Business and the Clock: Workflow and Time

Time can be both the greatest asset and, potentially, biggest enemy, of any business. Failing to meet a schedule or not delivering on expectations can be disastrous. Having insight into your organization’s cadences and applying that information to ‘predict and prepare’ is one of the most important advantages any company can have.

Within the preparation process itself is the need to manage deliverables, activities and actions. One of the best ways to do that is by streamlining and automating the processes that run the company.

Process Director has been developed to address the dimension of time as it relates to meeting the demands of today’s business environment. The patented business process automation software technology, Process Timeline™, gives users the earliest and most immediate notice of potential delays in processes, leading to earlier intervention and fewer surprises. It also offers process owners the ability to examine “what-if” scenarios, enabling them to predict the impact of an anticipated or hypothetical delay in a given process instance.

Analysts at Info-Tech Research gave high praise to this functionality when they said, “…[the Process Timeline] ensures that processes are triggered and executed in the proper order. The Timeline feature also displays all of the project due dates in relation to each other, and when a due date is missed or the workflow is edited ad hoc by a user, the Timeline automatically adjusts and updates itself to reflect the new expected due dates with no additional plug-ins required.”

Process Timeline is unique— and an important part of how we deliver value to our customers. Companies like Starwood Hotels & Resorts rely on Process Director to manage a core business processes: Starwood’s revenue management system. Matt Guglielmetti, an executive in the Operations Group, points to Process Timeline as a major factor in the successful deployment of that system. In this video where Matt explains how Starwood uses Process director, he specifically states, “As a business group, we needed a solution that didn’t require us to write code in order to implement workflows and provide the automation we required. BP Logix Process Timeline was a huge benefit to us. There are currently 100+ steps in our Timeline. At any point in time, we have properties that are at different points in our process (Starwood has more than 1100 properties globally) – and we now know, and can identify, what is happening at any step within that process.”

Our competitors tend to think of timelines differently than we do as is demonstrated in their offerings. For most, timelines are either about: A) How a process is structured, or B) As an element ‘baked’ into an action. In other words, every action is merely added to a time-specified place on the process continuum. There are others who view timelines as a series of milestones best instituted by identifying and establishing repetitive tasks. These vendors believe that at various steps in the process, (some) action should be dictated by a pre-defined set of milestones, events and notifications.

There is value in applying timeline concepts in this way, but it is also limiting. Checklists are helpful to a point. With this perspective, they encourage customers to make their business issues fit within this pre-defined set of potential circumstances.

Other vendors recommend creating processes before any tools are applied. This is not all bad, as it encourages a process-focused mindset— and we are all for that. But it fails to take into account the ways in which a process or solution can change, and how the organization needs to deal with that change.

The biggest difference is that BP Logix views timelines as relevant to the entire process. Each step along the process is subject to the dictates of the Timeline, and can be adapted as the process changes. Within each activity in the process can be entire separate, but related workflows that facilitate the overall process.

A process is very much an evolutionary thing. It must adapt to the changes that occur in the business. Process Director enables non-technical participants to update and change both the Timelines and its processes easily. It empowers the people who recognize problem to be able to affect necessary and relevant changes.

We believe the Process Timeline — and the results it achieves for customers. They attest to the fact that, because of the ability to predict and act, they are better equipped and prepared to be problem solvers. That, in turn, enables their companies to be more successful in delivering results and meeting expectations.