I recently spent 3 days attending internal training on business process automation. High level, covering the consulting aspects, competitive products and deployment details on our upcoming IPA(Interaction Process Automation) product. We discussed the basics of how to determine which processes are ripe for automation and learned new terms like ‘AS-IS Map’, ‘Swim Lane’ and ‘The Happy Path’. The last term being one I’d seen before on certain internet sites, though never in the context of process automation…
Quite a bit of the content touched on the amount of upfront consulting and discovery that needs to take place to deploy a technology, that will not just automate a process, but show an organization that the process is now more efficient. Doing it right does take time. You can’t just throw technology at any business process and expect it to better. You need to understand the process first. And no matter what product, historically it has taken a loooong time for some organizations to implement process automation.
But I think the amount of time it will take to realize the benefits of process automation will be a lot quicker when it’s focused in the contact center, as opposed to other business units. As we’ve undertaken our push for IPA, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with managers in many different areas of an enterprise. They all seem to see the big picture of process automation and are anxious for technology to help them. But most of the time their processes encompass a wide spectrum of issues, including integrating many systems, getting buy-in from multiple groups, and many layers of approvals and Q&A.
As I discuss process automation with contact center managers they are quick to identify not a large multi-layer process, but 5-10 smaller processes that only involve a handful of steps, one approval and one system, that if automated will show immediate ROI and increases in efficiency.
Mapping out the correct process, deciding on the new flow, and implementing the technology will always follow the same steps, whether it’s a 3 month process for several business units, or 3 weeks for a handful of processes contained in the contact center. Same steps, faster implementation.
Once again, the contact center will show the rest of the enterprise how to do more with less, and do it efficiently.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written by a former contact center agent whose opinion is always biased to the value of a well managed contact center.