Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Customer Process Management

(Disclaimer: Since I heard so much about CPM being dead as a pricing model I would like to reclaim the acronym for something useful)

There are no shortage of business process management professionals, businesses, problems, platforms, analysts, books, theories, architectures and general products and services. People have spent years building up massive practices and businesses and used this BPM terminology in order to help move us from the archaic world of database and legacy-centric thinking that has built monolithic applications and waterfall-en methodologies around core business processes. We managed the unmanageable by wrapping management capabilities around the processes and exposing this management layer to the various users who ultimately owned or had to interact with those processes.

We wrapped our lingo franca up with some analytics, intelligence, integration points and made sure that we could deliver this in some useful fashion. We integrated to service buses and SOA back ends, consumed REST and SOAP endpoints, dressed it up in Flash and AJAX and pushed these processes out to users and yes, even customers.

And so at some point, we actually blindly entered a space where we had customers managing their view of business processes. We had dressed up these business processes with some kind of front end and exposed appropriate elements and touchpoints of those business processes out to customers. We had customers managing processes. But the business owned the process right? They owned the outcome right? It ultimately benefited the business right?

Now we have added Social BPM - the latest shiny object in the information workplace - social collaboration around the business and associated business processes that require new levels of collaboration. That collaboration also apparently, from time to time, may involve customers.

Don't customers (don't we) have our own processes? Actually we also have the ability to manage our processes too. But, unfortunately noone is exposing any Customer Process Management endpoints for us to consume, use, interact with or ultimately use to do the things we want to do.

I want all vendors to please submit their products and services to my 'vendor selection process' - please compare your prices, service levels, warranties, etc in a standard way so that I can consume these into my selection process.

Once I have completed my vendor selection process, please supply the product or service at appropriate intervals for the agreed upon price. Submit any variations in service level, quality, timeliness, friendliness, or things I may not have thought of to my vendor evaluation process.

When I love you and what you do and refer you to a friend, please accept my consumption of the 'mimic me and don't fail' service together with my 'these guys are good' service to ensure a constant fidelity with your new service endpoint based on expectations set in my instance.

Is it just a subtlety, or is there a notion where we as consumers could own our processes, could force endpoints to be met in terms of an SLA and commitment as a condition of doing business? I think we are in control of the money that gets spent and it seems to me that all too often we let inconsistent service, poor pricing practices, overt marketing attempts for upsell and cross-sell to ultimately impact our perceptions of quality but we carry on disheartened but stalwart in our willingness to compromise and let business fail at our expense. What choice do we really have? We have self selected into a business process and are now inserting coins in the slot to keep the monkey dancing.

Imagine, with me, for a minute a world inverted and built in our favour, where those who want our money, loyalty and commitment ultimately meet us on our terms.

OK, back to work...and go ahead, keep CPM for whatever you were using it for already.

Posted via web from bitpakkit

1 comment:

Joseph said...

As businesses move towards service oriented approach, there's need to ensure that service-level agreements (SLAs) are managed and met. Intel has a product called SOA Expressway that manages runtime aspects of SOA governance like QoS, security and authentication and it runs on any Intel server. See here http://bit.ly/ServiceGateway.