Business Performance Management Meets Business Process Management

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Interest in business process management (BPM) continues to accelerate. Users increasingly offer the right responses to questions about their interest in BPM technology. Despite good business drivers, however, many companies struggle to get started. Too often, the business leaders can't agree on what it means to be 'adaptive' or 'more efficient.' Until business leaders agree on process and performance goals and quantify metrics that reflect these objectives, any BPM initiatives will be investments in technology for technology's sake. An organization's cultural transformation takes place when business process improvement initiatives are linked to corporate performance management objectives. Linking business performance management (BPfM) and BPM initiatives creates a closed-loop feedback mechanism between the enterprise's performance goals and its operational execution. META Group describes the intersection of business process and business performance management strategies as process analytics. Creating a closed-loop feedback mechanism requires deep integration of operational processes with decision-making processes. Tying process analytics into a hierarchy of performance metrics is the key to correlating operational processes to BPfM goals.To get started with process analytics, line business managers responsible for process outcomes, should identify process milestones to be monitored. Software agents are required to capture real-time transient process data at these milestones. These data are the inputs for process performance metrics that managers can use to analyze the progress (flow) of work and information with respect to overall process improvement goals and business performance impact (see figure 1). By applying business intelligence (BI) functions to this real-time business event data in the context of the process, process participants can adjust in-progress business transactions and events for improved outcomes.By combining real-time process data with historical data and using pattern matching techniques, managers will begin to anticipate business events that will impact the process. Distinguishing real-time information that is actionable rather than just interesting helps to optimize processes over time by eliminating the number of exceptions.Although process analytics represents a growth opportunity for many vendors, user implementations will be extremely challenging through 2009. EAI and ETL vendors, BI vendors, application suite vendors, and major infrastructure platform vendors each bring relevant yet incomplete expertise to these requirements.Given these challenges, users should closely examine their critical business processes to understand where process metrics and analysis will provide value. In the short term, implementations will require multiple best-of-breed technologies to be customized into a holistic approach.


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