2013 New Year’s Resolution – Implement Mobile Business Process Management (BPM)

As the big hand joins the small hand at midnight, the ball drops and comes to a rest, and the colorful paper confetti rains down from the colossal skyscrapers in New York City, 2013 is finally here! So for the next couple of months, I will painstakingly try to break last year’s habit of writing 2012 in the upper right-hand corner on the date line of this year’s 2013 checks …

… Hey, wait one moment … Like I stated, 2013 is here!!! Do I even write checks anymore?! … Do you?

When I look toward 2013, reflect on writing checks (in the old days), and think about the future landscape of BPM, it becomes crystal clear that now is the time to set the old days aside in BPM, and that means its time to think about implementing your Mobile BPM solution. In fact, Mobile Business Process Management solutions are the most critical BPM initiatives that must be implemented in 2013 to gain your company’s competitive edge.

Your Recent Online Order Will Be Delivered On…

These past couple of months of gift shopping should do nothing but reinforce the absolute need to enable the use of mobile technology (for all of those new smartphones and tablets) within your unique business processes.

Let’s take a look at a common online ordering process.

By now, we know the drill to make an online purchase:

  1. Locate our item(s),
  2. Place our item(s) in a “shopping cart”,
  3. Use our credit card, our debit card, or a “PayPal” type of service to exchange money for goods and/or services, and
  4. Click the button to place our order.

Increasingly, we’re utilizing our smartphones or tablets to place these web-based orders.

According to Gartner, by 2014, over 3 billion of the world’s adult population will be able to transact electronically via mobile or Internet technology. Emerging economies will see rapidly rising mobile and Internet adoption through 2014. At the same time, advances in mobile payment, commerce and banking are making it easier to electronically transact via mobile or PC Internet. Combining these two trends creates a situation in which a significant majority of the world’s adult population will be able to electronically transact by 2014. (

These transactions, which can be executed via clicks of only a few buttons and most importantly at our leisure, enable us to avoid traffic and long lines, save us time, and enable us to focus our energy on other important “to-do” items or tasks.

Getting back to the order placement process itself, the merchant receives our order, initiates their internal initial processes and in turn notifies us that it was indeed a successful exchange and order placement.

The order fulfillment and shipping processes are initiated!

And finally, I will receive yet another alert or email with a tracking number enabling me to track my purchases via the same mobile phone and tablet with which I initiated my process. No check, no laptop, and I can check the order status anywhere and at anytime!

Of course, we could do all of the above with a laptop or even (shudder) a desktop computer, but it would be a lot easier if we could do all of that via a mobile phone, wouldn’t it? Mobile BPM can make that possible here in 2013!

Five Advantages for Mobile Business Process Management (there are many, many more)

The advantages and benefits of mobile BPM are manifold. Most importantly, mobile technology enables companies to optimize, streamline and improve upon processes – no matter where process participants are physically – in the field, in the office, in transit, wherever – you take the process, the tasks, the key performance indicators and the data with you, making them extremely portable, thus accelerating operational execution for your company.

As Joseph C. Formichelli said best “My place of work is simply where I am”.

Let’s look at those fives advantages now:

  1. End-User Experience. As with any BPM solution, end-user adoption is essential. What better way to encourage the adoption of a BPM implementation than by giving the user the interface that he/she both expects and is familiar with on a mobile device? A social interface on a mobile device is extremely familiar to much of the world’s population – with its simplicity, ease of use, and familiarity; the use of a similar interface for completing a task, looking at comments or checking reports on a mobile device will help improve the end-user experience and help make the adoption of your BPM solution successful.
  2. On-Demand Access to Process. Removing the dependency of a workstation/laptop is crucial to process participation. As with the examples above, we demand access to our processes anywhere – if we are attending a conference and need to check-in to see where are process’s lifecycle is, we turn on our mobile and view the process and make that business decision.
  3. Real-Time Information/Data. Again, as we continue to remove dependencies of being physically in the office, we can have access to information/data anywhere. We can view those end-of-month reports and make informed decisions now as opposed to having to head back to the office, increasing our efficiency. We can view those images that were uploaded to the process to – for example – confirm a shipment, check inventory, or look at an inspection of a restaurant. Leveraging mobile functionality within a business process gives us the data points that we need at a moment’s notice to efficiently make business decisions that make sense for our businesses.
  4. Eliminating Process Bottlenecks. How often are we waiting on an individual to do something in a process? This wait time impacts cycle times, costs, and profitability, and it can also be frustrating for process participants. One of the ways in which we can ameliorate this issue is to integrate mobile with our BPM solutions, enabling process participation from anywhere. All involved in a process would have access to their tasks and all that is needed to get the job done, thus eliminating those bottlenecks, reducing costs, and increasing profitability.
  5. Process Acceleration! Process acceleration is woven throughout the article and in the steps above, as mobile technology is improving the way we live as individuals as well as the ways in which our companies operate on a day-to-day basis. Taking advantage of mobile functionality and Mobile BPM now will only accelerate this process and make our business processes more efficient, thus driving increased operational excellence.

By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. According to Gartner’s PC installed base forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013. By 2013, the combined installed base of smart phones and browser-equipped enhanced phones will exceed 1.82 billion units and will be greater than the installed base for PCs thereafter. (

So throw away your paper-based atlas, your camera, your flashlight, and maybe even your watch (unless you’re Flava Flav), because you have all of that in your mobile device! Of course, many of us will choose to keep those extra devices, but the point is that you don’t have to carry those around if you don’t want to… Similarly, you shouldn’t have to carry your laptop around; you can use your smartphone to do business today, and you want your end users and customers to have that same luxury. Implement Mobile BPM today and give them those same opportunities, improving your profitability in the process!

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