Benefits of process improvement

Performance management cannot exist without Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities, counsels Moore. “Any enterprise looking to deliver a performance management framework needs to include the process as a BI requirement,” reports the Forrester analyst. “The BPM capability could come from an independent BPM vendor or the Bl vendor, but it must be there.”
This is, in a nutshell, the essence of process improvement. No matter what the productivity enhancement is called — BPM, BPI, “workforce optimizationâ€? to be considered as a process improvement it must actually offer some improvement.

“Workflow focuses on automating a human task of a business processes,” said Chris Preston, File Net’s director of product marketing. “But that’s simply not enough; there are business processing elements as well. Ultimately, the crowning point is to improve and maximize both the process and content.”

While process improvement falls under several disciplines, with several definitions, in the data capture industries, process improvement has revolved around minimizing human intervention.
Business Process Improvement (BPI) is seen as a systematic approach to helping an organization make changes in the way it does business. BPI relies heavily on defining an organization’s strategic goals and aligning the business processes to meet those requirements.
Some organizations use the term BPM when referring to process improvement initiatives. BPM has often been used synonymously with workflow. The content management software vendor takes a holistic view to Business Process Management (BPM).
“Workflow focuses on automating a human task of a business processes,” Preston said. Ultimately, the crowning point is to improve and maximize both process and content.”
Recent initiatives have worked to combine business process data and business intelligence (Bl) to improve productivity by delivering relevant information at the point in the business process where informed decisions must be made. FileNet is partnering with leading Bl vendors to extend FileNet’s BPM vision for process management. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software developer Cognos, recently inked a joint marketing partnership with FileNet that ties technology from the FileNet P8 platform and Cognos’s newest Bl platform Cognos 8.
Other vendors are likewise associating their traditional document capture solutions with process improvement. Capture vendor Kofax recently renewed its joint technology development agreement with LCI, a provider of “learning systems for business process optimization.”
LCI provides advanced algorithms for image classification, forms processing and document analysis as components, some of which has been co-developed with Kofax and integrated into its intelligent forms processing solutions.
“The BPM and the BI sectors continue to move closer together, in the interest of business performance management,” suggests Preston. Content is an essential element in managing a business process.”
According to analysts at Forrester, the two components of BPM and BI are now merging into what Connie Moore at Forrester calls “Process to Data (P2D).”
“Most business process management vendors have integrated their products with business intelligence for analyzing historical process data; but BPM products should also integrate with BI to support decision-intensive business processes like order management, credit risk management, and sales opportunity management,” the analyst’s report. BPM vendors need to support all types of processes, including decision-intensive ones. Pure-play BPM vendors have a strong capacity to define workflow in human terms, and human processes involve decision-making. The pure-play BPM vendors also feel the competitive pressures from integration and platform vendors, and are looking for differentiators and new markets.
• BI and BPM vendors develop co-marketing agreements. • BI vendors license BPM engines. “This is a pragmatic and reasonable approach to address the need for BPM within BI implementations. However, it requires a substantial increase in the BI product’s cost to pay for the BPM engine — and the BI vendor must pass along the additional revenue to the BPM vendor.”
• BI vendors build their own BPM engines. “While this may seem ideal, BI vendors have no domain expertise in BPM, and there are more than 100 BPM products to choose from without reinventing the wheel. However this is not a recommended path for BI vendors to pursue.”