There is a German proverb that says something along the lines of, “Take the world as it is, not as it ought to be.” As I recently perused the business process management blog world, I stumbled upon Adam Deane’s 14 Trends That Will Change the Way We Do BPM, I had a slight revelation. Can BPM and BI actually correlate to what I learned during my Philosophy 101 class back in college?
It sure can, specifically when it comes to adaptability. BPM software enhances the efficiency of human-centric business processes. Humans and therefore processes, by nature, can be unpredictable. In knowing this, an organization exploring the plethora of process automation options should put ad-hoc functionality in solving those unpredictable and unstructured processes under their “Must Haves”. Fortunately, Ultimus BPM encompasses Adaptive Discovery technology. Recognizing the necessity for dynamic process management, the BPM actually “learns” what action should be taken in the future based on the present.
Take this scenario, for example: Steve, a manager at ABC Bank, receives many purchase requests. If the request is under $500 he has the ability to approve it. However, if the request is for $500 to $2,000 the purchase request may need to be re-routed to the branch manager or to the branch manager's boss for approval. Typically, for ABC Bank, all of the purchase requests are under $2,000. This being said, ABC Bank automates their process, makes it "live" and applies rules that direct the request to the appropriate management level depending on the dollar amount.
Once in a while, ABC Bank receives a purchase request for several thousand dollars. Because there are no rules in ABC Bank’s BPMS for a purchase request that exceeds $2,000, when a request of this size is submitted the process owner will be notified. At this point, the process owner edits the rules in the BPMS to direct purchase requests of $2,000+ to the CFO or other executive member.
Based on the action taken with the large purchase request and the new rules applied, the BPMS "learns" what action should be taken in the future for similar requests.
By only mapping out the most frequent scenarios (purchase requests under $500 and requests under $2,000), ABC Bank was able to launch their purchase request process quickly and, without delay, saw the time and cost savings with their BPMS. They essentially made their process "live" when it was only 70% complete, and through adaptive discovery they were able to add more pieces to the puzzle as needed. This is one of the many benefits of a BPMS with the ability to manage adaptive processes; without intricacy, processes can be quickly edited to meet the ever changing needs of your organization.
As the proverb indicates, you can’t know with 100% certainty all the potential scenarios you will encounter in business process automation. However, you can select an agile BPM solution that accommodates and responds to the unpredictable.