So much of the interaction with customers, suppliers and other partners is mundane and functional. Automation of this will leave employees with more time to focus on activities that deliver value for your organization and its partners. Continuing with out-of-date manual processes creates structural waste within an organization as staff are busy with non-value creating activities.
By using technology to change processes human resources can be more effectively redistributed while increasing customer service and business value. SharePoint Extranets can harness the resources of your partners by their staff using self-service online processes as a replacement for your own staff’s manual processes.
Get closer to your customers
You may think that putting technology between your customers and your employees would push them further apart, but when customers are performing mundane interactions they don’t want and shouldn’t need, direct contact with your employees. The customer just wants X to happen. By removing your human resource from these interactions you give your staff more time to interact with your customer on those things that matter; problem resolution, up-selling services and products, planning for customers future needs, liaison at different levels within the customer organization. These are the activities that create value from human interaction for both your customer and your business. Freeing up employee time is the crucial step to getting closer to customers without increasing head-count.
Increase efficiencies with self-service
From performing bank transactions to scanning your own shopping at the till modern society has become comfortable with self-service. It helps us by giving us convenience, less waiting time and usually enables us to do more quicker. For the organizations providing the self-service functionality the efficiencies can be dramatic, new processes powered by machines and not humans save a lot of money. Extranets can be the framework for your organization's set of self-service processes. Customers ordering, paying, searching for products, downloading information, obtaining help and assistance, can all be facilitated. Suppliers scheduling deliveries, supplying documentation, updating project plans, providing technical data, sending invoices, for example, can all be included in an extranet.
Build new revenue opportunities
Extranet's can help you build revenue opportunities through enabling the opening up of other markets and extending your offering to customers. Regions or markets that were not economic to service with the old, human intensive processes can now be opened up with automated extranet-based processes that have lower operational costs. Extending your product and service set, especially through third-party fulfillment can be difficult to make profitable if it relies on human intensive management processes. Bring your customer and supplier transaction costs right down and the small margin that you can make on these transactions can contribute net profits to the bottom line. By opening up these marginal markets and products with extranet technology your business can continue to deliver growth and profitable expansion.