We all know our current paper-based health information process wastes hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Transforming this into a streamlined 21st century electronic system will require moving though stages of maturity from paper charts to the cross provider electronic health record (EHR). And yes, Forrester will be publishing it's maturity model soon which hopefully will be more understandable then the health care bill. Our basic conclusion is that a narrow focus on electronic medical records packaged apps. or paper replacement technologies will fall short of stated goals. Meaningful use - as in qualifying for governement bonuses - will require a process –centric view and a portfolio of technologies including enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM), analytics and Forms Automation. Our three phase maturity model will show how these foundation technologies help move through the phases most providers will transit to get to the 21st century health care system we all need. Stay tuned.
BPM has always provided fertile ground for new ideas but often results in confusing business process and application professionals. Recently Dynamic Case Management and Social BPM are being spoken of as important directions for BPM. But how do they relate to one another? And since social media is an important part of both, what value does social really add to process improvement and Line of Business professionals if any? No doubt social improves collaboration in process design, and more important is the ability -with analytics to add a new form of input to process improvement -input that may go directly to the CEO. This is part of the BPM advantage but the area of Case Management may have more dramatic value as you collaborate during a critical incident like an adverse drug reaction, or create a stronger community to deliver a more personalized service event -or to gather "voice of the customer" data to improve case handling. But in both BPM and Case -social is an enabler and takes a seat along side important advancements such as analytics, convergence of BPM and ECM, and a stronger domain focus.
Analytics gets a lot of attention these days. And it should. Additional business insight is really important to improve the customer experience and more and more to understand the on-line experience. And predictive analytics is really cool. But these exciting areas tell only part of the story. Analytics can also help improve content management and transactional business processes. The infrastructure and plumbing that keeps most companies afloat. Analytics can help consolidate archives, improve capture, classify documents, improve business processes, and enhance the value of packaged apps. In short, there is a strong analytics play just for better content management and process improvement but poorly deeloped use cases and better buzz in other areas tamps down the potential. But we shall hear more about this soon.
Interest in case management will climb higher and higher throughout 2010. The drivers are a mix of old and new an include. The most important - there will be an increased need to manage the costs and risks of servicing customer requests — like loans, claims, and benefits. Customer experience has evolved to where fundamentals of the product are secondary. Its now about design and the personality of the experience. I tried to help my daughter buy a car the other day. The Ford Focus didn't make the cut. Why? No lighted mirror. I then knew I was in for a long process.
There is also a greater emphasis on automating and tracking inconsistent "incidents" that do not follow a well-defined process. Does homeland security come to mind? And lots of new pressure on government agencies to respond to a higher number of citizen requests. But this next one is the killer. We will see new demands from regulators, auditors, and litigants on businesses to respond to external regulations. After Bernie "made off" with 50B or so the SEC had an epiphany of sorts. Gee.Lets give the field agents more authority to investigate — and perhaps depoliticize the process. Brilliant. Lets let the folks that actually know the regulatory target actually make decisions. Well. Great. We think this will lead to a ramped up number of investigative inquires and guess what? Each one is best handled as a case where consistent policies, audit trails, and analytics can apply. Lastly, there is the increased use of collaboration and social media to support unstructured business processes.
SharePoint 2010 unleashed a host of improvements for line of business (LOB), security and compliance, developers, and the data center. But unlike SharePoint 2007 that grouped a set of diverse technologies into a single platform, SharePoint 2010 takes dead aim at improving business processes by connecing people more directly to them. Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, social features, enhancements to Visio and improved enterprise content management (ECM) support all directly benefit LOB process execution. SharePoint 2010 platform is not going to replace core transactional business process management (BPM) or provide needed infrastructure for continue improvement, but it will bring social computing into business and connect information workers to formerly siloed business processes. The best news is Business Connectivity Services ehich allows -among other things - to more easily publish content from enterprise apps. and core transaction systems to SharePoint team sites and portals - and keep them live. This gets a rid of a host of non-value-added activity - copying, updating, moving to spreadsheets etc. that often plagued infromation workers. I've got a more indepth analysis of 2010 in the works for January publication.
Staples Technology Solutions - a separately managed part of the growing company - will outsource your desktops or address print management needs. So this means IT outsourcing as well providing Managed Print Services for printers, imaging equipment, copiers, and fax machines. They are strong in volume pricing and support coverage and will do well in the mid part of these markets. I would have liked to have seen more connection to their print and copy retail service centers. For example allowing jobs to be routed from a business to a retail center for special preparation - the type of things corporate print centers use to do.
Xerox may soon own ACS. A great move if you ask me - for tactical and strategic reasons. XGS -the services arm - has been making some "toe in the water" moves over the last few years towards BPO in markets such as E-Discovery, Mortgage Processing, and growing organically core processes such as invoice processing and customer on boarding. These made sense in the quest for higher value conversations with customers but did not have the juice to really transform the company into a services-led player of the 21st century or position the company to expand into cloud and SaaS offerings. This deal has the power to do just that -adding solutions, project and change management skills as well as a mature labor arbitrage infrastructure.
Pitney Bowes announced it is launching a new production color printing system for high volume transactional mailers. Called the Pitney Bowes® IntelliJet™, it is based on a strategic alliance with HP and will use their color inkjet printing system to produce transactional statements. Under the Mailstream Solutions Management division, Pitney will now have a more complete document processing solution that can balance and support integrated in-bound and outbound communication. Prior to this, on the output side, Pitney was limited to on-premise output management software that provides authoring and workflow solutions to control and manage production. This alliance –to be hosted in Pitney Facilities – adds the hardware and finishing component. Tighterin-bound and outbound communication, and use of high-speed color print is an inevitable trend for transactional customer communications for the direct channel, and this is a step forward for Pitney.
Kofax announced yesterday the acquisition of 170 Systems. Why did Kofax do this? Well, good acquisitions have a mixture of tactical and strategic complements — and this one is long on both. With over 800 invoice processing customer using Kofax for front-end capture they now can add invoice workflow — exception management and payment for full invoice processing solutions. Add in the purchase of a Swedish EIPP provider 18 months ago and this indeed covers all bases. The 170 Systems customer base alone is a gold mine: 40% have no automated capture. There’s plenty here to give ReadSoft a run for their money.
But, really this acquisition is about moving up the value chain. Customers are looking for more complete solutions, and this deal underscores the trend by the larger capture, imaging, and ECM companies to move further into the business process applications markets.
In addition, Kofax gains better visibility into the economic buyer, and picks up a solutions-oriented sales force and the platform to grow their top resellers into top-notch integrators of supply chain and ERP financial deals, not to mention 170’s existing partners.
Also, they are primed to go into to other un-tamed processes, such as sales order processing and contract management. All in all, it’s thumbs up for this bold move by a company that has historically been timid about venturing from its paper roots.