What is Back Office Workforce Optimization?

by Tim Taylor

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A question I’m often asked so I thought of an analogy.

An Electricity grid has a control system to manage the availability of power from the generation plants and distribution networks to meet real-time, historic, predicted and unpredicted peaks in consumer demand.

Electricity needs to be supplied to consumers, manufactures and other organisations exactly when and where it is required from hospitals to phone charges. Advert breaks on TV, during soaps and cup finals are renowned for surges in power requests. The control system enables power to be supplied to meet this peak in demand, helping operators optimize the grid balancing generation with consumption.

Add to this the needs of regulators you can appreciate how important the control system is to the service levels, cost and reputation of the provider – sound familiar?

Now think of your back office…

Back Office Optimisation Software (the control system if you like) provides you with real-time, historic and predictive Management Information to ensure effective management and allocation of work, people and processes to meet varying levels of demand.

During the busier periods – predicted or unpredicted – for example following regulatory changes, marketing campaigns, cash ISA season, end of month, annual billing periods or financial / tax year ends, resources or work can be allocated to where it is needed most.

I know it is a rather contrasting analogy but think of the power generation plants as the back office teams, the distribution network as the multiple channels, the power demand as the volume of work and the customers as, well customers, it does work. Add into the mix regulators, service levels and having the ability to balance work with resources and capacity optimization is certainly the key to the back office.

As someone commented to me recently, “regardless of how good the front office is, customer perception is shaped by what comes after their initial transaction” – helps illustrate why optimizing the back office workforce is so important to maintain and improve customer satisfaction and reduce customer attrition.

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