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Using information intelligently can enable sustainable processes

Ben Farrell
July 9, 2012

How businesses gather and use information from a variety of sources is becoming an integral part of enterprise operations. In many ways, this need is central to the movement to employ business process management software and BPM principles that use data from a diverse range of internal and external sources to align departmental processes within departmental goals.

According to a recent TechTarget report, this is especially evident in the recent efforts of the Desert Mountain golf community. While a golf course may not seem like an ideal sample of how companies can use business intelligence fueled by inter-departmental data and process integration, the news source explained that the organization has been grappling with the same problem that almost every organization has to deal with - having to spend too much for essential resources.

In the case of Desert Mountain an Arizona-based golf course, the resource was water. The report said the company had, like all other local courses, been removed from the municipal water distribution grid and forced to buy recycled water from the city. This conservation practice, while essential, quickly became too expensive.

Bob Jones, chief operating officer for Desert Mountain, told TechTarget that each year he has to start from a point of zero increase in the budget and develop methods to reduce costs without negatively impacting operations. Reducing water consumption was the natural way to do this. However, accomplishing the task required process integration between IT, course management and other departments.

In the end, the company combined in-ground sensors that identify when water is needed with a number of IT tools to automate the entire water distribution process to ensure that sprinklers are used at the minimum levels necessary to maintain the course. Jones told the news source that the entire process has already delivered annual savings of $120,000 on utility bills and many intangible benefits in terms of how staff members use their time.

This project, with its focus on business intelligence, showcases how much a successful BPM deployment plan can help companies. Many businesses have resources that they spend too much money on to obtain, but cannot find more efficient methods to deploy because too many departments are involved in the complex process. With BPM solutions in use, companies can share data seamlessly and integrate processes more effectively to ensure they use their resources more effectively and develop more environmentally, fiscally and operationally sustainable practices.