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BPI Requirements of Process Customers – Focus Phase

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI Requirements of Process Customers – Focus Phase

BPI Requirements of Process Customers - Focus Phase.png


  • A confirmation of process customers’ needs with respect to ‘how’ selected processes in a Focus Area are performed. This deliverable validates that the performance-level objectives for each process reflect the true needs of the direct ‘customers’ of that process. (These customers may be internal or external to the organization, depending on the process being redesigned.)    

Client Value

  • This deliverable serves as a ‘reality check’ to validate the Critical Success Factors and confirms that the redesign efforts within each of the Focus Areas reflect the actual needs of their specific process-customers. This input ensures that redesign efforts are centred primarily on process customer requirements.        
  • Without this validation, the BPI team cannot ensure that the processes that they are designing will satisfy the requirements of process customers, and thus affects the ability of the organization to achieve its (Confirmed) Business Vision.


To determine if a process is producing the quality products or services demanded by its customers, the output of the pro­cess must be measured relative to the customer’s expectations. Customer views of the process can be ob­tained through interviews, focus groups, etc.
  1. Determine the best approach to evaluation and analysis (i.e. information required, data collection method, presentation format) (Customer Profiling)   
  2. Determine customer groupings   
    1. External customer groups chosen may include any of the following:
      1. Direct users of goods and services (the most common kind of customer).
      2. Marketing channel partners (retailers, agents, brokers, and dealers).
      3. Service partners who market their own goods and services in combination with those of the organization.
      4. Key stakeholders (regulators, consultants, and others who have an influence over the mar­ket).       
    2. ‘Internal customers’ (i.e. those individuals inside an organization who utilize the output of steps within business processes) are typically the primary customers when ‘support’ processes (versus core’ processes) are being redesigned.
    3. Representatives from internal units having direct daily communication with end-customers (e.g.. sales, customer service and after-sales servicing staff) may also be excellent sources of information when validating the requirements of external process customers.
  3. Schedule and conduct interviews and/or focus groups
Example: structure for customer focus groups and interviews
structure for customer focus groups and interviews.png
  1. Synthesize results
    1. Pertinent factors for customer assessments include:   
      1. Customer satisfaction level and perception by process output or characteristic
      2. Customer expectations of process output or characteristic
      3. Customer requirements of the process
      4. Customer definition of value in regard to the process
      5. Gap analysis of customer satisfaction versus expectations
      6. Internal process characteristics compared to similar process in other organizations.
  2. Review results with senior management



  • Management may be     uncomfortable with the need to talk to and/or meet with customers     (claiming, for example, that they already know what their customers want). The consultant should reinforce the critical requirement for direct external input to provide a real-world flavour to the process. If direct access to customers is not feasible, the team members may identify other sources of informa­tion already in-house, such as customer surveys, complaint logs, interviews, etc.
  • Direct all team members not to let biases influence them nor to let current day-to-day business remain the focus. The ultimate aim is to obtain the customer’s perspective regarding trends in the coming five years and to find ways to improve the link between the organization’s value chain (see also Holistic Business Model) and the customer’s own value chain.    
  • It is often assumed that the external customer’s needs and expectations are well-known. Let the customers tell you their requirements in their own words. If not done properly, this can result in incorrect expectations with the ultimate result that inap­propriate measures will be     developed for redesigned processes.

Tactics/Helpful Hints

  • Assessing customer needs by illustrating the gap between current performance and customer expectations is a change management tactic to increase management’s ‘pain level’ or awareness about the current situation. This task can also be very effective when only ‘internal’ customers are present, especially when comparisons are made to external organiza­tions providing the same service or product on a fee basis.
  • If possible, allow consultants and team members to experience parts of the pro­cess di­rectly through ‘behind the counter’ sessions. This may include directly observing process ac­tivities (e.g. a sales call), taking on a job in the process for a brief period, or otherwise observing the process firsthand. This can be particularly beneficial for team mem­bers who have little contact with parts of the process or with customers, and need to get a first-hand view of the customer interface.


  • If useful, hire experts in customer research to ensure quality output. This is all the more important for constituency-type customers such as government services (health, education, welfare, etc.) where there are political ramifications of ‘customer research’.

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