Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

Achieving Business Visibility

Achieving Business Visibility

Traditional BPM lifecycle begins with mapping key organizational processes into a graphical model. Achieving a common understanding of current process and ideal to-be process requires close engagement with process stakeholders. For ex: In a call center scenario, manager of the call center operations would know best how call center handles customer escalations.

Process stakeholders are motivated to improve processes. Modeling is just a medium to get there. Hence, once the processes are modeled and automated, it is imperative that we give these process stakeholders the required level of visibility into the entire process execution. This visibility enables them to observe, orient, decide and act (check out “OODA Loop” by John Boyd).

Different process stakeholders have different visibility needs.

Real-time visibility – This gives operational users real-time view into process execution, enable them to identify areas of bottlenecks and take actions immediately. Ex: In a call center, a call center manager may benefit from real-time visibility in agent performance, call metrics and use it to distribute call load evenly.

Historic Visibility – Traditionally delivered with BI, these dashboards provide historical insight into business performance. BI dashboards allow business executives to analyze process metrics with contextual data to detect important business trends. Ex: In a call center, VP of call center would be more interested how customer satisfaction has been improving over past 6-12 months.

Prescriptive Visibility – Analytics can recommend users to take certain actions by learning from past and present behavior. This insight can be very powerful, accurate and alleviate the burden of analyzing data from the end user. Ex: Call center agent is fielding calls from customers requesting an increase in credit limit. Dashboard to recommend him to cancel or approve the request based on customer’s spending history as well as how similar requests have been handled in the past.


Most vendors only focus on siloed dashboards and fail to deliver user centric, actionable insights. Its important that dashbaords deliver unified experience – bring together all aspects of visibility (real-time, historic, prescriptive) in a seamless fashion and enable users to make intelligent business decisions.

We have started to see companies bringing together process management (BPM) and decision making (BI) capabilities to make business processes intelligent and adaptive. With strong integration between Oracle BPM Suite, Oracle BIEE Suite and Oracle Real-time decisions, you can build dashboards which deliver true business insights at every level in the organization. These insights help process stakeholders take decisions and drive process forward. In next few weeks, we will share an exciting demo which brings this concept of unified business visibility to reality.

At Openworld 2013 in San Francisco, I was joined by Brigette Vinton, Director of Corporate Accounting, Alliance Data Systems (ADS) to discuss business visibility in the session “Achieving End-to-End Business Visibility with BPM and Business Intelligence [CON8609]”. ADS is a leading provider of marketing, loyalty and credit solutions. While my talk focused on BI & BPM integration patterns and a BI+BPM+RTD demo , highlight of the session was Brigette’s talk on how ADS has streamlined its Capital Expenditure Request (CER) process with Oracle BPM, Oracle BIEE, Oracle WebCenter and PeopleSoft.

Capital Expenditure Request at ADS is a very human centric process. Every time requester initiates a new Capital Expenditure request, it navigates across multiple stakeholders (accounting, business admin, controller, finance) requiring collaboration, document management and dynamic approval management.


Oracle BPM Suite orchestrates this entire process. This enables complete audit trail of the approval process thereby enabling compliance. All approvals and notifications are mobile enabled. Once the expenditure has been approved, BI dashboards provide near-real time visibility into actual costs. At any point, if actual costs of the project exceed the approved budget, BI dashboards automatically trigger BPM process using Action Framework. BI dashboards complete the CER lifecycle to ensure project overspend goes through a review process again. ADS also leverages Oracle Essbase with PeopleSoft to help business users perform complex “what-if” analysis to further fine tune the approval decisions.


AVIO Consulting helped ADS with solution implementation. Project went live in July 2013 and has helped ADS gain visibility in 100+ CERs already. Going forward, ADS is planning to feed approved CERs into Hyperion Planning application for forecasting depreciation.

Whether you refer to it as adaptive business process or business process intelligence, what ADS demonstrated is a classic example of how the world of process automation, business intelligence and predictive analytics together enables complete business visibility.

About

Harish Gaur is Director of Product Management at Oracle focused on Oracle Fusion Middleware strategies around Internet of Things, Integration & BPM.

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