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Posted by William Band on October 13, 2011
As I mentioned in a blog post last April, in the midst of the buzz in the CRM technology world about “social” and “mobile,” I continue to see rising demand for customer management solutions that have a strong core of workflow and business process management capabilities. I call this phenomenon “CRM meets BPM.”
I have just launched a research cycle to delve into the topic more deeply and would very much like get your perspective on this trend.
This emergence of process-centric customer management solutions is being driven by an increasing recognition by companies, particularly in services industries, that if they want to deliver great customer experiences, they must learn how to get control over their “untamed processes” that touch customers.
My colleague at Forrester Craig Le Clair, who coined the term, says “untamed business processes form in the seams and shadows of the enterprise, require a balance of human and system support, and cross department, technology, information, and packaged application silos to meet end-to-end business outcomes.”
Classic untamed processes that touch customers in the financial services industry include all types of service requests, such as product change requests, customer onboarding, negotiated documents, proposals, product support, claims, underwriting, and loan origination. Another type is incident management — for example, dispute resolution, complaint management, and order exception management.
Here is the hypothesis that I am testing:
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are the transactional backbone for many enterprise “front-office” processes, spanning sales, marketing, customer service, order management, customer data management, and Customer Intelligence. CRM is a great fit for well-defined, highly structured, departmental, customer-facing processes in industries like manufacturing and high-tech. Traditional CRM solutions provide strong support for customer data integration and management, but lack the ability to fully support the “invisible” and “untamed” customer-facing processes within fast-moving industries, particularly services companies.
Increasingly, companies are using business process management suite (BPMS) or dynamic case management (DCM) solutions as the primary point of entry for strategic, cross-functional processes and view individual CRM functions as supporting administrative processes. However, taking advantage of these solutions may require a higher level of process management maturity and skills than is typically found in many organizations.
Determining if, when, and how to use a BPMS and DCM alongside CRM depends on the degree of cross-process coordination, rate of process change, breadth of user experience, and degree of customization needed. Over the next three years, business process professionals will increasingly seek greater process management capabilities from their technology solutions and professional services partners to support end-to-end customer-facing processes.
Is this hypothesis valid? If not, why not?
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