The driver to adopt Idea Management comes from two primary directions. One is the desire to tap into your community for more and better ideas. The other is to extend existing (or new) business processes to get more input and interaction from a broader audience. Usually, people are coming from one or the other perspective. Let’s look at it.
I had conversations with two customers last week coming from the two perspectives. One is a global business software company. They had tried to engage their customers for change requests (new features) via their web site, but, had limited success. They wanted a better way to get more ideas and engage better. The other is a global telecommunications company. They have existing internal business processes. They want to use Idea Management to extend those processes to a broader audience to get more input, interactivity, and transparency.
The most general distinction between these scenarios is that the first is focused on external customers whereas the second is on their internal workforce. With this simple distinction, you will often start to uncover your driver. But, lets look a little deeper.
Let’s face it, there is hype around anything social. The urge of many is to just go get some of those ideas and show that they want to engage. It is well placed. This outreach objective can be an end in itself. The interactivity, engagement, and visibility amongst the community is indeed an end in itself. You can succeed by becoming an enabler for your community to interact.
On the other hand there is the driver for better processes. These generally start with an internal objective. You are trying to achieve a result such as a new product, process improvement, better RFP’s, smooth change management, uncovering new markets. Then, you lay out your process – typically a workstream from idea to review and management to downstream activities to make it real. Here you are leveraging idea management as the means to engage with those people that you want engaged in the business process.
In sum, what is Idea Management bringing to your business:
- With Ideation as the objective, it is bringing a brand new way of adding value via your community. This is a new innovation.
- With the business process objective, it is typically making existing processes better and somewhat reinventing many business processes.
CorasWorks Idea Management addresses both of these drivers. Our ideation feature set is very robust and evolving quickly with our new releases. A key is our ability to support many different scenarios on the front side with relevant feature sets vs. a one size fits all approach. However, amongst competitive products in the space we are unusually or even uniquely strong on the end-to-end business process side. This is because our business has been built up around applications first. In addition, we take a platform approach with CorasWorks on SharePoint. Thus, you can lay out your end-to-end business process knowing that you have pre-integration with supporting and downstream applications/sites across your SharePoint environment. We go a step further with an integration framework to also integrate external information sources, applications, and services.
So, where do we come from? If we have to choose we are in the business process camp. Our focus is on helping customers achieve the business outcome –the results through the end-to-end process. And, via Cim to allow them to lay in new processes for different business scenarios.
In sum, we are seeing Idea Management as a broad driver of innovation. It is getting people managing existing processes to think outside of the box. These legacy processes simply get more effective at producing better results. And, it is creating a new process, lets call it Ideation, of engagement that is becoming an end in itself.