Defining business process intelligence
Put simply, business process intelligence refers to the data an organization can access about the way their business processes operate. In and of itself, this data is interesting, and may shed some light on an organization's business operations. However, the true value lies in how it can enable effective use of business analytics.
In other words, business process intelligence really comes into its own when it can be used to analyze an organization's process landscape. This analysis leads to the process optimization that can result in real improvements to a business, as well as enabling bigger-picture changes like digital transformation and the pursuit of operational excellence.
The first step: process modeling
However, before we examine business process intelligence in more detail, we must remember the truth all process owners live by: everything begins with the process model. The continuous documentation and improvement of daily processes is a crucial way of ensuring that business models work and that customer requirements are considered paramount.
End-to-end process diagrams illustrate tasks and responsibilities, give information on the costs and risks of working processes, and provide clarity and consistency to business users. They are the first step towards an agile organization. As a result of process documentation, daily operations can be optimized, compliance requirements can be adhered to, decision-making improved, and risks within processes reduced.
You’ve documented your processes. What now?
Before an organization decides to implement a BPM software solution, the justifiable question, “What do we get out of this?” will most likely arise. Clarifying responsibilities, presenting the process workflow in a transparent way, and making costs and risks visible to all; these things offer added value to an organization, but what does modeling business processes achieve beyond the initial mapping and documentation of the workflow? How can their potential for optimization be analyzed, and how can it be redesigned more effectively?
The answer lies in the combination of process documentation and execution. Working together, these two elements help you develop your current state or as-is processes into the processes you envision them to be. Business process intelligence is, therefore, also the result of a cycle in which documentation and execution mutually influence each other.
If mistakes are found in the implementation, these can be quickly adjusted in the documentation in order to arrive at better results, often even in real-time. Conversely, if process diagrams are optimized, the execution will also improve.
Recognizing what influences your processes
There are many aspects which influence a process, from business rules, to external regulations, to the capability and capacity of the company IT systems. A process is therefore not simply something linear, but is subject to influences day-to-day and in real-time. For example, when decisions within a process are consistently being made differently, even when the conditions underlying each decision remain the same, some of these decisions must of course be false, which implies there is something else affecting the outcome of that process.
With this in mind, we can now refine the term "business process intelligence" even further, beyond simple documentation and process execution. It can also mean information about how these influencing factors are taken into account. Ideally, these intersections (and potential bottlenecks) will be visible in your process platform, and can then be dealt with as a routine element of your organization's usual BPM framework.
Interfaces and integration lead to intelligent processes
Recognizing the influences on your processes, then attempting to represent them through your process platform, can lead to a legitimate question: "Won't my process landscape become too complex with the abundance of influencing factors?" Of course, not every employee has to involve themselves with every influencing factor, but interfaces (such as ERP systems or business decision systems) should definitely be available for those stakeholders who need it. This is equally true for the analytics that go along with each interface, like how and when each one is used, and by whom.
Essentially, processes and operational decisions should not be modeled in one diagram, which would be too detailed to be useful in practice, but should be managed within one platform. Modern BPM tools should be able to guide and analyze processes and decision-making in all manner of dimensions, and go much further than the basic process level. The same goes for IT systems. Then, depending on the stakeholder and the level of access required, users can navigate between these levels.
Get the most out of your processes with Signavio
With SAP Signavio Process Intelligence, you can make better decisions, faster. Analyzing your system processes allows you to see the gaps and variants between the intended business process and what you actually have. The faster you can access and understand these BPM analytics, the faster you can determine and apply the changes that will make a real difference to your business.
If you'd like to unearth the truth about your processes and make better, data-driven decisions based on the evidence found within your organization’s own IT systems, download your free guide to a successful process mining initiative. Or, if you're ready to get started, why not sign up for a free 30-day trial with Signavio today.