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Tech for Tomorrow

Doug Mow

Is the Customer the Boss in the age of Social BPM?

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Even the briefest hiatus has the world passing one by these days. It's been about a month since I last posted, spending part of that "off the grid" on vacation. Since then, iPhone is being outsold by Android phones and Amazon reported it is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover. (It's only a matter of time before they sell more digital books than any other kind.) Google announced it is going to cease development of Wave. The CEO of HP is stepping down, walking away with more than ten million dollars. Oh yeah, and the last video and DVD rental store in my town closed down.

Closer to the ebizq front, social and BPM are still very hot topics. BI relevance as well as BI innovation are active in the Forum. John and Pascal's report on the Coming Upheaval in the IT Services market has been released and was covered by Larry Dignan (@ldignan). And, players continue to wade into the cloud pool.

What remains constant is the need of IT and technology to support the business needs of its constituents. Whether processes are detected or invented, they support critical functionality and an organization's ability to do "what it does best", whatever that happens to be. Increasingly, that must include a view of the end consumer's experience. The old adage "the customer is the boss" seems a bit outdated and 60's now. We customers have grown very wise and would take every advantage of that position (I want that BMW free because I am the boss). At the same time, today's social media reality makes the customer a very influential source of word of mouth pressure both positive and negative.

So another angle on the social BPM topic is the end customer experience. As consumer facing BPM applications define how customers interact with organizations they will increasingly use social media to tell the world about it. This is social talking about BPM and impacting the brand. Not just the United Airlines guitar smashing YouTube video. Or the Sears "is there anybody home" post. We've all heard the stories of bad customer service victims ranting online. Is there an upside?

In a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, author Michael Zeisser writes "...we think of word of mouth generated on social networks as a distinct form of media." Do BPM projects have this in mind when creating customer facing process support? How many BPM projects include an individual to role play the end consumer? If the positive end customer experience is not designed in at the start how likely is it that great customer experiences that drive positive word of mouth will be the result?

Doug Mow blogs from a business executive's perspective about IT trends, tech news and life in the trenches of an Enterprise 2.0 transformation.

Doug Mow

#CMO of Courion Corporation responsible for all branding, communications, messaging, online and offline marketing. Courion is the leading provider of access management tools that provide maximum access to corporate IT assets with minimal risk.

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