The Top Twelve Customer Management Trends For 2011

As 2010 draws to a close, what are the key trends that customer management process professionals need to pay attention to as you finalize plans for next year?

Here are the top trends that I am tracking. My full report that spotlights our latest research will be published in January.

Trend 1: The Revenue Impact Of Poor Customer Experience Is Recognized
Our models
estimate that the revenue impact from a 10 percentage point improvement in a company's performance, as measured by Forrester’s Customer Experience Index Score (CxPi), could be in excess of a billion dollars. Poor performers are particularly weak in being able to orchestrate multichannel interactions.

Trend 2: Business Process Management Extends To The Front Office
By extending business process management (BPM) to the front office functions, customer service organizations will improve the consistency of service delivered, elevate agent efficiency, personalize service, and meet compliance goals — at a cost that makes sense to the business.

Trend 3: The Business Value Of Social Customer Engagement Becomes More Evident
Winners of Forrester’s annual Groundswell Award
spotlight how organizations are using Social Computing to innovate, such as: community-based marketing research techniques; engaging with customers through social media; energizing brand advocates; empowering communities to support customer self-service; and collaborating with customers during the product ideation and development process.

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BPM Research - How Do You Identify The Operational Processes

In the early part of next quarter, I am entering a research phase on a topic I have alluded to many times: techniques for Process Architecture.

One of the key problems that BPM initiatives suffer from is that, even with all the attention, we end up with processes that still have significant issues — they are too inflexible and difficult to change. They become just another version of concrete poured in and around how people work — focusing on control rather than enabling and empowering.

A phrase that I picked up (from a business architect) put it fairly succinctly:

“People tend to work hard to improve what they have, rather than what they need.”

This was then further reinforced by a process architect in government sector on an email:

“The wall I keep hitting is how to think about breaking processes into bite-size chunks that can be automated.”

The problem is that we don’t have good techniques to design (derive) the right operational process architecture from the desired business vision (business capability). Of course, there is an assumption here that there is an effective business vision, but that’s a subject for another line of research.

I am talking about the operational chunks — the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle required to deliver a given outcome. Not how the puzzle pieces are modeled (BPMN, EPC, IDEF, or any other modeling technique), but how to chop up the scope of a business capability to end up with the right operational parts.

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MDM Remains A Top Technology Trend For 2011 And Beyond

For the second year in a row, Forrester Research has targeted master data management (MDM) as one of the highest-impact technologies that enterprise architects must keep an eye on. Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Gene Leganza published “The Top 15 Technology Trends EA Should Watch: 2011 To 2013” research in October, and Gene smartly positions MDM along with next-gen business intelligence, advanced text and social analytics, and information-as-a-service integration architectures as key enablers to deliver what Forrester is calling “process-centric data and intelligence”.

I’ve discussed this concept of process-led data management often over the past few years, and went into detail in my July blog post, "Data Governance Remains Immature: Increase Focus On Business Process To Build Momentum," where I offered a critical call to arms that all MDM, data quality, and data governance evangelists must embrace:

Data governance is not – and should never have been – about the data. High-quality and trustworthy data sitting in some repository somewhere does not in fact increase revenue, reduce risk, improve operational efficiencies, or strategically differentiate any organization from its competitors. It’s only when this trusted data can be delivered and consumed within the most critical business processes and decisions that run your business that these business outcomes can become reality. So what is data governance all about? It’s all about business process, of course.

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