Integrating Business Process and Data for a Strong Customer Focus

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The relationship that an enterprise has with its customers affects almost every area of the business and every point of interaction with the customer, internally and externally. That’s why effective, customer-focused business processes are so important to enable top-notch customer experiences.

Organizations also have a lot of data sources to help them gain insights into their current and potential customers through analytics, real conversations, social media content, and customer service interactions.

Data, information and intelligence are the fuel for effective business processes that support and promote a successful customer focus. By considering business processes and information in parallel to customer-focused strategies and initiatives, business outcomes are likely to improve.

To benefit both customers and organizations the focus for all business processes shifts to The Customer — to embrace what customers want from companies, how they view companies, and how they want to work with them. Agile business processes connect all parts of the organization to the individual points and stages of the customer experience journey. Business processes also connect directly to desired business outcomes – which now must work in harmony with customer desired outcomes.

Business processes must become a dynamic, intelligent and highly integrated interface for company interactions internally and externally. Most internal systems in companies should incorporate factors like the customer experience and levels of engagement, rather than functioning solely from a product, service or departmental perspective. Processes play a key role in bringing these factors together to achieve sharper customer focus and relevance. Integration internal to the organization means cross-functional / cross-department teams to envision and implement customer strategies, translated into business processes that holistically connect the enterprise.

Customer interactions with an organization continuously produce large volumes of data related to internal systems such as call center management and CRM, as well as external sites such as corporate websites and social media. Significant issues impact the ability of organizations to correlate all the data into a holistic view of the customer:

  • Pulling data together to reflect the customer perspective rather than the internal systems architecture
  • Company-controlled data sources that do not easily reveal customer process or outcomes
  • Complexity of integrations needed to bring all this disparate data together
  • Social media data that is primarily content and crucially dependent on context to provide usable information

Granular and contextual data directly related to customer-focused processes contribute to today’s richer multidimensional or multi-layered view of the customer, replacing the traditional “360 view” that never was fully realized. The integrated processes behind the multidimensional customer span multiple interactions, channels, touch points, transactions, and systems. The right data working with processes is an important part of designing innovative business strategies that truly focus on the customer.

Deriving timely customer insights benefit the strategic and operational aspects of an organization. However, a good many customer interactions or touch points are increasingly shorter-lived due to the proliferation of digital channels and their use by customers. The opportunity for organizations to meet customer desires and needs has become more time-constrained for each interaction and increasingly difficult to capture, analyze and understand.

Keeping the focus on customer outcomes will help align people, processes, practices, and technology within the organization to the continuous changes needed to facilitate optimal customer experiences over time. Neither customer experience excellence nor well-integrated business processes should be after- thoughts for business execution – they are strategic necessities for success. When a customer focus is harmonized with the business processes and data in an organization, customer goals and business goals can be aligned in ways advantageous to both parties.

About Julie Hunt

Julie is an accomplished consultant and analyst for B2B software solutions, providing services to vendors to improve strategies for customers, target markets, solutions, vendor landscape, and future direction. For buyers of software, she helps companies make purchase decisions for software by working from a business-technology strategy. Julie has the unique perspective of a software industry “hybrid”: extensive experience in the technology, business, and customer-oriented aspects of creating, marketing and selling software. She has worked in the B2B software industry on the vendor side for more than 25 years in roles from the very technical (developer, SE, solutions consultant) to advisory roles for developing strategies for products, markets and customers, and go-to-market initiatives. Julie is an accomplished consultant and analyst for B2B software solutions, providing services to vendors to improve strategies for customers, target markets, solutions, vendor landscape, and future direction. For buyers of software, she helps companies make purchase decisions for software by working from a business-technology strategy. Julie has the unique perspective of a software industry “hybrid”: extensive experience in the technology, business, and customer-oriented aspects of creating, marketing and selling software. She has worked in the B2B software industry on the vendor side for more than 25 years in roles from the very technical (developer, SE, solutions consultant) to advisory roles for developing strategies for products, markets and customers, and go-to-market initiatives.

View all posts by Julie Hunt →

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