While the process movement, under the BPM moniker, has been successful in terms of financial returns, agility, collaboration, and innovation, more will be expected from processes. Organizations are showing confidence by expanding the impact and scope of processes. This may be as wide as value and supply chains or aggregating end to end processes that leverage tactical processes in aggregate. These wider scopes present challenges of technological and political interactions that have not been tested to date for most organizations. This article will help with the technical side.
Here are the technical areas that face organizations that are trying to deliver an end to end process where there are existing assets and resources to leverage in a larger and combined context:
Most organizations are not blessed with an integrated architecture that caused all processes to be managed by one BPM technology. This may mean that several process engines will have to leveraged to complete an end to end process. It maybe a master process management engine that surrounds all sub processes or it could be hand offs from one sub process to another. Another complication is that all the resources orchestrated by these processes need to be aggregated, shared and coordinated in all the contexts they currently play in today and tomorrow. This is a level of complexity that is new to most organizations.
Processes have to have ways to surround, integrate and integrate legacy and purchased applications. These are the most common resources that processes leverage today and this can be a challenge to surround and leverage. It also may be specific portions of an existing application. Those organizations blessed with a SOA or an Agent Architecture will have a jump start on those organizations that don't have either architectures in play.
Processes that have to have direct access to data sources without purposed services or agents prebuilt to assist the process are challenged to gain access to pertinent data. Those organizations that are blessed with an established or emerging "big data" strategy will have an advantage over those organizations that do not where data access will be done opportunistically.
Process that have on in-flight and on demand analytics available are able to them have better advantage than those processes that are flying without analytics assisting the process participants. Organizations that have a decision management architecture that can combine analytics in a real time poly-analytics fashion will have advantage over those who leverage analytics opportunistically
Processes that can't sense the surrounding context they are running in, the kind of process instances(cases) and the patterns that are being emitted in and around the end to end process are at a distinct disadvantage. Organizations that have an events architecture that can sense singular and complex events across large scopes will be at better advantage than those who do not have a plan.
Process that can depend on a policy and rule management architecture will be in a better state with managing agility that those that do not. While individual agility levers are helpful, the real business advantage comes with policy management that can work in both proactive and reactive modes. Organizations that have a policy/rule architecture will have an advantage.
Process and all the resources within a process need visibility into progress across the complete scope and context, This will include integrating dashboards, scoreboards, work-lists, progress towards goals and links to desired business outcomes. Organizations that have an architecture for business visualization, goal tracking and work environments will have a distinct advantage. Work environments would include the mobile and cloud experience.
There are a lot of moving parts to creating a large scoped "end to end" process. These are just the technological issues that need to be considered, so the management and political issues actually can loom larger. The payoff, however, will be large in customer satisfaction, speed to leverage agility and higher revenue per hour worked.