BPM beyond automation
Learning from experience
Broadcast Today at 11am, we'll be beaming live from our central London studios when The Register's own Tim Phillips will be joined by a couple of experts to talk about Business Process Automation.
BPM has traditionally been associated with hard-core process automation, and has also often involved the use of similarly hard-core techniques like Lean Six Sigma.
Such approaches may be considered overkill or simply not practical for dealing with the myriad of ad hoc, informal, and constantly changing workflows that exist across most businesses, but are there lessons that can be learned from traditional BPM projects that have broader applicability?
The answer is yes, but the trick is not to get too bogged down in detail and formality. A lot can be achieved by understanding some of the basic principles and applying them in a more general manner.
On the couch with Tim will be Garry Gomersall of IBM who thinks that many more of us can improve productivity in unexpected ways. He's joined by Freeform's Dale Vile to show how BPM has an application beyond highly structured process automation.
Apart from reviewing principles and approaches, the three of them will be also discussing a number of technology enabled business optimisation ideas that started in one industry but are becoming more broadly relevant.
So, tune in for an hour, and it might save you weeks or months of analysis, prevent all that nail biting trial and error, or, even better, become a hero by helping your business stakeholders get ahead of the pack in their sector.
You can register here for free.
Structured data helps automation, enabling machine-based interoperability between different systems
"myriad of ad hoc, informal, and constantly changing workflows that exist across most businesses" - so true: seems to be the defacto way of working.
Another truth I would say is that organisations have several different systems, it's a fact of life, not necessarily a problem - the key is to define machine interfaces between them to enable them to interoperate so that automation is possible.
I think the key is some kind of structured data standard, XML being an obvious contender, but making it possible for non-technical staff to write documents that can be stored in a standard structure, therefore being machine readable and offering automation opportunities.
For example, I've seen examples whereby a table of data is in a Word Document and therefore requires manual intervention open to then cross check this against another data source when if the data was structured this could be automated.
Six sigma like any process definition approach is the basis of automation, as when you've defined what you do, documented it, then you can use that to build the automation using that definition as a specification.
Another problem is several different log-ons to different systems, this needs to be considered when trying to automate, to get different systems to work together.