The old way:
Most organizations model and manage their business processes. Business process analysis and business process management systems (BPMS) helps organizations focus on an end-to-end set of activities that deliver business value. There are many benefits of a business process focus – consistency, improved customer experience, reduced costs and increased agility. However many business processes quickly become complex impeding the desired benefits.
In our work with clients we see two specific ways in which processes become complex:
- Most business processes involve decision-making. When organizations try and capture this decision-making in their business process the result is a complex process with many branches that make it hard to follow and hard to change. Embedding decision making makes the process complex.
- Some organizations try to use business rules to address this complexity but the business rules are spread throughout the process. This node has a few rules, that node has a few more. While this can remove some of the branching complexity it adds another kind of complexity as the rules rapidly become hard to manage.
The new way:
More and more organizations are streamlining their business processes by explicitly identifying the decisions in their business, extracting the logic of these decisions from their processes and managing it as part of the decision. Keeping decisions separate but linked makes the process simpler and easier to manage. Including Decision Management (decision discovery and decision modeling) in your requirements approach alongside Business Process Management is key.
Focusing the business rules that need to be enforced on the specific decisions made with those business rules makes them much easier to manage. When these extracted decisions are automated using a business rules management system and embedded analytics, the rate of straight through processing increases and smarter business processes result.
There’s one final benefit of managing business processes and decisions as peers. Because decisions can now be changed more often than the processes that need them, and because they can be changed without impacting your processes, the whole system becomes more agile. When a change only affects the process it can be made quickly and easily to a simpler process. When it affects only the decision it can be made without touching the process. Few changes require a change to both so most changes become simpler, easier and faster for an overall increase in agility.
Tip #1: Manage business processes and decisions as peers for simpler, smarter and more agile processes.
Don’t forget that Decision Management Solutions is exhibiting at Building Business Capability 2013. We provide a complete set of consulting, training and software support for Decision Management to position you for short- and long-term success with business rules and big data analytics. Come by our booth (P8) and meet me and our VP Consulting Gagan Saxena. For more on decision management:
- Learn hands on about decision modeling in my workshop: Modeling Decisions: Put Big Data Analytics to Work Improving Results (Tuesday)
- Don Perkins and Doris Kimball have a presentation on A Practical Approach Using Decision Management and Decision Modeling at The Principal Financial Group (Wednesday)
- I am speaking on lessons learned and best practices modeling decisions in aerospace, banking, insurance and healthcare (Thursday)
- There’s a panel discussion on decisions from the business perspective (Thursday)
- My book “Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics” will be at the bookstore and I will be signing books and answering your questions (4:20pm on Thursday)
- Learn how the new Decision Model and Notation Standard will make it easier to model decisions and share the results at the panel (Friday)