CEBP Series Part 2: Accelerate Transaction Completion

27 Mar 2012

This is part two 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 two will look at the CEBP applications that will "Accelerate Transaction Completion."

The purpose of the Accelerate Transaction Completion type of CEBP application is to streamline transactions by streamlining the communication steps related to those transactions. In some cases, that may just be done by making the existing communications faster or easier, such as placing a voice call to a person known to be available. But in other cases, the best solutions may come from changing the media (e.g. using Instant Messaging rather than voice), from automating some or all of the communication steps, or from eliminating the communication step altogether as with self-service web portals.

Most enterprises have major business processes that focus on completing a transaction. Examples include producing and shipping a product in manufacturing, receiving and delivering a product in transportation, issuing an insurance policy in financial services, approving a building plan in local government, or completing a program of treatment in healthcare. In every case, the customer is served and the enterprise earns revenue or fulfills its mission by completing the transaction. However, many transactions, including all of those mentioned here, can incur delay, rework, or errors based on the impediments of historical communications methods such as missed calls, incomplete or inaccurate messages, or unavailable information.

Now, with CEBP, enterprises are able to build communications directly into the workflows related to those transactions. When communication is required, it can be initiated directly from within the business software applications that support the processes, eliminating errors, wasted time, and most delays. Further, since CEBP is based on the full range of Unified Communications tools, the communication can be in the format most appropriate to the situation - a text or IM message to a cell phone, a video session to inspect a defective part, or a voice consult amongst hospital caregivers. Often Transaction Completion is combined with Notification Precision (see below) for further acceleration.

Note that Transaction Completion is not to be confused with "collaboration" which is the subject of a later article. Sure, people communicate while completing a transaction, but the communications is almost always very structured. The people who are communicating are not trying to invent a new idea; rather, they are in a hurry to create another exact copy of an existing idea, product or solution.

Benefits

Benefits from Transaction Completion CEBP applications include: reduction in labor cost per transaction; faster time to billing; likely improvement in customer satisfaction; an increase in capacity which usually grows revenues and margins; and an increase in asset utilization which reduces capital costs and balance sheet loads for the enterprise.

Case Studies

Here are two case study examples of Accelerated Transaction Completion. Many more exist on many UC vendor's case study sites.

  • Wonderware is a leading producer of manufacturing plant automation software. Wonderware has embedded communications functions directly into the plant operator interface, using Microsoft Office Communications Server (the precursor to Microsoft Lync 2010). This enables the operations center to connect directly to an appropriately skilled and available plant technician to minimize downtime and maximize plant throughput.

  • A mortgage company (see page 4) needed to follow a sequence of 50 independent workflows to process a mortgage application, requiring 45 to 60 days' time. The application had to be reviewed and approved by many constituents (the buyer, mortgage company, lawyers, appraisers, title search and others). In this application, CEBP software detects when a process is idled and launches communications to remind parties of the required action or to bring specific parties into a conference call for completion of the specific step. The mortgage company has accelerated the approval process by 20%, delivering the funds for closing 9 to 12 days faster.

The Accelerate Transaction Completion CEBP application category comprises some of the highest returns on investment. While the benefit for each transaction may be small, when multiplied by hundreds, thousands or even millions of transactions, the benefits can be huge. Further, Accelerate Transaction Completion solutions often avoid the losses of time, revenue and staff time which occur when a transaction is not proceeding smoothly and requires major attention or rework to meet customer expectations or service level agreements (SLAs).

So, again, in this CEBP application known as Accelerate Transaction Completion, we recommend that VARs and SIs who are focused on delivering value in addition to basic UC functionality should work with their customers to review the customer's high value or high volume transactions. In many cases, the VAR or SI and the customer will find sources of transaction errors, rework or delay and can then determine which of these problem areas can be mitigated or eliminated by the improved communications available through UC and CEBP.

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Also on UCStrategies.com in this series:

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