The power of aligning customer experience to business processes and placing it at the core of Enterprise Architecture.
Far too often, I find companies placing customer experience functions in front-end applications without alignment to business processes. This leads to difficulties in fulfilling real service expectations and managing costs and profits transparently.
Old agricultural wisdom states that “Effectual milk production is not based on an efficient milking machine, but on a well-fed and happy cow.” This wisdom can be applied to Enterprise Architecture as well. Your best bet is often to go back to basics, simplify processes, and not get blinded by technologies.
Being relevant for your customers and simplifying processes requires a common Enterprise Architecture defined together by business and IT. Start from the business and the necessary processes, describe the data that is needed – and then decide which technologies and applications are used.
Simplification helps to promote common understanding and efficiency. Here are two examples of what simplification can mean in practice to business and the IT that supports it.
Example 1: Simplifying the Lead-Opportunity-Quote-Order-Fulfillment-Payment process
As its long-winded name suggests, the Lead-Opportunity-Quote-Order-Fulfillment-Payment is a complex process with numerous sub-processes and stakeholders. When one of my customers experienced long lead times and the delivered products did not meet the original requests, we were invited to study their lead-to-order process, and come up with recommendations on how to simplify it.
One key finding was the incompatibility of the different technologies and data models, which resulted in difficult integration needs, and the operation of each application in a "silo", meaning that the user did not have visibility or control over end-to-end outcomes.
Our recommendation was to decrease the number of technologies used in the process. It did the trick.
Example 2: Developing the customer’s service business
Another customer was suffering from long lead times and challenges in meeting needs with the defined service packages.
We found out that after customer needs were recorded in the CRM system, they were delivered in Excel format to a person who configured it in SAP ERP. The manual work prolonged the lead times and increased errors. The key challenge seemed to be that when the configured packet was sent back to the CRM system, the difference in data models made it impossible to keep the message consistent.
There are no easy answers when solutions have already been built based on different technologies. It is therefore essential to identify the risk areas of the solution and create operating models for their management. To avoid these problems in the future, we suggested that our customer create Enterprise Architecture.
After years of working with business IT, I am still thrilled to find innovations that help to improve performance while keeping things simple. Here is one of my recent findings around customer experience and engagement: SAP CX. In my opinion, it’s a hidden gem.
Already in the 2000s, it was recognized that 70% of CRM projects have integration to ERP. Yet most of today’s CRM’s are poorly integrated to ERP backbone. To get full value for businesses, ERP and customer engagement layers need to be tightly integrated. SAP is doing extremely well in this regard.
In sum, SAP CX is a great way to increase customer experience and engagement – while keeping things simple. We at TietoEVRY are happy to help you make the most of SAP CX.
We at TietoEVRY have strong expertise both with customer-centric solutions like SAP CX and backbone ERPs. We provide E2E process covering agile and customer/user-centric front-end applications with tight integration to core business logistics processes and financial solutions. Read more about our SAP solutions and services.
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As Lead Enterprise Architect at Tietoevry, Jouko is in charge of sales support and developing the service offering for manufacturing customers. He has participated in the planning and completing of IT systems that optimally serve the different business lines of manufacturing companies for over 20 years. Jouko has worked in various roles in business IT and has been involved in sales, product development, consulting, process development, as well as different managerial positions.