Process Intelligence: The Next Evolution in Business Analytics
Blog: Kofax Journal
Originally published: August/September 2015 of CIO.asia.com
There is an old adage that says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
A survey by the research firm AIIM on more than 150 senior and C-level executives across the globe, showed that many organisations approach their process management in a piecemeal fashion. Less than half (44 percent) of respondents indicated they are only monitoring processes at the departmental level, while 48 percent of respondents said they have no ability to monitor in-house apps at all. When organisations lack the “big picture” view, it intensifies challenges to improve agility, eliminate inefficiencies, and to reduce risk and conditions of non-compliance.
Conventional business intelligence (BI) systems are being pushed to the limit. These tools focus on discrete metric reporting, basic data exploration and trend analysis. While these capabilities are essential for operational management, they were not designed to provide actionable insight into how the business processes are being executed at various points in time, and under different operating conditions.
Clearly, a new approach is needed. And the answer lies in Process Intelligence-the next step up in business analytics.
Process Intelligence vs. BI
Everything executed in a business is a process- from simple activities that can be accomplished in two or three steps to complex processes that may branch conditionally or even loop back on themselves. An understanding of the behaviour of subsets within a business process provides better insight into how well the said process is being executed, and where opportunities for improvement exist.
Process Intelligence (PI) represents the next evolutionary step forward in business intelligence. It combines the power of self-service BI with a built -in understanding of business logic to provide a process-aware BI platform that provides C-level executives with new analysis of key business processes -step-by-step, start-to-finish. It allows managers to visualise and quantify the critical operational business processes that drive their organisation.
PI provides the management with an understanding of their business’ operational performance within the context of the business processes, and let them know exactly how those processes are performing. When seamlessly integrated with core BI functionality, PI will allow the C-suites to discover root cause and other patterns. Key benefits include:
- Gain comprehensive understanding of all their business process steps, such as turnaround time, as well as process execution consistency and compliance
- Obtain timely insight on how processes and the operations they represent are working
- Identify where bottlenecks may exist and resolve issues before they become critical
- Evaluate new revenue opportunities without disrupting existing workflow
Incorporating PI as part of the overall strategy requires planning to ensure that the technology selected aligns with the organisation’s information management architecture,meets the management’s business requirements and supports the way the user community functions. Some critical first steps include:
- Identify the business problem and the individual tasks underlying the process
- Identify the types of documents and information used in the identified process, and by whom
- Map the target process to verify how things are done, and how information flows within the process
- Standardise and automate the processes whenever and wherever possible
- Establish goals and metrics related to process monitoring and analytics
Capturing and representing PI data requires a powerful data integration platform and a sophisticated state engine. This enables the discovery and harvesting of data artifacts left behind in the multiple systems of record and data sources when any process is executed. It also allows for the correlation of this data to specific processes and to the unique task to which it is associated. The final aspect is to present these new process insights as an integrated core operational dashboards and reports.
In essence, PI is not a standalone discipline separate from, but a crucial extension of, business intelligence. The synthesis of PI insights into dashboards, reports and tools enables C-level executives to extend their control and ability to optimise business processes. More importantly, executives can now rapidly identify areas of improvement and predict potential areas of failure using the collective details of who did what when, and in what order rather than a piecemeal approach.
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