In the current operating environment, organisations need to improve the efficiency of business processes and provide better services and innovative products to customers through both established and emerging channels to ensure competitive advantage in the marketplace, says the global analyst firm, Ovum.
In a new report*, the global analysts reveals that IT is under pressure to combine existing resources and infrastructure with emerging technologies to deliver the desired functionality in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner. Communications enablement can reduce the latency associated with human involvement in business processes and provide many benefits such as more efficient resource utilisation, faster time-to-value, and more effective collaboration, both within and between enterprises.
"The rapid proliferation of mobility solutions is creating complex integration issues that need new solutions. Lightweight mobile middleware is gaining ground as a suitable approach for integration of mobility solutions with enterprise IT systems and business process," explains Saurabh Sharma, senior analyst at Ovum and author of the report. "Mobility will drive demand for communications-enabled business process (CEBP) development, to enable person-to-person interactions, as well as application/business process-to-person and person-to-application/business process interactions."
Many CEBP development platforms are highly proprietary and do not provide all the necessary tools and interfaces to ease the complexity of communications and business process integration. Customisation work done by system integrators (SIs) to enable the integration of communications services with specific business processes adds to the total cost of ownership (TCO) of unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions and, for this reason, is not a sustainable approach in the long run.
Sharma adds: "CEBP development should not be approached as a one-off project. Instead, organizations should develop a strategy and roadmap, and prioritize business processes for communications enablement based on their business value. Organizations should focus on leveraging existing integration architecture for the development of CEBPs and to enable integration between disparate applications; service-oriented architecture (SOA) and event-driven architecture (EDA) are architectural prerequisites for CEBPs."
CEBP development platforms offered by different UCC vendors vary in terms of approach to communications enablement of business processes and applications. UCC vendors such as Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent are offering open standards based APIs and SDKs for the development of CEBPs. Other vendors such as IBM and Microsoft are using their UCC suites to add communications functionality to business processes and applications. A few vendors (such as IBM and Software AG) facilitate communications and business process integration via their business process management (BPM) suites. Then there are CEBP solutions that cater for specific requirements such as interactive voice response (IVR), automated call distribution (ACD), closed-loop notification services, and workload management.
* Achieving the True Business Value of Communications-Enabled Business Processes