Open Source BPM Aims to Take a Business to the Next Level
As an example of how effective BPM can take a business to the next level, Fricke describes a scenario in retail.
"A customer is on his way to a store," Fricke says. "He's already checked the retailer's website and confirmed that the desired item is in stock, as well as double-checked the directions. Once in the store, the innovative retailer stays connected with coupons or cross-sell offers, guides the customer to the shortest check-out lines or offers incentives based on buying patterns designed to attract the customer back to the store in the future."
To fully engage with a customer, you need to understand your customer in context. A customer on the road might want information about your closest location, the quickest route to that location, the route with the lightest traffic, etc. A customer on the street might want weather information, retailer suggestions, and information about product sales or where to find lunch nearby. A customer in the store might want personalized service, information about the shortest check-out lines, product suggestions and incentives to come back.
It's an appealing scenario of customer engagement that depends on successfully understanding both historical and real-time data related to a customer's wants and needs (not to mention opt-in from the customer). But most IT infrastructures today don't support a holistic view of a customer. Instead, numerous applications and business processes have a partial view of each customer, and it's nearly impossible, in many cases, to get a big picture view.
"Manual integration and management of the data connections and format translations can have a significant impact on how quickly solutions can be developed, deployed and adapted," Fricke says. "Data virtualization and integration can address this need, providing simultaneous access to many data types and sources across the organization and making them available to applications in an easily consumable manner. This can be particularly effective for taking intelligent action in support of customer-facing business processes."
"With accelerated application development and deployment, and the necessary data at their fingertips, retailers can begin to integrate the applications and build new and reusable services that provide IT and business process analysts with building blocks to create composite applications, BPM processes, mobile applications and cloud services that serve the customer," Fricke says.
"With the foundation of an integrated application, data and business services infrastructure in place, retailers can add the capstone to their IT organization: automated business processes that serve the customer with intelligent information and offerings. A comprehensive business process management suite can coordinate customer interactions through various devices and locations and automate the back-end processes that support the customer experience."
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