A business is, among other things, an assortment of activities that are intended to produce profit-generating products and services. To arrive at the successful goal of delivering those products and services, a company has to rely on a myriad of actions, events, resources, and decisions. As economic demands require companies to move faster, and as technology creates a more efficient way to adapt, organizations need a way to coordinate and manage the different, but related, recurring tasks that form the foundation of a business. The vehicle for these management efforts often come in the form of a workflow engine.
Workflow Engines vs Intelligent Process Modeling Engines
At its core, a workflow engine is the technology used to apply logic and rules to move operations toward completion. At BP Logix, the thinking is that while that is all fine and well, generic workflow is far different from applications driven by an intelligent process modeling engine— one that uses automation, can adapt to changing business needs, and is able to apply the concept of time to help users predict a path for better outcomes.
Those are precisely the reasons for developing Process Director. With organizations operating in a continuous, non-linear world, Process Director employs a process modeling engine that goes beyond workflow to unify different business elements into models that can be executed to derive more efficient processes.
Legacy Workflow Systems: The Enemy of Productivity
The enemy of productivity isn’t just lack of action, it’s waste. It comes in the form of wasted time, wasted effort, and unnecessary resources that don’t apply to the intended solution. Legacy workflow systems hand information and documents from one actor to the next, all with the presumption that each decision point was arrived at with all the necessary data needed to make an actual decision. As workplaces and systems have gotten more complex with multiple digital input channels and a working style that prizes collaboration, old style workflows cannot rely on the standard style of handoff. As a modern solution for transformative enterprises, Process Director uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to incorporate predictive analytics and create not only seamless processes, but ones fueled by informed, data-fueled decisions.
A Workflow Engine Heading Where?
Popular author and researcher Brene Brown uses a concept called, “what does ‘done’ look like” to emphasize that there are many ways to arrive at the completion of a task, but it requires all parties to be on the same page about what they’re trying to accomplish. Process Director uses Process Timeline™ to enable the aggregation of different viewpoints and methods, and arrive at an agreed-upon goal. We get a sense for this through the element of time, a major component missing from the standard workflow engine, that is heavily leveraged by Process Director customers in a variety of vertical markets.
Traditional BPM focuses on quality and business process governance, but adding a modeling engine with business process automation capabilities (along with the predictive element of time) gives the user the ability to see how later process stages will be affected by the previous ones. This adds huge value to the managed process by allowing the earliest possible notification of potential delays to allow intervention before timeline problems arise.
Beyond Review and Approval
In most workflow engines, there is a review and approval step in place, but it doesn’t answer questions about the specifics of completion. These questions are of huge importance to management, because while it may be great to know you are on track to hit a specific goal, it is still important to know what is currently happening. It is similar to comparing the act of looking at a transaction in a register to discover errors, rather than simply looking at a monthly profit and loss statement. This is where Process Timeline within Process Director can establish a continuous assessment of, and application of actions for, the direction of where the process will move in its effort to guide processes forward.
With a process modeling engine that uses predictive capabilities, simple models can be created to help businesses go from discovery to full automation faster, yet more intelligently. Process Timeline gives each activity with its duration estimate to create faster processes. Activities can run at the same time, without complicated coding to configure parallel behavior. The status of the entire process, as well as sub-processes can be determined at a glance, which allows for proactive response and the earliest notification of potential delays to allow for quick intervention. When confronted with similar ‘tasks of parallelism’, standard workflow engines tend to stumble.
A Predictive Workflow Engine?
The predictive nature of Process Timeline is such that it identifies potential problems in the course of the process, and can trigger actions to the changing circumstances. This results in obstacles being overcome before deadlines are missed or production halts. Process Timeline records predicted execution versus actual time, every time the process runs and adjusts the time estimates for even better management. Process Director stores every aspect of the process for audits, internally or externally, for improved compliance.
Today’s workflow engine takes a very different form: with a foundation that combines IT process automation with BPM software solutions, Process Director provides a codified way to deliver timely, effective processes for organizations of all types.