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Redefining CEBP for the Real World

My colleague Rob Arnold is working on a study of the ways in which end-user organizations are currently taking advantage of communications-enabled business processes (CEBP). As part of his research, he's discovering that not only do different people (especially IT staff and their vendors) define CEBP differently, but that most companies have been doing things like CTI for years, but are just starting out on the path to CEBP.

That has made it difficult for him to uncover examples of what he and I, and other analysts at Frost & Sullivan, consider "true" CEBP, which in our ideal world should improve business processes by injecting communications into them at key points along the way. But for most businesses, that ideal is far from current reality, which is impacted not just by resources, but also by an organization's understanding of its processes in the first place.

So Rob has expanded his definition of CEBP to incorporate four levels of complexity and value. Of course, these are guidelines--some organizations may locate themselves somewhere in between:

* Level 1: Basic communications and business software integrations, which are akin to CTI in some respects. Providing screen pop information about incoming callers, as well as click-to-call from business software or web sites, these solutions can be considered CEBP if the communications sessions take place as part of an overall business process.

* Level 2: Valued-added solutions include Level 1 capabilities and also leverage communications software integration with back office systems such as ERP, appointment management, scheduling and self-service (i.e., IVR) applications. The result is the automation of repetitive tasks (either scheduled or ad-hoc), which frees up staff to work on other, more specialized work items.

* Level 3: Advanced CEBP solutions incorporate Level 1 and 2 capabilities and also integrate with monitoring, reporting, analytics, recording, archiving and/or scheduling apps to help measure process or worker performance as well as adhere to compliance and contractual SLA stipulations. These CEBP solutions prevent punitive costs and identify hidden inefficiencies within overall business processes.

* Level 4: Sophisticated CEBP solutions often rely on database dips to automatically trigger communications sessions (e.g., notify a user or customer of an event). Integrating libraries, collaborative tools and web services create communications mash-ups that can be part of CEBP solutions which accelerate decision making and gathering of information required to effectively move a work flow forward.

If you and your organization are at any of these levels, we’d love to hear about it. Please email me at [email protected] or Rob at [email protected].