Over the last few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has started to permeate all markets as organisations across the board have begun looking for ways to harness the value that combining the IoT within other business process management (BPM) initiatives could realise for the business.
“This disruptive integration will impact organisations of every type and size,” says Richard Firth, CEO of MIP Holdings. “Think of the benefits that bringing analytics, mobile, big data and social into business processes could bring in terms of better decision making and improved agility.”
Firth describes this new trend as Business Process Socialisation (BPS) or Business to Machine to Consumer (B2M2C), essentially the maturing of Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C). “This is the ultimate maturing of traditional BPM or workflow, and will essentially manage an SLA within an organisation’s workflow process all the way to the consumer or customer.”
He adds that this BPS process is the beginning of a strategy that will allow machines to answer a digitally connected consumer automatically via bots, AI or AR. The key to organisations moving with this strategy is redefining how important workflow automation is inside a business. A business moving with this strategy must understand that a consumer will actually have a bird’s eye view through the entire supply chain with “warts and all” and, finally, the process must allow for a consumer to simply break out of automation and speak to a human.
The break out from automation is important for consumers. Michael Fitzgerald, senior analyst at Celent (Boston) and co-author with Craig Weber of the report “Innovation in Insurance: A North American Consumer View” says that the results of Celent’s research challenged two long-held assumptions: first, that younger consumers prefer self-service over the web above all other interaction types, and secondly that they do not want to conduct business by personal interaction. “But they answered overwhelmingly that they preferred face-to-face interaction for complex transactions,” he reports.
According to Firth, the intention of BPS is to drive the digital revolution within a business ecosystem. “This goes beyond the digital strategy, as it is far more detailed in its implementation. It is about tuning and optimising to gain a competitive advantage. It guarantees business agility, and gives organisations the ability to adapt quickly.”
It gives birth to the digitally connected consumer, he adds. “It allows for re-usable activities that integrate with systems, user interfaces, apps and devices, giving the user full control, and real-time consumer SLA management to the business.”
He says it is also the process whereby we will begin to connect the actual systems with the consumer via a device or simple voice. “Think of it as the real enabler of the IOT world. Some businesses may think that their consumers will be using a device to access the company’s supply chain but once a company even considers a mobile app then they have entered the world of IOT. When thinking of implementing a simple mobile app, the company must consider Android, IOS and Windows for a start. Already just three operating systems but hundreds of different devices. This world gets complex quickly.”
There are two ways to strategically implement this strategy. The first is a company’s operational implementation of customer-centricity, effectively bringing the consumer into an operational process to effect decisions that in any business used to be made by “supervisors” via overrides. Well, the consumers can make these decisions today and take full ownership or responsibility for their decisions. The second is via data mining and the artificial intelligence that follows. However, the first step will bring the data so desperately needed for the second step to be effective.
Firth says the IoT, also referred to as the Internet of everything (IoE), has been disrupting businesses for some time. “Today’s world is increasingly connected. We see a plethora of devices connected to the Internet and to each other through a slew of sensors. The possibility of harnessing this data, and getting real-time insight from consumers to improve decision making is hugely exciting for businesses. It could take competition to a new level.”
He says the IoT has shown its disruptive capabilities in consumer and retail for some time now, through the introduction of smart systems, including lights, security, thermostats and other appliances. “However, within the last few years, the IoT is starting to seep into other markets as organisations have started thinking about the real value that combining IoT with BPM could bring to the business. In fact, the integration of BPM with analytics, social and mobile into current processes and business applications could bring tremendous agility with respect to crucial business decisions.”
Through BPS, organisations can gain far higher levels of efficiency, agility, flexibility and responsiveness, which in turn can help them better support changing business requirements. “Just think of the benefits: Far quicker access to information from any device or environment with a consumer-centric focus. Moreover, better customer feedback that leads to improved process lifecycles. The possibilities are endless.”