CEBP Series Part 6: Speed Information Delivery
This is part six in a review of the seven major applications for Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) as introduced in “UCStrategies VAR-SI Series: Building Your UC Applications Practice.” Part 6 will address the CEBP applications that will “Speed Information Delivery.”
Many communications events are simply a request for information. Many enterprises acknowledge that a large portion of their employees’ cell phone calls or mobile e-mail messages are made to office staff to get information from the corporate systems. The staff person must then read this information or type it as a text, instant message or e-mail for the remote person.It is not hard to notice the duplicative and wasted labor content of those communications.
Further, when management or staff are mobile, they often find they must suspend a communication session until they can “get online” or “return to the office” to have the information needed to proceed with the business action. Most communication systems now have a software client to run on many brands of mobile wireless devices, but those clients are usually limited to the communications functions (voice call management, IM, e-mail, and in a few cases meeting attendance or video) being offered or promoted by the communication system producer.
Now, with CEBP, it is possible to create user interfaces that combine communications tools with information access in a way that meets the business needs of the user. For example, access to inventory and logistics information while communicating with a repair customer may help a field engineer meet service level agreements (SLAs). To deliver this information directly to the employees, some enterprises are creating "query-response" bots (software robots) to allow instant messaging queries for information as suggested here. Similarly, access to machine diagnostic information, or patient data, or relevant images while in a voice- and/or video-based problem solving communication may shorten the time-to-resolution while producing a higher quality result. Of course, it may also be possible to collect, share, and capture information during such sessions to automate the business requirements for information updates or documentation. The key to this CEBP solution is to combine information and communication in ways that match the task at hand and that reinforce best practices for that business process, usually while also obtaining major reductions in time and in labor content for the transactions.
Benefits for Information Access applications include: reductions in labor costs to manually or orally provide information to mobile personnel; reductions in the costs of errors or rework caused by informal or oral communications that are misinformed or uninformed; faster task completion or improved customer service that usually results in increased revenues and margins; and better asset utilization by knowing the availability and location of needed supplies or equipment.
Here are a two case study examples of speeding information delivery:
- Herrenknecht is a Germany-based company that is the leading global producer of complex tunneling equipment. Herrenknecht integrated Microsoft Lync 2010 with their inventory system so that field personnel can send Instant Messages to a software “bot” to access inventory data and locate nearby parts. Also, the inventory system can deliver information and alerts to the field staff, avoiding wasted time and travel and allowing faster issue resolution.
- MetalForming is a leading supplier of architectural sheet-metal machinery. In order to improve its support operations, it built Lync communications capabilities into each metal-folding machine, allowing customers to directly communicate with MetalForming support personnel, using voice and video over IP, as well as application sharing. For MetalForming this reduced travel costs of their support staff, while for customers this offered much-enhanced support and training experiences.
It is usually very easy to find the communication "hot spots" which are based on the difficulties, delays or errors associated with traditional forms of information access and delivery. Often these "hot spots" show up as urgent (often multiple) phone calls or e-mails, faxes, extra reports, ad hoc record keeping, or just walking between desks. When those legacy business process methods are found, it is very likely that a Unified Communication solution, especially a CEBP application, will eliminate the waste, delays, and errors to provide very positive returns on the investments.
Next, the last application in the series, “Enhance Collaboration Effectiveness.”
Also on UCStrategies.com in this series: