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Business Process Automation Featured Article

October 22, 2010

Six Steps to Adopting Business Process Automation for Your Company

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Business Process Automation can be a good way to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Diane Halliwell, Director of Contact Center Solutions, Align, and Gina Clarkin, Product Manager, Interactive Intelligence offer six steps for companies to take to implement a BPA project in their company.

“The problems didn’t appear overnight, and they won’t get fixed overnight,” they caution. “The key is to follow a proven, defined methodology that will allow them to identify and finally address root causes.

Step 1: Document the current process, including communication flows. In order to perform this step effectively, some other activities may be necessary, such as observing staff members as they perform their work, meeting with or interviewing key individuals who are involved in the process and, maybe, meeting with customers who can provide the external view of what it is like to interact with a particular process in order to achieve a result.

Step 2: Document how the process “touches” or “intersects” with other processes. In this step, they say, “you are trying to determine how far-reaching this process is, and how potential changes will impact other workflows within the firm. Often, we find that each process we examine has many interaction points.” To avoid the “patchwork quilt” approach, you need to at least be aware of potential impacts.

Step 3: Objectively analyze the current process. You will review the documentation of the process, and ask many questions that will help you derive just what needs to be done next, including, but not limited to such questions as “are the systems/tools currently used effective? Is there consistency in performing the process? Is there documentation available for this process?”

Step 4: Based on the answers to the questions in Step 3, start to develop a plan. Now that you have analyzed the existing process, it is time to start developing a plan to address the issues. Document the trouble points within the process, assess and evaluate how these “gaps” can be addressed, document the “to be process,” addressing the gaps that you have identified and document and develop a plan to address activities that will be required to effect change.

Step 5: If appropriate, look for the right technology and technology partner. By this time in the methodology, you have gone a long way toward getting the business end of the process right. Securing the right technology may very well be necessary to achieve success. Readiness to adopt that technology is critical, and having the right partner to carry your vision forward, and to make sure you implement the technology effectively, is the next critical step.

Step 6: Post-change calibration. We have seen that business dynamics change, both internally within the organization and from a customer perspective. In order to deal effectively with change, and to be proactive in dealing with it, you must adopt a culture of continual improvement.

To download a free copy of the informative white paper that Halliwell and Clarkin wrote, “The Exceptional Customer Experience: It’s all about the Process,” click here.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard



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