Does Microsoft Office 365™ & Microsoft Lync® fit in the BPM Story?

Business Process Management (BPM) focuses on process automation and improvement. It provides a way for organizations to apply business rules to tasks to accomplish work as productively as possible, all while adding visibility and flexibility for continuous improvement. A term used in the BPM industry is, ‘The integration of people, process and technology’. BPM was born from advancing the technologies developed in the earlier days of workflow and document management. So as the technology advanced, we learned lessons along the way of how we could better utilize these technologies, how we could better align the human element with the technology and then begin to do predictive analytics to drive continuous improvement. We are now able to use process mapping tools and run ‘what if’ scenarios to prove our improvement theories, apply sophisticated business rules to processes and reduce costs within an organization. We can now deliver only the necessary content to the correct person/people at the right time and allow, in many cases, the technology to drive the process.

In recent years, the inclusions of ‘collaboration and social’ became imperative in the BPM industry. These requirements came about primarily when organizations needed a way to better incorporate ad hoc processes as part of the overall. Within the context of workflow or BPM, ad hoc signified something that needed to be handled by people, for someone to intervene where decisions were not cut and dried and automation was not always viable to satisfy the requirement. In short, it simply fell outside the norm.

I would suggest that at the heart of any ad hoc process, remains the requirement for real time communication and collaborating. And that any efficient and effective organization, as good as automation has become, still needs the human factor to achieve their best results.

I would further suggest that Microsoft O365 & Microsoft Lync provides the capability of presence, IM, content sharing, conferencing and voice that ensures this real time communication and collaboration. O365 & Lync can enhance any process and help organizations reach their optimum effectiveness and efficiency, achieving better profitability.

 

Ken Rinehimer

Business Development Manager — Mid-Atlantic – NY Metro – Northeast

KRinehimer@conquest247.com

 

May 2014

 

 

 

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“Teleworker,” “virtual worker,” “remote worker,” or “telecommuter,” The Landscape Is Progressing

Whether you prefer “teleworker,” “virtual worker,” “remote worker,” or “telecommuter,” each of these terms is likely understood to describe an employee (or contractor) who does not travel to a central office or work place. Instead, it is generally understood that a telecommuter may work from a personal or remote workspace outside of the office. A teleworker in the previous decade or two may have a work environment similar to this:

  • Works from his or her home office
  • Uses a company issued laptop, software, and mobile phone
  • Uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) client to connect back to the company servers and files
  • Email is likely the primary mode of communication with other colleagues throughout the day
  • May utilize public instant messaging service like MSN Messenger, Skype, etc. for IM communications

While it’s clear that telecommuting is by no means a new concept, the technologies available today are greatly improving the experience and benefits for companies and individuals alike. Today’s teleworker is not limited to working from a home office. The advent of, and virtually pervasive access to technologies has empowered individuals to not only work outside the office but do so transparently, and often times with high efficiency. Here are a few key technologies that have played a part in empowering teleworkers in recent times:

Pervasive broadband Internet access – Not only do employees have the ability to work from home, but also a coffee shop, hotel room, airport terminal, or almost anywhere there is Internet access. This leads to increased flexibility and availability to get tasks done and communicate with colleagues and clients. Gone are the days when a trip to an out of town conference means an employee will be unavailable the whole time.

Increasingly capable computing platforms – Compared to their predecessors from decades ago, today’s computing platforms, smartphones and tablets included, offer powerful and user friendly tools that empower people to communicate and be productive. With a lot of companies now supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies for computers, smartphones, and other devices, this allows the individual to use devices they are comfortable with and may already own.

High speed mobile data networks – Although the computing power is present in mobile devices and tablets, improved high speed mobile data networks allow individuals to connect and collaborate even when a Wi-Fi connection is not available.

User focused designs – With increasing accessibility to technology, companies are designing applications with more consistent and familiar experiences that greatly improve adoption and productivity in both consumer and enterprise scenarios.

Cloud Services – Cloud based services such as Microsoft Office 365 reduce the required infrastructure footprint for businesses and provides teleworkers easy and familiar access to information and applications.

Unified Communications (UC) – In the past, employees may have been accustomed to communications silos. They may pick up a cell phone or desk phone to make a phone call, use a third party service to host a web conference, use a public instant messaging service to have a chat conversation, and possibly book a conference room with expensive and complex video conferencing equipment. Modern UC platforms like Microsoft Lync Server 2013 aim to consolidate the communications silos and give users a consistent experience across communication types (voice, video, IM, conferencing, etc.) and all their devices (desk phone, computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.). This enhances productivity as it gives employees access to information AND people.

Although studies have shown that telecommuting has been on the rise, it is not a silver bullet. Earlier this year, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer required that all remote workers would have to begin reporting to Yahoo offices. While telecommuting shows significant benefits for employees and employers, it is highly reliant on the company culture, job roles, legal environment, and other business factors. Despite this, it is clear that technology is empowering the modern teleworker to work more effectively than they were capable of in the past; regardless of where they work from.

 

Marc Wynter

Lead UC Architect

ConQuest Technology Services

mwynter@conquest247.com

 

May 1, 2014