Communication has gotten easier within organizations of all sizes as new tools such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calling and unified messaging have helped boost productivity. With a hosted unified communications (UC) system, it is possible to make profound efficiency improvements, particularly as these tools are integrated with other cloud applications. By bringing together IP telephony tools and business systems, organizations can fully optimize their communications infrastructure. This integrated system is known as communications enabled business processes (CEBP).
In a recent VoIP News column, contributor Jon Arnold explained that CEBP is an elevated form of UC that represents a valuable opportunity to move beyond the thinking associated with hard-wired telecom systems. Processes such as order fulfillment, inventory management and customer notifications were once outside of what could be managed using communication tools, but cloud applications now make such an approach the most logical for agile businesses.
“[I]f your thinking is more web-centric, you natively understand how fluid data applications can be, and when the network is properly architected, so much more is possible,” Arnold wrote. “Certainly, you can create a richer, dynamic environment to make your communications applications more interactive, more real-time, more life-like and ultimately more productive. That’s an easy box to check.”
How CEBP improves efficiency
A Cisco report on communications enabled business transformation (CEBT), the implementation process of CEBP, explained that moving to more integrated workflows can simplify business processes, directly benefit overall profitability and boost competitive advantage by removing latencies at a number of levels. Specifically, CEBT can lead to cost reductions and enable better employee productivity.
“From a business perspective, CEBT’s business-first approach, as opposed to technology-first approach, toward solving business problems provides a quantifiable way to measure and demonstrate the business value effect within an organization, the report’s authors wrote”. From a technology perspective, CEBT is a cloud-based platform enabling the flexible consumption of communication and collaboration services to accelerate a business process flow.”
Among the latencies that can be reduced through business process improvement are data latency, insight latency, decision latency and action latency, the report noted. Data latency stems from employees needing time to access information – a customer record in a call center, for instance. Insight latency is a lag in the process of understanding business data, while decision latency is a delay incurred as tasks move among business units. Action latency arises between a decision and implementation.
Through a reorganization of communication processes to provide more notifications and an overhaul of technology to build more data into each interaction, businesses can mitigate these latencies. For instance, data latencies can be overcome through integration between UC systems and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, while action latencies might be handled through automated notifications following certain business events.
To achieve these gains, planning is critical, the report noted. By enlisting IT consulting services, organizations can begin to rethink both layers of their processes and better understand the CEBT business value effect.