Because when it comes to reengineering business processes, you just can’t put lipstick on a pig.
When it comes to it, many of us still think in an analogue way – we just can’t help it. Take my world – the one of process management. We all recognize the benefits of "expenses on the go". So how to go about taking an existing process and putting it on the tablet?
On the face of it, what could be simpler: You’ve already defined the process map currently used by hundreds of satisfied desktop users. Everyone is happy with the interplay between the participants and actions needed to take each claim smoothly to it conclusion. And, because we’re doing this for mobile, you know you must add a little wizardry to ensure the process looks good on different devices and screen sizes. Job done – right?
Not so fast! In fact, this approach is the single biggest mistake providers make when taking an established process mobile. Why? Because it assumes that mobile users behave in the same way that desktop users do, which as we know, is far from the truth. And in doing so, you not only risk launching a process that has the opposite effect of what you want e.g. greater productivity – you’re missing out on a goldmine of mobile-driven opportunities too.
Let me illustrate with a real-life case scenario. Prince Sultan Military Medical City (PSMMC), a leading hospital in Saudi Arabia, had a pressing need to deliver better customer care. So instead of approaching the problem from the traditional business process management perspective, (which, as you would imagine, focuses on business and process), the objective of the initiative became care process management instead. This meant that core hospital processes were to be optimized and accessible through mobiles.
By carefully mapping the hospital’s user journeys – literally, following the footsteps of people in white coats – we created a mobile-first process that not only enabled doctors to access patients’ notes on the go (leading to faster and efficient care) but allowed them to issue prescriptions a couple of steps earlier in the process. (On the ‘non-mobile’ version, updating the central system with patient information could only happen once the doctor was back at their PC).
Getting "process-mobile" as described above does need careful thought; but it’s not all hard going. Taking advantage of apps and devices’ native capabilities can both serve to optimize those magical touch points between process and function. For example, our healthcare customer needed to access information held in boys’ growth charts. Instead of painstakingly working the data into the process, we simply dropped a ready-made app into the build, saving hours of development time and effort.
And the final piece of the puzzle? Data. The beauty of the mobile process is that consultants are completely oblivious to the fact that what they see on a tiny mobile screen has to be pulled and reconciled with remote data sources.
So in summary, my experience for optimizing the mobile "happy path" can be captured in 5 key points:
1) Don’t shrink, rethink: While there is no magic number, users should instantly recognize that each touch or swipe takes them closer to their end goal. Look for unnecessary layers and remove them; see if tables, forms and buttons can be simplified.
2) Incorporate navigational cues: Have you included a button that links to the start screen? Do your labels make sense – or do they scream ‘marketese’? Can you reduce call-to-action labels to three, two, or even one per step?
3) Maximize native functions: Image and signature capture are both simple yet highly effective ways to streamline processes that are simply out of bounds for PC users.
4) Incorporate apps: They’re quick, easy, and can cut development time in half. In our expenses claim example, adding a calendar, currency converter and mileage calculator are no-brainers.
5) Get your (data) in order: A delighted customer doesn’t see any disruption when completing a transaction. So whether you’re linking with ECM (for documents), ERP (to update transactions) or CRM (for customer interactions) it’s essential that every link takes place as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Data virtualization and / or replication can link up all the necessary data in the loosest of couplings, making processes changes easy and flexible without the ‘hard coded’ bonds of the past.
In conclusion: redesigning processes from a mobile perspective is a skilled job requiring thought, time and vision. But by thinking about processes from the perspective of the mobile users that we all are, we will ultimately be on the right road.
I hope this has piqued your interest enough to read our complimentary white paper: You Can’t Put Lipstick on a Pig that covers in more detail the challenges, opportunities and best practice for developing an optimal mobile strategy.