Why people are the key to effective process orchestration

By David Brakoniecki, Managing Director, BP3 Europe.

Businesses today are under growing pressure to deliver faster change, greater agility and rapid speed-to-market, with customers adding to this demand for quick yet exceptional service. Rather than waiting six weeks for information to come back, nowadays, when filling out a mortgage application, for instance, customers expect an early invitation online that’s devised by a quoting engine.

In this example, the decisions behind how and when the customer is contacted and which employee is dealing with each task sits beneath process orchestration, which more broadly deals with areas such as the discovery, modelling, analysis and automation of processes, such as Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).

However, in today’s landscape, where organisations are operating on a geographically distributed basis and siloed ways of working having become the norm, significant barriers stand in the way of improving these processes and ultimately ensuring that customers receive a fast turnaround on such services.

Undeniably, change management is a tricky concept to navigate. After all, adding new systems requires collaboration and alignment among every stakeholder, regardless of department, to ensure flexibility as customer needs evolve. A key example of this is the disconnect between business and IT stakeholders.

Closing the divide

In an ever-more digital world, mortgage applications are just one example of the many digital services that customers now expect to access and utilise effectively. In fact, research has found that more than four in five (84%) consumers are more inclined to do business with organisations that offer self-service options. However, just61% believe that organisations are actually capable of providing easy, convenient self-service.. Business stakeholders are very much aware of this, and will be striving for continuous innovation. They ultimately want to make processes quicker and more efficient, which will help to both attract new customers and retain their existing ones.

Yet despite this awareness among business stakeholders, in many businesses, 70% of the IT budget is spent primarily on keeping the lights on. As such, just 30% Ois reserved for business process innovation to support business stakeholders and evolve services for consumers. By their very nature, IT stakeholders are much more likely to be risk averse due to an understanding of the complexity of architecture and code reviews. For these individuals, behind every new request received lies the fear of breaking a critical system that’s already in place.

A common understanding

Bringing these departments together and devising the best way to improve processes to enhance customer service requires input from experts. Returning to the mortgage application example, the automation of tasks can enable a reduction in working hours and eradicate any errors in data entry. Although this is vital for speeding up tasks and bringing a service to a customer sooner, adopting automated solutions on their own will not account for the flow of work between people in different departments. Instead, these processes need to be properly orchestrated to get everyone on the same page.

This can be visualised via a business process diagram that clearly identifies the benefits to both business and IT stakeholders and will be of much more use to both parties than a detailed technical document that would only be of value to IT staff. Clearly defined boxes and arrows can detail how processes will play out, such as who or what is responsible for notifying customers of a successful mortgage application. Specific integrations in a business process diagram could include a timer to flag to a manager when a process hasn’t reached a certain point, which could otherwise violate an SLA and lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Taking a collaborative approach from the very beginning will help to ensure that every stakeholder, regardless of department, understands the problem that needs to be solved and how this is going to be achieved. At this stage, the Head of Change Management can be brought into discussions to ascertain whether staff need to be retrained or given greater responsibility to make these new processes a reality.

Deriving real value from process orchestration

The rapid changes to the ways in which and where people work in recent years have seen workforces become more widespread and digital services become a mandatory offering. This means while a decade ago, it was largely banks and insurance companies that explored the benefits of orchestration and IPA, today, every company, from finance to retail, is a technology company.

Despite the immense value of automated technologies in helping businesses to enhance efficiency and empower staff, this won't be realised without the alignment of business stakeholders. Ultimately, for process orchestration to be a success, every member of staff across the organisation needs to be talking the same language. Therefore, by bridging the divide between different departments and ensuring collaboration becomes the norm, businesses will be able to agree on what needs to change and derive real value from these processes.

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