Mitigate Risk by Modeling Your Business Processes

by MK Strupe on Wed, Jul 01, 2009 @ 04:23 PM

Avoiding unnecessary risks and predicting the future has long been a popular subject in science fiction movies and books.  With the ability to see into the future, story book characters made current day decisions that will ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved.

In today's reality, we are required to make educated guesses and tests on how well new endeavors may be executed.  Before allocating resources to new company projects, it is a best practice to understand all of the risks associated with the project.  In terms of Business Process Improvement, this is where modeling makes the most sense.  By utilizing the modeling capabilities of a BPMS, you will have the ability to measure process effectiveness and identify potential process bottlenecks BEFORE investing deeply in making the automated process "live".

Let's revisit a definition of Continuous Process Improvement, in terms of the major phases of a business process:

What if the automated process does not perform the way you wish?  What if bottlenecks are introduced into your workplace?  What if you find out it is taking twice as long to execute the process tasks now compared to the old "tried and true" manual ways of the past?  And what if your automated process does little to save your company costs?  Without modeling your process BEFORE automating it, these risks could certainly spring up on you.

Workflow applications only provide the abilities to automate and manage processes, while a BPMS provides for all four phases.  The goals of each of these phases are to control the costs of executing the business process, the time spent by process participants to execute their process tasks, and also improve visibility into the process itself.  If you are utilizing just a workflow application, then you are literally taking a blind leap of faith, in that you have no way to analyze, test, and model your new business process before it is made "live". 

Even if your automated process does happen to control costs, save time, and offer visibility into your processes, you stand to gain even larger return on investments by using all phases of a BPMS over and above the simple workflow application.  Each phase of a BPMS provides features and functions which contribute directly to your company's bottom line.  Considering the chart below, you can see that a BPMS can potentially triple the effectiveness of your process automation initiative by providing additional time and cost savings over and above simple workflow efforts.

BPM and Workflow, Business Process Automation

 Are you experiencing challenges with your ROI model today because you invested only in workflow?  Can you afford to not invest in a BPMS considering the risk you face?


Chris Adams
VP Product Marketing and Management

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This post was written by MK Strupe