BPM and Predictive Analytics: Know Where You’re Going and Get Smarter Along the Way

We humans make thousands of decisions every day – decisions about big things and little things, critical and less important. All, however, are decisions of some nature.

In a New York Times article the writer described what he called ‘decision fatigue’, the result of so many decisions needing to be made daily by each of us. As a result of the sheer number of decisions we make,  the line between what’s truly important and not significant is blurred.. This happens to the  extent that  we make many decisions without giving much thought to what we are actually  deciding. Due to our habits and internal ‘wiring’ (formed over many years), most of these decisions are simple and rapidly determined: Will I wear the blue shirt or the red shirt? How much cream will I add to my coffee? What time do I need to leave the house to get to the meeting?  The decisions we make in the vast majority of cases do not have major repercussions. We live, we decide, we move on. If the blue shirt turns out to have been a fashion mistake, we live with it, without significant ramifications.

Companies, however, look at decision-making very differently. Employees make major decisions every day that impact the future of their companies.  And there is a trusted relationship between employer and employee that dictates that the employee make those decisions in the best interest of the company. But there’s a huge difference between making decisions and making informed, intelligent, and qualified decisions. If you and your employees are moving the company along based on anything short of informed decisions, you may not achieve the best possible results and, in some cases, may be heading completely in the wrong direction.

The only way to make perfect decisions is to know the future. Would that we could develop a product that did just that! In the absence of a crystal ball, however, the best we can do is to anticipate (or you could say ‘predict’) the future. Here again, though, there are variations to what constitutes a prediction. A guess is a guess. Included in a guess, however, are ideas and biases drawn from someone’s experience.

We don’t make Magic 8 Balls — but our flagship product, Process Director, provides business process automation software technology with Process Timeline. With that comes the ability to identify, analyze, anticipate and, yes, predict the direction in which a process is going. We call that process intelligence. Having that ability means our customers are able to glean more insights into their running processes — and at earlier points in time.

As processes tend to be iterative, this capability allows our customers to correct and adapt to changing environments in real-time. The feedback, data and historical information they receive from more instances translates into the ability to optimize these processes. It also acculturates a habit of taking raw data and turning it into actionable information.

If your organization can do this, then changes to your business, whether internal or external, will cause far fewer reverberations. Applying process intelligence will give your organization advantages over number crunchers and corporate tarot card readers.

Much of what accounts for process failures (or the inability to deliver according to requirements) is a result of what a process ‘absorbs’ along the way. Scope creep, perhaps, but also the human element. We naturally learn during the course of executing a process — and are then inclined to want to include that new information. Does that make our result any better we ask? The more prudent question is: Did we avoid possible problems and roadblocks because we now have insights into what could happen — or what we could do differently?  Adherents to a belief in process intelligence and BPM software will answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”

Traditional BPM solutions provide a discipline and the tools to get from problem to solution. As organizations are becoming increasingly more complex, a tool that helps them derive data and provides intelligence about the processes themselves delivers a major differentiator from other business process tools. Transparency leads to insight which leads to more and better information – and, ultimately, more effective processes.

From initiating business rules to delivering an on-time, as-promised results, BPM software can make a difference. And you will discover that you are not only achieving organizational success, but also that your organization is getting smarter about its processes as well.

— Marti Colwell, VP of Marketing & Business Development

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