Feature Spotlight: What is BPM, and What Does it Mean for Unified Commerce?

Feature Spotlight: What is BPM, and What Does it Mean for Unified Commerce?

Feature Spotlight: What is BPM, and What Does it Mean for Unified Commerce?

This post was recently updated. Originally published on December 17, 2019.

Kibo Unified Commerce platform, with a microservices framework, offers commerce and store operations professionals a wide array of tools to get their work done more quickly and efficiently. This is an eCommerce solution complete with a drag-and-drop site builder, intelligent distributed order routing, AI-powered personalization, in-store solutions for sales and fulfillment associates, and more.

By bringing these best-in-class solutions together, Kibo enables a unified approach to commerce that empowers commerce teams to curate seamless shopping experiences for their customers.

In this feature spotlight, we’re going to take a close look at our user-friendly Business Process Management (BPM) engine. Built at the core of our cloud platform, the BPM engine allows retailers and brands to easily configure and automate service-specific workflows in a matter of clicks. Through its graphic interface, you can model specific use cases by outlining processes step-by-step into a flow chart. This makes it easier for business users to model, monitor, and optimize processes.

What is BPM?

BPM, or Business Process Management, is the practice of modeling ways of working to create more efficient processes and working practices. It can be applied to any type of work, as long as there is a repeatable, replicable process involved. It involves breaking down tasks to their smallest, simplest steps to discover the most efficient ways of doing them.

An easy way to visualize what BPM means in practice is to think of an assembly line in a car factory: Each step can be modeled, analyzed, and assessed, so as to better understand the most efficient workflow for building a car.

But BPM is applicable to any business practice, not just manufacturing.

For retailers, order management and fulfillment processes contain multiple, variable stages. As every business is unique, your workflow will look very different from other retailers, so the ability to easily customize, add, edit, and remove steps is crucial.

Example of a fulfillment process workflow

What is a BPM engine?

Built at the core of our cloud platform, the BPM engine allows retailers and brands to easily configure and automate service-specific workflows with a few clicks.

Our BPM engine gives you the tools to change fulfillment procedures quickly and simply. Anyone in your organization can customize the Kibo Order Management solution to fit your brand’s needs through an intuitive graphical interface, removing the need for coding changes.

Kibo’s BPM offering provides a way to add steps to your eCommerce workflow without having to code the changes. You can set up pop-ups to notify customers that their item is ready for collection, or, if you’re a more bespoke retailer, you can add unique steps to your system, all through one graphical interface.

There’s no such thing as a simple, linear, or universal customer journey. Customers have different habits and preferences, and retailers have different experiences they want to provide. Even the most comprehensive, well-thought-out order management solution is going to be missing workflows to meet unique or rare use cases. That’s where our BPM engine comes in. It allows you to account for customer behavior and deliver differentiated experiences that are true to your brand.

As Kibo is a headless, cloud-based ecommerce solution, our BPM engine can integrate with multiple applications through our API, again reducing the need for coding and developer headaches.

What can retailers do with a BPM engine?

Today, the trend is towards integration of BPM and other automation-focused disciplines like Hyperautomation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) as the drive to introduce bots, AI, and machine learning into transaction processes intensifies.

Kibo Unified Commerce Platform is well placed to handle this shift as it’s built on machine-learning technology that learns from customer behavior, finding more intelligent ways to automate as you scale your business.

The Business Process Management engine at the core of Kibo Unified Commerce Cloud platform is designed with the business user in mind. It fulfills the daily needs of eCommerce, store operations, order fulfillment, and supply chain and logistics managers, as they model, test, and optimize the order and fulfillment processes for their organizations.

Custom alerts and notifications

The variety of delivery options in omnichannel retail means that communication and a high degree of flexibility are critical to maintaining customer engagement.

From the mundane to the unexpected, you want to keep your customers aware of the status of their order from the moment they click “Buy.” Our BPM lets you trigger text or email notifications – or notify a sales associate to make a phone call – at any point in the customer journey. This can be crucial in out-of-stock scenarios or when there’s a shipping delay on an in-store pickup order.

For example, a customer orders a refrigerator online for delivery in 14 days. A few days later the item becomes available in a nearby store. An automated alert is sent to the customer, letting them know of its early availability and giving them the option of picking the refrigerator up in-store by replying to the message. When they’ve selected their preferred option, they receive a text notification letting them know it’s ready for pickup.

Going a step further, the text might read, “To speed up pickup, reply to this message with the word ‘here’ when you arrive.” When the customer replies, a store associate is notified via mPOS or other device, and they know to wheel the refrigerator to the front of the store for pickup.

White glove fulfillment

There are countless little extras and value adds that retailers can deliver to their customers in the process of fulfilling an order, but without a way to codify those add-ons into the standard operating procedure, it’s difficult to deliver them at scale. Our order management BPM alleviates this by allowing you to easily add these add-ons as steps in the standard fulfillment workflow.

A watch retailer, for example, can add a step to the order fulfillment workflow to make sure that a watch scheduled for delivery is set to its destination’s time zone before it ships. Alternatively, stores selling BBQ grills can add steps to a home delivery workflow to ensure that the delivery truck is stocked with complimentary accessories that can be upsold during delivery.

Without a user-friendly BPM engine, these workflow steps would need to be manually coded into the order management system. That means technical teams (and more time) are required to set them up initially, and changes are more difficult to make down the road. With the Kibo Unified Commerce platform, you can design, test, and edit these workflows yourself.

Expect the unexpected

With our BPM engine, you can anticipate the unexpected by building workflows that account for the unique exceptions that are common to your business. You can identify common choke points or breakpoints in your order fulfillment process and design contingency workflows that mitigate their downstream effects. Because the graphical UI can be used by anyone, it’s less burdensome to test and iterate these workflows, so each time the unexpected occurs, you’re more prepared.

Clicks. Not Code.

Our focus at Kibo is to create commerce solutions that are designed with the user in mind. Our flexible and intuitive BPM engine allows you and your teams to make changes quickly, allowing you to tweak your processes to optimize sales and inventory while you scale.

Our “clicks, not code” philosophy is about empowering commerce teams to perform at their highest level, have greater control over their operations, and to do more in less time.

Want to learn more about Kibo Unified Commerce platform? Contact a Kibo sales rep for more information about our scalable solutions for eCommerce, order management, and personalization for retailers, manufacturers, and brands.

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