- Christmas shopping is a pain; something in your life should be easy and stress free.
- Eliminate process bottlenecks - Think about how much nicer it would be if you didn't spend half your day waiting on someone else to complete a task or deliver something.
- With all the extra time in your day, think of how many more Christmas cookies you could bake!!
- Save yourself the headache of manual, paper-based processes... (You're going to need that energy for the in-laws.)
- With all the paper you'll save from your old processes, craft cute holiday cards!
- The elves have worked so hard to create electronic automated forms for you; the least you can do is make them feel loved and needed.
- Process Automation connects disparate systems, so you don't have to!
- Rules and Alerts in Process Automation Software let you know when something is coming due, for example if more eggnog needs to be spiked, or if it's time to buy more rum.
- Everyone loves presents that make life easier!
- Process Automation helps you do more with less, so spend more time with friends and less time behind the desk!
The BPM market is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 15% over the next four years, according to the IDC; however, IBM's announcement on Wednesday of their acquisition of Lombardi Software is a clear indicator of the economic struggles and the hardships of some of the venture-owned firms. Lombardi will become part of IBM's WebSphere team, adding to the company's already very similar and numerous product offerings.
In first reactions of Neil Ward-Dutton, a MWD and IT Analyst, it was noted that while there is almost a 100% product overlap, what's more is how the "design philosophy of Lombardi's offering is almost diametrically opposed to that of IBM's offering". How the two products will merge to create a sensible, robust portfolio is unclear, unless plans are in place to maintain each product separately and support different approaches to process management; Lombardi being geared towards human centric process management and a departmental focus, and IBM's WebSphere focused on systems centric process management. Even that approach becomes clouded as Bruce Silver commented in his response to the IBM briefing: "BPM involves process (Websphere), information (FileNet), and people (Lombardi). Now we have a separate BPMS for each of those. Isn't that great? Ummm, no."
Supporting multiple BPM approaches that rely on integration can be a daunting task and certainly requires a high level of maintenance. What can prove to be more frustrating is the actual road to achieving complete integration between the various BPM suites and technology platforms. Often with multiple offerings and stacks, more questions arise than answers, and the value is lost in the complexity of an IT-controlled environment.
As the acquisition follows through and IBM begins to absorb Lombardi, challenges may arise in producing and growing new value to customers and prospects. It will be interesting to see how much of Lombardi's BPM offering becomes assimilated into IBM's stack, and how much this assimilation brings rigidity to the "smaller company" mentality. Smaller companies do have conveniences that larger companies do not, such as higher levels of intimacy with customers and more flexibility in product road-mapping changes. Moreover, from a BPM value proposition, one more wonder if the larger company product mentality of "enterprise" becomes more of the overriding theme with Lombardi's products in the future (compared to emphasizing the departmental-level approach).
VP Product and Technology
Attending the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) National Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare, I learned firsthand that having multiple, non-communicating systems is a huge challenge for hospitals. Of the numerous attendees with whom I spoke, the number one complaint was "too much data re-entry into too many disconnected systems". What hospitals appear to be lacking is the "glue" that can hold disparate systems together facilitating integration and communication.
As with any business, hospitals and healthcare facilities often identify specific departmental problems that can be quickly and easily solved with a relatively inexpensive point solution. For example, an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System can serve as a database containing all of a patient's medical history. While an application like this successfully meets the needs for capturing patient information and eliminating paper-based records and forms, it may fail to integrate with other hospital systems revealing problems such as :
- The inability to transfer the correct patient data throughout departments
- Notify physicians of up-to-date medical information from another system
- Accurately report medication information
- Display proper medical history
Although EMR applications are vital for HIT
, you need the "glue" that connects all of your healthcare systems. If a patient's information only has to be entered one time, you significantly reduce your chances of entering incorrect information and increase the level of quality care you can provide to each patient.
This is where Business Process Management (BPM) becomes an important resource. BPM is the "glue" that connects systems allowing for seamless integration and communication. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides guidelines and incentives to practices committed to developing a national network of medical information interoperability based on a national Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR-S). This begs for a technology platform that integrates systems, organizes data across those systems, and optimizes EMRs to ensure they work together efficiently. These needs are exactly in line with a quality Business Process Management Suite (BPMS). Where BPM can add value to the EMR is:
- Analyze and improve critical patient safety processes
- Coordination of information across systems
- Integration of information across Healthcare Providers
- Simple to use, web based, use from anywhere
- Instant feedback and approval within processes
- Assists in maintaining compliance
Consider the following depiction of how a BPMS can bridge together health care administrators as well as EMR systems:
With this type of systems architecture, Healthcare Providers will continue to utilize the EMR systems that they are accustomed to today, but BPMS works to coordinate information across those systems, unify task lists, and integrate data across the applications.
Reduce Process Rework with Role Definition in Organizational Charts
Security in BPM Suites Can Remedy Security Breaches in Paper based Medical Records
Business Processes: Recognizing You Need Business Process Improvements
Mary Katherine Strupe
So your company has identified BPA / BPM as a key initiative for the coming new year and you have been identified as the "process champion" to evaluate the applications and suites available. The majority of BPA and BPM vendors today offer free downloads or time trial installations (web or on-premise) of their process modeling applications. It is certainly convenient and helpful that so many BPA / BPM applications can be obtained (sometimes without even completing a registration form). But do you really know what to evaluate in these tools? Do you have enough insight to be able to discern what really differentiates these tools?
From a technology perspective, all tools inside and outside of the BPA / BPM spaces promote themselves as "easy to use" and having "drag and drop" capabilities. Arguably, if the tool you are evaluating right now does not have either of these capabilities, then why are you even evaluating it? Moreover, many of the process modeling and automation tools can perform similar functions and include the fundamental basics of process mapping.
What differentiates the seasoned BPA / BPM vendor's process modeling and automation suites from software companies who just happen to offer process tools is their ability to guide the user through successfully creating, modeling, and executing processes. You already have too much to do with your day to day job. If you have to take time out of your day to learn a new application bottom-up, then you run the risk of not properly understanding the benefits the tool offers, while also getting behind in routine activities. When evaluating the new BPA / BPM tool, you should not have to ask yourself questions like:
- How do I get started with the tool?
- What is it that I am really striving to accomplish with the tool?
- What are the basics of process mapping and process modeling?
- Am I using the tool the way it is intended?
Ultimus' new Process Designer Test Drive
solves all of the headaches of classic software evaluation. Aside from overcoming the frustrations of installing unknown software on your machine, Ultimus' hosted process modeling environment provides the latest Web 2.0 features and functions to guide you through success with process modeling. Video led instructions, rich and graphic driven step-by-step help, and pre-loaded processes samples and modeling data allows you to see process modeling
success right before your eyes.
As an additional benefit, you have access to one of Ultimus' own Process Experts who can assist you one-on-one in your own personal hosted environment to build and model the processes pertinent to your own industry. Ultimus provides numerous process templates in the Health Care industry, and Ultimus' "Patient Scheduling" process is one example of many processes that are available today to be modeled and tested in Ultimus' Process Designer hosted environment.
Have you been frustrated with downloading and evaluating new process modeling tools in the past? Even after installing the new tool, were you even sure you were taking full advantage of the tool's capabilities?
Mitigate Risk by Modeling Your Business Processes
Getting Started with Process Modeling
Business Processes: Recognizing You Need Business Process Improvements
Ultimus Is Excited To See Process Modeling Usage Growing
VP Product and Technology
Business process efficiency is often described as executing your business processes quickly from start to finish. Understanding process efficiency is to understand what is involved in executing each step in the business process itself.
Users participate in business processes via web based forms by reviewing and inputting data in the forms. Most business processes have some required data inorder to ensure the processes flow correctly from step to step. Ensuring the process participants are able to navigate and use the process forms as quickly as possible drives process efficiency. From a bottom up approach, inspecting the data input and user interface (UI) interaction can reveal undiscovered process inefficiencies.
Consider the following possibilities:
- Data collected in a process step is inputted but not checked and verified. The step is submitted and forwarded with incomplete data....only then to be returned because of the incomplete state of the data.
- Vital data fields in the web form, such as Part Numbers or PO Numbers, are keyed in manually (introducing human error potential) rather than chosen from automatically populated pick lists.
- Tasks, where required data is hard to find, are pushed aside and selectively not worked on (while "easier" process tasks take priority).
- Attachments vital to the process itself, for example enrollment applications for Credit Cards, are not attached to a step in the process.
In each of these cases, having a powerful but easy to use form design tool
obviates and overcomes each of these trouble scenarios. Providing intuitive and rich form UI experiences ensures greater process adoption with your process participants and streamlines process efficiency. A quality forms design tool should include functions such as:
It is essential to design easy-to-use and efficient user interfaces for your business processes. Cumbersome and unintuitive user interfaces results in slow process time, more expensive day-to-day operations, and ultimately dissatisfaction for your process participants.
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Avoid Investing in Workflow in Non-Workflow Applications
Controlling Process "Rework" with Lean Six Sigma Practices
VP Product and Technology