Wednesday Dec 18, 2013

Process of Process Management

In some of the past discussions, we have talked about the Six Business Process Management best practices to start BPM journey.

They are as follows:

1. Find the right process (Business Impact vs. Frequency of change vs. complexity)

2. Identify KPIs and define success

3. Involve business users

4. Put governance in place

5. Get executive sponsorship

6. Achieve quick early wins

These are good pointers for a healthy start, but what next? How can we make sure that the BPM practice in an organization is not just limited to automating one odd process? To reap its full potential, it should become a way of life, enterprise wide program. Companies that have developed a successful BPM program have gained immense benefits, not only from improved operational efficiency, better customer satisfaction but also reduced IT costs and time to solution. Adept organizations are known to deploy new process applications in a couple of weeks and make changes to deployed processes in real-time.

Once you have achieved the success with your first BPM project, start thinking about other opportunities that can benefit from BPM as well as about “Process of Process Management”. Think about other process improvement initiatives in your organization, how BPM can align with those. Are you running on lean, six-sigma methodologies? Do you practice TQM, have ISO certifications? Consider how BPM can help you achieve better quality results while you leverage the existing business improvement methodology.

We talk about “process governance from the start”, as one of the best practices, because it determines if your BPM initiative will take the shape of enterprise wide business improvement program or will be soon forgotten as a fad.

BPM is not just system integration or one time automation of manual process. It is about continuous improvement. Unless there is a right design and methodology in place, we are essentially creating a new monolithic application that is as rigid as existing systems. We want process design that is easy to maintain and flexible to change. If we do not get that from BPM implementation, its further adoption suffers.

Here are some of the factors that will impact the BPM adoption rate:

  • Methodology for modeling, analysis and approvals – What are the roles involved in process modeling and analysis. What is the process of review and approval?  Determine the processes that need to be modeled; use strategy maps and value chains to prioritize the modeling of business processes.
  • Modeling standards and patterns – Are there any repeatable process modeling patterns in the business e.g. voting, 2-eye principal, approval chains. Identify and standardize those across all process applications. Determine the process model hierarchy ( level 1, level2, level3 etc.) where each deeper level has incrementally finer details of the process than one above  and higher levels abstract the details for easier understanding.
  • Process storage and versioning – Establish a process repository where contributors can store their processes. Establish a standard way of versioning the process models and other process artifacts?
  • Process reusability – Perhaps most important factor in the success of BPM program is process reusability. Determine the reusable components in the process. Meaning, identify all the components that can be used in other similar processes. These could be sub-processes, forms, form fragments, business objects, rules, integration adapters. We do not need to redesign these for each process. We should be able to reuse these. We may also want to externalize some of these components like rules or integration adapters so that they can be changed independently of the process. This is something critical for process agility.
  • Process health checks – Determine the frequency to check the health of a process. Know the KPIs that should be monitored. Make sure that processes are running within their limits, and any variances raise an alarm. This should be a part of process design.
  • Frequency of change – Identify the processes that need to be updated quarterly, half-yearly or annually. Plan for newer versions, plan for instance patching and have instance migration strategy in place. Keep frequently changing components external to the process so that those can be changed without process redeployment e.g. business rules.

The idea is to expedite the BPM adoption across organization and to move the organization higher up in BPM Maturity. If you have not already, take quick self-assessment quiz and see how you compare to your peers in BPM maturity. You will get a valuable customized report in the end that you can review with your colleagues and discuss next steps.

Tuesday Nov 26, 2013

Keep Your Applications Agile with Business Process Management

Applications are the backbone of your business. To run your business, you need many applications and systems like ERP, SCM, CRM, and Billing. Since companies acquired these applications during different time periods, they end up with disjointed applications and rigid silo'ed departmental processes locked inside the applications. Many applications were implemented years ago and selected for very specific business needs but with time the needs change. At that point companies tend to make point changes to the software to meet those needs. Such changes to applications not only take time to implement but are extremely hard to maintain.

With time, the needs of business keep changing, and applications fail to keep pace with the changing needs. This creates impedance mismatch between the business needs and application capabilities. The result is decreasing business performance, less profit, waste in R&D or lower market share because of delays in time-to-market of new products and services.

Business Process agility refers to the speed and flexibility with which process based applications can keep up with the needs of changing business conditions and minimize the gap between business needs and IT systems. Oracle Business Process Management Suite delivers such agility.

With Oracle BPM Suite you can create process based applications that help you orchestrate human and system activities across departmental and applications silos. It provides the necessary visibility and agility to manage and run your business efficiently.

Using BPM to extend your existing applications has following key benefits:

  • Better visibility into the end-to-end processes and KPIs
  • Enhanced Agility. Since BPM is all model driven, business managers can design and update the process as and when required without spending months on modifying underlining applications.
  • If you move your customizations to BPM layer, rather than in the application itself, it keeps your applications clean, better performing and easy to upgrade.
  • You can add additional capabilities like social or mobile to existing applications as BPM suite supports those capabilities too.
  • Last but not least, BPM is not a rip-n-replace of your existing applications. It is enhancing them with newer capabilities.

Let the applications do what they are designed to do the best. Move the rest of extensions in BPM layer for better visibility, agility and efficiency.

For more information visit www.oracle.com/appadvantage  and download resources on BPM suite at www.oracle.com/bpm.

Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Inside the OOW Session: 5 Easy Steps to Modernizing Business Applications

Author: Tanu Sood, Principal Product Director, Oracle

Let’s face it – our applications map in the company isn’t clean. We have multiple applications, some homegrown, some acquired, a few other purchased. Chances are there is some overlap in what these applications do for us. We are in a constant state of motion with our applications. Add to that changing business needs, technology disruption with social, mobile, analytics and big data and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, and we are far from achieving Nirvana with our applications infrastructure.

The question then is how do you extend your applications and enhance the value you provide to your application users, especially customers without having to sneak in brittle customizations within your applications and adding to your application development, maintenance and upgrade cycles?

5 steps! Yes, at Oracle OpenWorld next week, we will walk you through 5 easy steps to modernizing your existing business applications to meet your evolving business needs without having to re-code your applications. Make sense of it all in a scalable, sustainable way.

To prove it, we will have Fred Stern from Flextronics joining us on stage to discuss his very successful implementation and the business impact of doing it the AppAdvantage way.

Join Fred Stern, my colleague - Ajay Khanna and I at Oracle OpenWorld as we discuss this some more. Be sure to add this session to your Schedule Builder.

CON9284: Five Easy Steps for Modernizing Business Applications with BPM
Thursday, Sep 26, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Moscone West - 2014

We will see you there!

Learn about this and other Oracle AppAdvantage sessions at OpenWorld in the Focus on AppAdvantage Guide.

Monday Sep 09, 2013

Business is Changing, Can Your Applications Keep Up?

To do business organizations depend on various kinds of enterprise applications. Over time organizations acquire many such applications including ERP systems, CRM systems, SCM applications, Contact Centers, Customer Service applications. They may also have many home grown applications, and some of them are even running in the main frame systems!

It is not uncommon for businesses actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions to end up with several of applications for the same purpose. They accumulate many ERP, CRM, HRM systems.

While applications are getting dated business environment is changing, regulations are changing, and customer needs are changing. How can we make sure that we can keep our applications agile and equip our businesses with most advanced technology without rip-n-replace of legacy systems?

In this webinar “Business is Changing, Can Your Applications Keep Up?” on Sep 12th 2013, I am going to discuss some of the challenges that organizations face due to aging applications and how Business Process Management (BPM) Suite helps address those challenges. I will discuss how organizations can use BPM to do more with their applications including:

  • Make processes more consistent by removing whitespaces between applications
  • Eliminate the need of brittle customizations
  • Enhance business visibility into transactions across applications
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Improve end user experience

Oracle AppAdvantage strategy helps enterprises to leverage their existing enterprise investments like legacy applications while offering new and unique capabilities that the business requires. It is not a rip-and-replace strategy. With Oracle BPM Suite, enterprises will be simultaneously delivering short term business value and begin the journey to create the next generation intelligent process applications. 

Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Looking forward to Meeting you at Gartner BPM Summit

Oracle is proud to sponsor Gartner BPM summit happening April 2-4 in National Harbor, Maryland. I am truly looking forward to the event this year. We have a number of our customers joining us for the event, and I personally am excited to meet them face-2-face and learn more about their innovative implementations.

Also, this year San Joaquin County won BPM Excellence award, and they will be presenting their case study at the show. I want to congratulate the San Joaquin County on this achievement and look forward to attending their session.

In our booth stations,  we are going to showcase some cool product capabilities. So if, you are there, do visit us at Booth #314.

On April 3rd 7:10am Manoj Das, VP of Product Management will also lead a breakfast session talking about “High Value BPM Patterns for Business Success”. Manoj will discuss some high value process patterns that will not only make the business more efficient but also help create process solutions much faster.

Oracle BPM team is extremely excited to be at the event and wish all attendees to have an enjoyable show!

If you want to learn more about Oracle BPM Suite before the show, we have many resources available for you.

Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

Surround strategy is the sound strategy.

Over the years, companies have acquired various applications to run their business. Companies started with accounting and financial systems, then went ahead and implemented ERP and then jumped into CRM and many others like SCM, HRM along the way.

Soon companies realized that these applications need to exchange information and started “integrating” them, which primarily meant updating data across systems. Such point to point integration of applications works for some time and then business changes and companies need to make “customizations” to the applications. That starts another six months to a year cycle of changes, updates, customizations and testing of applications. Application capabilities have always lagged behind the business needs. Business changes at a much faster rate than applications can.

What if all these updates could be done in days, not months? What if we could separate out a layer of business logic that is dynamic, from the layer that remains constant for a long time? What if making changes to applications and extending applications did not take months and years? Can we do that?

Yes, we can, with a Business Process Management System. Surround enterprise application with BPM layer. One of the key values that BPM delivers is extending your applications and providing an agile layer of business logic that can be changed as quickly as your business changes. This strategy of surrounding all your enterprise applications has 4 key benefits:

  1. Fill the process whitespaces created by disjointed applications.
  2. Move customizations to business process management layer for agility.
  3. Extend applications with new business logic.
  4. Extend legacy applications with new capabilities like social, mobile etc.

Let the applications do what they were designed to do. If you need to add capabilities, make customizations, add processes, do that in BPM. BPM will orchestrate the activities across the applications in a unified process without making unnatural and persistent changes to the enterprise legacy applications. When there comes a time to change, model driven BPM process is much simpler to change than, for example, changing the logic inside an ERP system.

Check out the webcast discussing how BPM helps extend enterprise applications.

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

How fast is the process? Why does it matter?

Processes consume data, processes generate data. Some need a lot of data, like claims or loan, some generate a lot of data like online shopping. And data is generated at a different rates in different processes. Faster the process, faster is the rate at with they need data and generate data, in addition, response times of decisions in the process need to be adjusted accordingly. Some processes need a quick response, like when some highly caffeinated trader presses B instead of M while trading and takes the whole market down or algorithmic trading with a mind of its own. Some processes need continuous feed of data from many sources for continuous course corrections, like managed health care.

In any process, we make decisions along the way. The decisions are based on rules that we have learned and put in place, information generated from historical data, data currently being generated and also events and event patterns emerging. Depending on the type of decision and when that decision is being made in the process we either need to rely on rules, predictive analytics, fast data analytics or complex event processing.

Depending on the required response times and customer expectation we need to utilize these technologies at our disposal to make right decisions at the right time with as much certainty as possible. Whether it is about an up-sell opportunity during an online sales process or it is a fraud management process or a loan origination process, delivering results at the right speed is critical.

Monday Feb 11, 2013

Do You Know the Risk of Shadow Processes?

In order to do business, companies need to buy and develop many applications. These applications help companies perform various functions. Usually, employees may need to access multiple applications to perform an end-to-end function or what we call a business process.

Take, for example, Order Management. In order to take and complete an order, you may need to access CRM system, Inventory Management, Fulfillment, Shipping and Accounting systems. Most of the times these applications are standalone or at best have point-to-point integration. There may be many activities that you need to perform while processing an order that may not be covered with any of these applications. These activities are called process whitespaces, the steps that are not covered with any of your applications. Usually such activities are performed using emails, phone calls, memos, exchanging spreadsheets etc. These are the shadow processes in your organization - the undocumented, unaudited, non-traceable activities. So where is the problem, you may ask. Problem is that these manual activities cause inefficiency in the organization. In the example above, you may not have visibility into the status of an order at any given point in time, and you’ll tend to run business using dated reports. If a customer calls in to check order status, your employees have to access multiple systems to provide that information to the customer. This leads to waste as well as leads to employees taking decisions based on outdated or incomplete information.

In some cases, your company may also be exposed to compliance risks for not having traceability for all required activities. Using manual procedures means that your compliance and audit costs go high, hitting your bottom line and exposing your company and employees to fines or penalties.

One of the key values of BPM is to fill these process whitespaces and make your business more efficient. The idea is not to replace your existing systems or applications. The idea is to leverage your applications (CRM, ERP, SCM) and define an end-to-end efficient process that fills the whitespaces. Let the applications do what they are best at. Do not make unnatural customizations to COTS applications to fit your processes. Use BPM to bring application together and create custom processes. Any activity that is performed in BPM based application is auditable, efficient and enhances visibility across your business. Check out this demo that talks about using BPM to create efficient processes on top of your applications.

Monday Dec 17, 2012

Bye Bye Year of the Dragon, Hello BPM

As 2012 fades and we usher in a New Year, let’s look back at some of the hottest BPM trends and those we’ll be seeing more of in the coming months.

BPM is as much about people as it is about technology. As people adopt new ways of engagement, new channels of communications and new devices to interact , the changes are reflected in BPM practices.

As Social and Mobile have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives, we’ll see tighter integration of social and mobile with BPM, and more use cases emerging for smarter process management in 2013. And with products and services becoming less differentiated, organizations will strive to differentiate on Customer Experience. Concepts like Pace Layered Architecture and Dynamic Case Management will provide more flexibility and agility to IT groups and knowledge workers.

Take a look at some of these capabilities we showcased (see video) at Oracle OpenWorld 2012.

Some of these trends that will continue to gain momentum in 2013:

Social networks and social media have provided a new way for businesses to engage with customers. A prospect is likely to reach out to their social network before making any purchase. Companies are increasingly engaging with customers in social networks to influence their purchasing decisions, as well as listening to customers via tools like sentiment analysis to see what customers think about a particular product or process. These insights are valuable as companies look to improve their processes.

Inside organizations, workers are using social tools to engage with each other to design new products and processes. Social collaboration tools are being used to resolve issues where an employee needs consultation to reach a decision. Oracle BPM Suite includes social interaction as an integral part of its process design and work management to empower today’s business users.

Ubiquitous smart mobile devices are trending as a tool of choice for many workers. Many companies are adopting the policy of “Bring Your Own Device,” and the device of choice is a tablet. Devices like smart phones and tablets not only provide mobility to workers and customers, but they also provide additional important information – the context. By integrating the mobile context (location, photos, and preferences) into your processes, organizations can make much more informed decisions, as well as offer more personalized service to customers. Using Oracle ADF Mobile, you can easily create user interfaces for mobile devices and also capture location data for process execution.

Customer experience was at the forefront of trending topics in 2012. Organizations are trying to understand their customers better and offer them more personalized and differentiated services. Customer experience is paramount when companies design sales and support processes. Companies are looking to BPM to consistently and efficiently orchestrate customer facing processes across disparate systems, departments and channels of communication. Oracle BPM Suite provides just the right capabilities for organizations to design and deliver an excellent customer experience.

Pace Layered Architecture strategy is gaining traction as a way to maximize agility and minimize disruption in organizations. It provides a framework to manage the evolution of your information system when different pieces of it are changing at different rates and need to be updated independent of one another. Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle BPM Suite are designed with this in mind. The database layer, integration layer, application layer, and process layer should not be required to change at the same time. Most of the business changes to policy or process can be done at the process layer without disrupting the whole infrastructure. By understanding the type of change needed at a particular level, organizations can become much more agile and efficient.

Adaptive Case Management proposes more flexibility to manage processes or cases that do not follow a structured process flow. In such situations, the knowledge worker managing the case needs to evaluate what step should occur next because the sequence of steps can’t be predetermined. Another characteristic is that it requires much more collaboration than straight-through process. As simple processes become automated, and customers adopt more and more self-service, cases that reach the case workers are much more complex and need more investigation. Oracle BPM suite includes comprehensive adaptive case management capability to manage such unstructured and complex processes.

Smart BPM or making your BPM intelligent has been the holy grail for BPM practitioners who imagined that one day BPM would become one with Business Intelligence, Business Activity Monitoring and Complex Event Processing, making it much more responsive and helpful in organizational decision making. In 2013, organizations will begin to deploy these intelligent BPM solutions. Oracle offers an integrated solution that brings together the powerful functionality of BI, BAM, event processing, and Real Time Decisions to help organizations create smart process based solutions.

In order to help customers reach their BPM goals faster and remove risks associated with BPM initiatives, Oracle has introduced Oracle Process Accelerators, pre-built best practices applications built on Oracle BPM Suite that are fully production grade and ready to deploy. These are exiting times for BPM practitioners and there is so much to look forward to in 2013.

We wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2013. Happy BPMing!

Friday Nov 30, 2012

Finding it Hard to Deliver Right Customer Experience: Think BPM!

Our relationship with our customers is not a just a single interaction and we should not treat it like one. A customer’s relationship with a vendor is like a journey which starts way before customer makes a purchase and lasts long after that. The journey may start with customer researching a product that may lead to the eventual purchase and may continue with support or service needs for the product. A typical customer journey can be represented as shown below:

As you may notice, customers tend to use multiple channels to interact with a company throughout their journey.  They also expect that they should get consistent experience, no matter what interaction channel they may choose. Customers do not like to repeat the information they have already provided and expect companies to remember their preferences, and offer them relevant products and services.

If the company fails to meet this expectation, customers not only will abandon the purchase and go to the competitor but may also influence others’ purchase decision. Gone are the days when word of mouth was the only medium, and the customer could influence “Six” others. This is the age of social media and customer’s good or bad experience, especially bad get highly amplified and may influence hundreds of others.

Challenges that face B2C companies today include:

Delivering consistent experience: The reason that delivering consistent experience is challenging is due to fragmented data, disjointed systems and siloed multichannel interactions. Customers tend to get different service quality if they use web vs. phone vs. store. They get different responses from different service agents or get inconsistent answers if they call sales vs. service group in the company. Such inconsistent experiences result in lower customer satisfaction or NPS (net promoter score) numbers.

Increasing Revenue: To stay competitive companies frequently introduce new products and services. Delay in launching such offerings has a significant impact on revenue realization. In addition to new product revenue, there are multiple opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell that impact bottom line. If companies are not able to identify such opportunities, bring a product to market quickly, or not offer the right product to the right customer at the right time, significant loss of revenue may occur.

Ensuring Compliance: Companies must be compliant to ever changing regulations, these could be about Know Your Customer (KYC), Export/Import regulations, or taxation policies. In addition to government agencies, companies also need to comply with the SLA that they have committed to their customers. Lapse in meeting any of these requirements may lead to serious fines, penalties and loss in business. Companies have to make sure that they are in compliance will all such regulations and SLA commitments, at any given time.

With the advent of social networks and mobile technology, companies not only need to focus on process efficiency but also on customer engagement. Improving engagement means delivering the customer experience as the customer is expecting and interacting with the customer at right time using right channel. Customers expect to be able to contact you via any channel of their choice (web, email, chat, mobile, social media), purchase via any viable channel (web, phone, store, mobile). Customers expect companies to understand their particular needs and remember their preferences on repeated visits. To deliver such an integrated, consistent, and contextual experience, power of BPM in must.

Your company may be organized in departments like Marketing, Sales, Service. You may hold prospect data in SFA, order information in ERP, customer issues in CRM. However, the experience delivered to the customer must not be constrained by your system legacy. BPM helps in designing the right experience for the right customer and integrates all the underlining channels, systems, applications to make sure right information will be delivered to the right knowledge worker or to the customer every single time.

 

 

Orchestrating information across all systems (MDM, CRM, ERP), departments (commerce, merchandising, marketing service) and channels (Email, phone, web, social)  is the key, and that’s what BPM delivers.

In addition to orchestrating systems and channels for consistency, BPM also provides an ability for analysis and decision management. By using data from historical transactions, social media and from other systems, users can determine the customer preferences, customer value, and churn propensity. This information, in the context, is then used while making a decision at a process step. Working with real-time decision management system can also suggest right up-sell or cross-sell offers, discounts or next-best-action steps for a particular customer.

Timely action on customer issues or request is also a key tenet of a good customer experience. BPM’s complex event processing capabilities help companies to take proactive actions before issues get escalated. BPM system can be designed to listen to a certain event patters then deduce from those customer situations (credit card stolen, baggage lost, change of address) and do a triage before situation goes out of control. If such a situation arises you can send alerts to right people or immediately invoke corrective actions.

Last but not least one of BPM’s key values is to drive continuous improvement. Learning about customers past experiences, interactions and social conversations, provide valuable insight. Such insight can be used to improve products, customer facing processes, and customer experience. You may take these insights as an input to design better more efficient and customer friendly sales, contact center or self-service processes.

If customer experience is important for your business, make sure you have incorporated BPM as a part of your strategy to design, orchestrate and improve your customer facing processes.

Monday Oct 22, 2012

The Best BPM Journey: More Exciting Destinations with Process Accelerators

Oracle Open World (OOW) earlier this month has been a great occasion to discuss with our BPM customers. It was interesting to hear definite patterns emerging from those conversations: “BPM is a journey”, “experiences to share”, “our organization now understands what BPM is”, and my favorite (with some caveats): “BPM is like wine tasting, once you start, you want to try more”. These customers have started their journey, climbed up the learning curve, and reached a vantage point that allows them to see their next BPM destination. They see the next few processes they are going to tackle and improve with BPM.

These processes/destinations target both horizontal processes where BPM replaces or coordinates manual activities, and critical industry processes that the company needs to improve to compete and deliver increasing value. Each new destination generates value, allowing the organization to reduce the cost of manual processes that were not supported by apps/custom development, and increase efficiency of end-to-end processes partially covered by apps/custom dev.

The question we wanted to answer is how to help organizations experience deeper success with BPM, by increasing their awareness of the potential for reaching new targets, and equipping them with the right tools. We decided that we needed to identify destinations, and plot routes to show the fastest path to those destinations. In the end we want to enable customers to reach “Process Excellence”: continuously set new targets and consistently and efficiently reach them.

The result is Oracle Process Accelerators (PA), solutions built using the rich functionality in Oracle BPM Suite. PAs offers a rapidly expanding list of exciting destinations. Our launch of the latest installment of Process Accelerators at Oracle Open World includes new Industry-focused solutions such as Public Sector Incident Reporting and Financial Services Loan Origination, and improved other horizontal PAs, including Travel Request Management, Document Routing and Approval, and Internal Service Requests. Just before OOW we had extended the Oracle deployment of Travel Request Management, riding the enthusiastic response from early adopters among travelers (employees), management and support (approvers). “Getting there first” means being among the first to extract value from the PA approach, while acquiring deeper insights into the customers’ perspective. This is especially noteworthy when it comes to PAs, a set of solutions designed to be quickly deployed and iteratively improved by customers.

The OOW launch has generated immediate feedback from customers, non-customers, analysts, and partners. They all confirmed that both Business and IT at organizations benefit from PAs when it comes to exploring the potential for BPM to improve their business processes. PAs help customers visualize what can be done with BPM, and PAs are made to be extended: you can see your destination, change the path to fit your needs, and deploy.

We're discovering new destinations/processes that the market wants us to support, generic enough across industries and within industries. We'll keep on building sets of requirements, deliver functional design, construct solutions using Oracle BPM, and test them not only functionally but for performance, scalability, clustering, making them robust, product-quality. Delivering BPM solutions with product-grade quality is the equivalent of following a tried-and-tested path on a map.

Do you know of existing destinations in your industry? If yes, we can draw a path to innovative processes together.

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

OpenWorld Session: Oracle Unified BPM Suite Development Best Practices

Blog by David Read

Earlier today,  Sushil Shukla, Yogeshwar Kuntawar, and I (David Read) delivered an OpenWorld  session that covered BPM development best practices.  It was well attended.  Last year we had a session that covered end-to-end lifecycle best practices for BPM.  This year we narrowed the focus to the development portion of the lifecycle.  We started with an overview of development process best practices, then focused on a few key design topics where we’ve seen common questions from customers and partners.

  • Data Design
  • Using EDN
  • Multi-Instance Activity
  • Using the Spring Component
  • Human Task Integration

We wrapped up with an overview of key concepts for effective error handling, including error handling within the process design, and using declarative fault policies.

We hope you found the session useful, and as noted in the session, please be sure to try to attend Prasen’s session to see more details about approaches for testing Oracle Business Rules:

CON8606  Oracle Business Rules Use Cases, 10/3/2012, 3:30PM  

Monday Oct 01, 2012

Oracle OpenWorld Session: “Business Driven Development with BPM: Lessons from the Real World”

One of key values that BPM promises is “Business Empowerment”. People closest to the processes, who participate in the process every day, are the ones who know most about the process. These are the people who run day-to-day operations, people who triage customer issues, people who envision improvements and innovations. It is, therefore, imperative that when a company decides to use BPM technology to automate their business processes, business people take the driver’s seat. BPM is not an IT only project.

Oracle BPM suite has been designed keeping this core tenet of BPM, Business Empowerment, in mind. The result is business user centered design of Process Composer. Process Composer is designed to let business users document their processes, analyze them using simulation, create web forms, specify business rules and even run them in testing mode using process player, to see if the designed process meets their needs.

This does not mean that IT has no role in this process. In fact, Oracle BPM Suite has made it very easy for Business and IT to collaborate. The same process can be shared among business, and IT stakeholders and each can collaborate to create model-driven, process based executable applications. A process may need to integrate with multiple systems via various mechanisms, and IT leads system and data integration effort. IT helps fine tune the performance of process applications and ensures that the deployment of process application meets scalability and failover standards.

In this session, we saw Harish Gaur and Satya Narayanan from Oracle demonstrate roles Business and IT play in BPM projects and how Oracle BPM Suite enables business and IT collaboration to design and automate process based applications. They also discussed real life customer stories.

Some key takeaways from this session:

  1. There are no IT projects, only business initiatives, requiring IT support
  2. Identify high impact processes – critical, better BPM ROI
  3. Identify key metrics to measure process performance
  4. Align business with IT layer

Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Customer Experience and BPM – From Efficiency to Engagement

Over the last few years, focus of BPM has been mainly to improve the businesses efficiency. To create more efficient processes, to remove bottlenecks, to automate processes. That still holds true and why not? Isn’t BPM all about continuous improvement?

BPM facilitates and requires business and IT collaboration. But business also requires working with customer. Do we not want to get close to and collaborate with our customers? This is where Social BPM takes BPM a step further. It not only allows people within an organization to collaborate to design exceptional processes, not only lets them collaborate on resolving a case but also let them engage with the customers.

Engaging with customer means, first of all, connecting with them on their terms and turf. Take a new account opening process. Can a customer call you and initiate the process? Can a customer email you, or go to the website and initiate the process? Can they tweet you and initiate the process? Can they check the status of process via any channel they like? Can they take a picture of damaged package delivery and kick-off a returns process from their mobile device, with GIS data?

Yes, these are various aspects to consider during process design if the goal is better customer experience and engagement. Of course, we want to be efficient and agile, but the focus here needs to be the customer.

Now when the customer is tweeting about your products, posting on Facebook and Yelp about their experience with your company (and your process), you need to seek out that information. You need to gather and analyze the customer’s feedback on the social media and use that information to improve the processes and products. This is an excellent source of product and process ideation.

So BPM is no longer only about improving back-office process efficiency, it is moving into a new and exciting phase of improving frontline customer facing processes, customer experience and engagement.

Let me know how you think BPM can enhance customer experience.

Sunday Apr 15, 2012

BPM in Financial Services Industry

The following series of blog posts discuss common BPM use-cases in the Financial Services industry:

  • Financial institutions view compliance as a regulatory burden that incurs a high initial capital outlay and recurring costs. By its very nature regulation takes a prescriptive, common-for-all, approach to managing financial and non-financial risk. Needless to say, no longer does mere compliance with regulation will lead to sustainable differentiation.

For details, check out the 2 part series on managing operational risk of financial services process (part 1 / part 2).

  • Payments processing is a central activity for financial institutions, especially retail banks, and intermediaries that provided clearing and settlement services. Visibility of payments processing is essentially about the ability to track payments and handle payments exceptions as payments flow from initiation to settlement.

For details, check out the 2 part series on improving visibility of payments processing (part 1 / part 2).
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