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Processes are relational, plan accordingly

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
May 2, 2013

Identifying a single process that is inefficient and improving it using business process management software and similar solutions is a fairly simple matter, at least on the surface. However, business process environments arenot a collection of isolated operations. Instead, processes are relational and interdependent, similar toan ocean where a subtle change to any one wave will impact other waves and escalate throughout the body of water. Similarly, processes are groups of functions that exist within a broad system in which individual components of the broad landscape interact with one another. According to a recent BPM Leader report,finding success in BPM projects is often about focusingon the broad system environment and not focusing exclusively on individual processes.

A systems perspective of BPM

Processes are rarely completed in isolation. In some cases, the news source explained,a worker who needs to get one process done has to wait on another employee to complete a prerequisite function. This kind of process interaction makes the system view of operations essential because a change to a single process can have far-reaching implications over an organization.

To illustrate this dynamic, the report pointed to a split of approximately 80/20 in which 20 percent of processes have the biggest impact on corporate operations. For the most part, those processes will be relational in nature and interact in a variety of ways with other functions. Considering how various processes interact is key to keeping workers happy and productive, andit is essential when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Keeping customers happy is important, but getting them to be ecstatic is necessary to promote loyalty and get referrals, the report said. BPM solutions can make this possible by helping workers complete processes more efficiently and simplifying system operations for employees and customers. This does not mean individual processes should be ignored, asthey still have to be the focal point. However, changes to individual operations mustbe considered as part of the broad system.

Developing a solid BPM system foundation

The right BPM software can help organizations develop the base for their broad BPM goals. Good process technology can automate repeatable individual processes, integrate operations between departments and provide oversight over functions and the system as a whole. As a result, a robust BPM software solution enables organizations to maximize the value of their process systems.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing