BPM Process Execution Must Respect Process Resources

by Taylor Leighton on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 @ 04:19 PM

As a result of doing your due diligence of process discovery, mapping, and simulation, you find yourself ready to automate what you consider to be the “perfect process”.  You have designed the process to take into all of the discovered “What If” situations and have built the proper system integrations, notifications and reporting and BI.  But have you fully considered your resources, i.e. the people participating in your process?  Have you taken into account that people get sick, people go on vacation, and that at periodic times people become overloaded with work?  If you have not considered these process resource situations, then you are putting the efficiency and effectiveness of your automated business process at risk.

sick time, vacation, overloaded employee                  

Each of these resource situations challenge the concept that business processes can properly be mapped and modeled.  Because no one has the foresight to see into the future and exactly predict how resource levels will be, it is important that your business processes adapt to changing resource situations.  Adaptive processes are more than just being flexible in process execution.  Adaptive processes understand real-time resource constraints and make run-time decisions to overcome process bottlenecks and roadblocks. 


Adaptive processes cater to the following situations:

  • It is inefficient to activate a new task to a user or team that already has a task backlog.  Adaptive processes understand the backlog situation and activate the task to the user’s peer, relative job function, or another designated work team.
  • Activating new process tasks to users who are not available to review the tasks creates “silo” effects of process information.  Adaptive processes understand when users are out of the office and not available for new work and assign new process tasks to available, in office workers.
  • Many business processes are high volume and need to execute quickly.  In order to do this, steps in the process have defined periods of time where the tasks must execute.  Adaptive Processes understand when tasks go late and overdue and automatically reassign these tasks to other coworkers.
  • As part of a process definition, steps in a process are assigned a recipient or recipients.  Depending on specific data situations, bottlenecks, or process inefficiencies, different people may need to be involved in the step in the process.  An Adaptive Business Process Management Suite must include a rules engine that allows for dynamic recipient assignments for process steps.


All in all, no matter how much time and effort is spent in discovering, mapping, and automating a business process, if you have people involved in the process execution, unforeseen situations will occur.  While Adaptive BPM Suites provide adaptive functionality in areas other than human resource needs, human-based processes can execute only as quickly as the human themselves.  And as we all wear multiple hats in today’s company, it is important that an Adaptive BPM Suite respects dynamic working structures.


Relevant Links:

"When It Rains, It Pours"

"Process Automation - Think Outside the Box"

"Knowledge Workers Need BPM"

"Dynamic and Flexible Routing in Business Processes: Unstructured Processes"


Chris Adams

VP of Product and Technology


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This post was written by Taylor Leighton