the best "knowledge base" I have is my Service Desk/Call Center background. The ITIL has nothing on a good help desk manager. One of the first questions I am always asked when I go in to do Current State or an ITIL prep class is "why is an organization (the Service Desk) stuck in the middle of a process structure?" It is because that is the pivotal group. . sees everything and touches everything, integrates process, technology, data collection and the customer. And is truly all about bi-directional, clear, concise, validated communication!

    Kudos

  • Thanks for giving your talk today with info week and the Frost& Sullivan analyst. thought you might want to i promoted your webcast in my blog.
    http://blogs.sas.com/text-mining/comment.php?type=trackback&entry_id=34
  • Joe Staples
    In reverse order…

    Mary, thanks for promoting the webcast. Always appreciated.

    Carlean, glad to know that you see the same thing in your practical experience. FYI, as we bring our business process automation software to market we are building a group of third-party consultants who could be engaged in the process design piece. Marsha Bailey runs that group for us. Can I have her contact you?

    ijimenez, you’re right, we aren’t the first company to produce a process automation product. That said, there is still a significant portion of companies that are still running processes manually. Your comment also points out the need to integrate with other existing BPMS systems from other vendors. Thanks for your comment.

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