The Personal Process Management concept describes the “birth to death” processes that are common to us all. Whilst these processes may occur infrequently in a person’s lifetime (acquisition of property/vehicle, application for employment, marriage/divorce), they are typically complex and time consuming. Due to the high importance individuals place on these long term transactions and the demand for their easy consumption via web 2.0 services, there are now multiple opportunities for the engagement of service providers to support these processes (Finance/Insurance/Govt).
In an effort to visualise the potential for the automation of a process on the birth-to-death value chain via a web service or mobile device, the “purchasing a property” transaction is represented in the below value chain.
The scope for our automation piece is to “deliver an innovative, portable (web/mobile/media device based) application designed to assist with the purchase of a residential dwelling. With each process step, opportunities for commercial engagement of service providers will be supported where possible by automated emerging technologies”.
Some Process Drivers
Use the concept of a single sign on -”user profile for life” providing data portability between social networking sites – facebook/myspace/twitter
Enhance this profile further through property related questions such as User demographics/Price range/Location/Property characteristics
Proximity to work/schools/hospitals/public transport – how far is the Purchaser prepared to travel?
If the Purchaser has children – “Do you prefer public/private schools?”
Public transport – “Do you prefer bus/train/ferry?”
Sports/hobbies/recreation – location & distance from properties
Importance of proximity to theatres/movies/restaurants
Lifestyle questions are asked to assist with property selection –
* Property and lifestyle questions can be weighted for importance – a 5th bedroom may be more important than a pool or proximity to transport.
Several opportunities and issues were then identified whilst discussing these process drivers, and were grouped into three distinct categories –
1. Social Drivers
Target demographic – who is most likely to use this app?
Baby Boomers/Gen X, Y or I?
How to market?
Application will be of most interest to Real Estate Vendors/Financiers/mobile app developers
2. Technical Challenges
Application complexity and user interface/functionality
Single sign-on & application interactions – Facebook/Vendor web sites
3. Commercial Opportunities
Partnership with service providers
Real Estate Agents
A quick SWOT analysis was then undertaken to assist us in recognising our objectives and risks:
Use of web 2.0 and emerging technologies
Foundation for other “life process” models
Widespread use of technology platform (TV/Media devices/Mobile)
Initial recognition of purpose
Commercial gain from strategic partnerships
Technology evolution & market creation
Data privacy & security
Competitors with value add services
From this review, we then developed some “off the cuff” innovation ideas –
Use of Social Networking sites to involve/advise the Purchaser’s network.
Mashups of Google Earth/Maps/Streetview/videos to support property shortlisting.
Use of OpenID or similar to auto populate Purchaser profile details in initial form.
Leverage functionality of property websites for property searches; shortlists & saved shortlists.
Preferred supplier concept similar to eBay where feedback is used to rate top 10 vendors in geographic proximity
Property type/location etc suggested based upon Purchaser demographic.
Ability to save shortlist of properties for future reference.
Automated quotation process where Vendors “bid” for work & Purchaser selects best quote – reverse auction.
– Utility providers etc
After all this review, analysis and discussion we could finally develop our BPMN process overview model:
At a conceptual level, the six individual process steps are as follows:
Create an online profile to provide standard demographic details
User then specifies
1 – INITIAL CONTACT
– location preferences
In addition extra “lifestyle” requirements are recorded
– Property value range $
– Property features –> # of bedrooms/bathrooms/features reqd
– Proximity to work/schools/hospitals/transport
User profile then assessed by online Real Estate databases
Profile matched against social infrastructure/council/transport sites
– Recreation details – sports/hobbies
– Entertainment/what’s on – theatre/movies/restaurants
– “How far are you prepared to travel”
* This mashup is returned to the Purchaser as a property shortlist combining data from numerous sites
2 – PRE-APPROVAL
Purchaser details and saved shortlisted property details are forwarded to Financiers.
Financier completes initial assessments and determines finance limits
Financier updates shortlist with indicative loan amount & advises Purchaser
* This step is automated & handled via email – triggered by Purchaser action & focused on a quick turnaround.
3 – View Property
The Purchaser may view the property either online or in person
Online is supported by Google maps/street view & property virtual tours.
On site – potential to record images & comments via mobile/laptop to saved search list for future reference.
* The ability to create & retain a digital artefact will aid the selection process & is valuable for future reference.
4 – Contract
Purchaser signs Contract dependant upon Finance and building and pest approval
Using information retained in the property shortlist, local service providers are contacted to provide quotes for
– Building & pest inspection
Digital property artefact updated with these details
– Utility connections etc
* Concept of reverse auction where Vendors bid for the work required. Could also be ranked based on customer feedback – eBay style
5 – Finance
Contract sent to Financier for finance approval with an electronic copy of property details.
Details of finance agreement “attached” to digital property artefact.
* Improved transparency of Finance steps and retention of loan agreement documents.
6 – Handover
Handover of property organised between Financier’s and Solicitors
This date is also a trigger for previously engaged service providers
– Utility companies
* All process steps are now recorded and retained for future reference
Now, the next challenge is to develop a prototype gui for the web/media devices/mobile phones along the lines of iTunes Cover Flow or similar, and then market this application in an ever expanding range of mobile applications.