The use of BPM has been (and is still) on of the major trends in corporate to augment customer satisfaction, reduce costs and enhance productivity. Meanwhile in Africa, this methodology is yet to be embraced fully, it has to be promoted, and implemented the proper way to gain all the benefits from the company side as well as the customer side. Businesses in Africa have to be much more customer centric in their processes approach, the impact to the customer has to measurable and measured. This will be a competitive advantage for any organisation that uses this methodology now. Be a first mover and gain more customers while satisfying them better.

How will BPM impact your company?

Based on my own experience, I am sure that the benefits are there to tap in. I have deployed and still deploying for the last two years a BPMS in the financial sector for many affiliates of a banking group and promoting at the same the BPM methodology. The impact was both great from the institution and the customers while only four processes are deployed, I am just envisioning the future with more processes in. When we take the institutional gain, there are many benefits we can list out such as:
  1. Standard processes across countries and across departments: Different affiliates are using the same process with not change in the process definition, only the data is changing. This means you can easily deploy someone from an affiliate to another without having to train him/her a lot. This can be also a basis to put in place a central shared services centre to further reduce the costs and help you deploy more sales people than operational ones.
  2. Improved turn around time for a case execution: Executing a customer request in 2 hours no matter his location while it used to be done in a day or more. With this kind of benefit, you can also use less FTE on operations while doing more. With one of the implemented process, we even went from two days transactions (or more) to a fully automated STP which requires for more than 80% of the cases transactions posted on a real-time basis and the rest which requires people input to a 15 minutes max task, while reducing the paper work to zero (cost reduction).
  3. Interconnected systems in a real-time basis: One of the process is “talking” to 7 different systems to get and push all required transactions to those different systems. When a staff have to go individually to each of those systems and gather or push the details, he is now getting the same on the same screen. Imagine the gain.
And here we are only talking about four processes, when we extrapolate this to all the processes in the company, it will just be like a dream coming true.
All companies can have the same gains, they just need to embrace fully the BPM methodology, focus on their core processes as a start and deliver them on a phased approach: the benefits will be immediately seen. And I have not talked about the reporting aspect using a business activity monitoring system which will help at decision making in terms of staffing, bottlenecks, process re-engineering, etc. You can have a full view of the real usage of your employees, their performance, your systems, thus reduce licensing costs, maintenance costs, etc.

The impact on your customers?

If we take the same examples above, we can see how improving companies’ processes are translated into direct impact on the customers. How will they react when a first mover in this field (well when properly done) comes in with faster processes which delivers the same services as the other competitors but two times, three times of ten times faster: before even you start to innovate with new products, mastering the existing ones will make customers happier, and willing to do more business with this specific company. Let’s list the same benefits as for the companies and see the impact on the customer:
  1. Standard processes: This will have a visible impact for the customer, by getting the same service, in the same quality and in a timely manner in every branch, every affiliate he is going, he will surely know that this company is on top of its services and understand the needs of the customer and has designed something to serve him the same way where ever he goes. This surely develops more loyalty (and again if done properly).
  2. Improved turn around time: Improving TAT translates to getting the result of the service faster than what the customer was used to. With the first example, the customer is now used to get the services with same quality across the branches, and affiliates for the same service; but now the company is pushing it to the next level by giving the service faster first by reducing the time to deliver it and cheaper by reducing its production cost of the service. Which means the customer is gaining twice and  is willing to even do more business again with that company and will be an evangelist of that one.
  3. Interconnected systems: Now after being bluffed by the company, the customer comes again to visit his preferred supplier, bank, hospital and to change some details of his record in the company (or by phone or through a published website), while he is getting those changes done, he receives an email or an sms telling him that the details he wanted to change where done instantly and updated in the different systems of the company while it was taking something like three days to a week before for everything to be done (if it was done at all).
There are many ways the implementation of the BPM methodology and automation with a BPMS can help enhance the customer’s experience; and as I said earlier, this field is clearly untapped in the Africa environment, there is much to do and new skills to acquire. When done properly, BPM can help measure what is not measured in Africa’s business environment. Customer will be able to compare with clearly stated measures, SLA type measure. The focus can be given to really give back to the customer what he requires as quality instead of being a cash cow with no way to find better. Companies which implement such methods, will surely gain more customers as they will be in a better position than their competition and showing care to your customers is the best way to gain more.
Your thoughts? Let’s share…