Next up: The consumerization of business processes

The consumerization of IT may well be leading to the consumerization of business processes. Here are four paths toward improved processes for a more mobile enterprise and a transformed user experience.

The consumerization of IT is leading organizations to mobile-enable both their internal and customer-facing applications. While you're at it, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to completely rethink and redesign your business processes from the ground up, and even to invent entirely new business models.

You should think about how mobility can streamline business processes, reduce costs or even deliver entirely new services over the mobile channel. It may well be that you've already done the last item on that list, but if it's been a while, you need to recognize that today's smartphones and tablets are far more sophisticated and feature-rich, creating possibilities that weren't technically feasible just a few years ago.

What's possible with a mobile-oriented business process redesign? First of course, you can make a non-mobile process mobile -- bring the process to the place where the work actually gets done, potentially reducing the number of process steps. But you can also enhance an already mobile process by making it more automated.

I see four paths to improved processes. First is what I call the "Must-Have" scenario: Manual processes that are not performed at the point of service are mobile-enabled so that they can be performed where the service is provided. Next is the "Wow Factor" scenario: Things that are done manually but at the point of service are given a technology upgrade so they can be accomplished via smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. Third is the "Innovative Replacement" scenario: Costly proprietary technologies are replaced with much less expensive options made possible by the current generation of smartphones and tablets; the processes were already automated, but not necessarily performed at the point of service. Finally, there's "Mobile Upgrade" scenario: Technologies that were already mobile and had already replaced proprietary technology are improved.

Each of these four paths has already led to innovations with business benefits in the real world:

The "Must-Have" -- Most companies have already implemented things like sales force automation and field force automation, but anytime a manual process is totally redesigned for mobile technologies, the business benefits can be huge. These types of business process improvements can result in substantial cost savings, reduced cycles times, improved convenience and greater ease of use.

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