Posted by: Derek Weeks on: March 5, 2013
Last week, I helped kick off OpenText’s EIM Days in Washington DC (the first of 22 cities we will visit) with a conversation around OpenText’s Smart Process Applications. Smart Process Applications are near and dear to our heart at OpenText as they encompass not just BPM and DCM technologies, but bring our integrated EIM portfolio (e.g., Content Server, Capture Center, StreamServe, LearnFlex) into play, helping our customers dramatically change the way they manage dynamic and human-centric processes in their businesses. In addition to providing the integrated EIM technologies, we are also bringing forth out-of-the-box process models, logic, dynamic forms, and persona-based user interfaces that accelerate design and deployment of our solutions. Cool stuff that excites the geeky and business sides of my brain.
Part of the discussion last week in DC revolved around the collaborative and social nature of Smart Process Applications. I remarked how many of us use tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in our personal lives, while realizing that the same capabilities are rarely offered inside the firewall. If you work at a mid-sized or big company, you probably know that it is easier to find your internal expert on finances, facilities, or industry marketing on LinkedIn than it is to search a company directory. You also realize that you can share information or news on a Facebook wall with your friends in seconds, but sharing news, asking for advice, or offering business updates usually happens inside the firewall via email that clutters up your Inbox.
These social and collaborative systems being deployed inside the firewall lack a critical capability – they do not integrate with the core systems that enable us to get our work done. Why is this? There are many reasons and excuses are out there. How can we govern that information, store it, and audit it? Who owns the information and data? It’s hard to say because beyond the firewall – no one really owns it. If we tie these streams into our core systems, will it break something, open a hole, or open conversations that we don’t want to have?
Asking those questions is important, but it misses some of the really exciting stuff going on. For example, one of our large insurance clients in the UK implemented social capabilities into their claims management operations allowing their teams to work collaboratively. They can now ask “have we seen this issue before?”, or “can you approve this customer claim before we breach our SLA?”, or “does anyone have a documented summary of how I can complete an investigation for Y?”. The result – they increased productivity by 35% on the team.
In the enterprise, it is not just about sharing information – it’s also about capturing knowledge, interactively brainstorming on new approaches, and getting work done faster. The big advantage comes when organizations begin integrating these social capabilities (finding experts, sharing information, and processing work) into their back-end systems to get work done or their front-end systems to better serve customers.
Like many things in the world of technology, it is not about “if” social technologies are going to meet up with core business systems – it is just a matter of when and how. I see two groups pushing this to happen: the younger workers and customers. The young folks just entering, or about to enter the workforce, don’t know how to get work done without being collaborative, social, and interactive with their peers. And even though I am hugely in favor of the young folks driving this evolution, there is one group that will beat them to it: the almighty customer. Yup, if you are a business and you cannot service your customers the way they expect, they will just flock to the next business that can. As a consumer, I have grown just as impatient as anyone at waiting for businesses I engage with to catch up and offer me additional ways to interact in the form, time, and place of my choosing. Social capabilities tied to front and back end systems are coming sooner than you might think. The fun part for me as a customer is that I’ll benefit from the businesses that are first to bring these capabilities to market – and as a technology innovator, I’m working for a business delivering those capabilities.
One final note, be sure to download a free copy of Forrester Research, Inc.’s report, “Smart Process Applications Fill a Big Business Gap” at: www.opentextbpm.com/SmartProcessAppsReport, and register for OpenText’s Smart Process Applications webinar with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, Craig LeClair, on March 20th.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.