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What is process intelligence and how important is it to BPM?

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What is process intelligence and how important is it to BPM?

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  • I have always thought that the next step after getting your business processes under control would be business intelligence. Gathering information about your processes and presenting results in a meaningful way.

  • Probably there are again many definitions for this term.

    In some earlier posts I talked about the different levels I see in process improvement. To me intelligence is the information needed to make those cycles happen.

    In the operational cycle you might need some information about the amount of cases in your progress, the progress etc. This will give you an idea whether you can deliver all your promises or not. But be aware; why have a speedometer if you don't have a brake or a throttle. This operation intelligence is useles without the ability to act (agility). It is information needed to manage the process.

    On process level you need information about the process performance itself. What was the percentage delivered too late. What is the percentage of complaints.

    Depending on your process strategy you probably know what information tells you about the performance of your process. It is information needed to improve the process.

    And be aware; The average European is 1.12 meters, so don't get fooled by useless information!

  • I am in agreement with Scott. It is the next obvious benefit of a BPM initiative. If well constructed and implemented, an automated business process should be a source of great informational value to process experts.

    With empirical data now easy to obtain, the work of perfecting and tuning the process can begin. The information gained through process intelligence should position one to better understand how efficient and effective the process is actually running. With better understanding comes inevitable changes to the process and the cycle begins anew. This ease of change and immediate implementation of the change(s) are one of the most tangible benefits of a BPM platform.

  • I've written about process AI before, the usual talk of "intelligence" is always about business MI derived from processes which is backward thinking.

    There was a recent article on ArsTechnica relating to a project where a computer creates a set of videogames entirely from scratch.

    …this process is evolution, not learning. “Just like evolution in nature, the process isn’t really conscious of the overall direction it’s moving in. At each step, Angelina has a set of games to consider, and all it has to do is choose the best of this set, and combine their features together to make a new set,” Cook said in an email. Unlike, say, IBM’s Watson, every time Angelina wants to create a new game, the system has to start from scratch again.

    Now it got me thinking about ACM and/or DCM (whichever term you prefer to throw around). If we dig around a few posts from the experts, folks like Max Pucher state that ACM is “not just runtime dynamic changes, but Just-In-Time creation of the process and resources WITH embedded learning, which means that knowledge of a previous case can be automatically used by people in a later case or process.” In further posts he links Complex Business Events to process and ACM which go into more detail which I won’t elaborate on here.

    The problem I have with ‘business rules’ being an inherent part of some BPMS is that they start to constrain process decision making and flexibility, but having a set of AI routines that not only adapts on the fly (or JIT) but also learn and potentially create a brand new process instance out of evolving from previous instances in the same or a variant way Angelina does surely will enable a more dynamic enterprise model to emerge too. Using Process Mining techniques to harvest the information that IT holds dear about where the actual process execution lies within could really be harnessed.

    Could it be possible that this intelligent BPMS (God I sound like Gartner, shoot me) is far more emergent and where we need to be than just a set of analytical screens and real-time dashboards that they suggest ? Where’s the (r)evolution in that ? It still requires a person to conduct the analysis itself, make the changes. What if the system itself started to make those tweaks, or even suggest incremental or wide-scale changes ?

  • There are a couple of ways to see process intelligence and would depend on whether your BPM initiative is an automation exercise or is human processes.

    In automation, business intelligence is about rules (sometimes called policies) that react to data conditions (often expressed as events). From simple pattern matching to more complex forward chaining and champion/challenger rules, these require someone to code to make things happen, at least the object models, data connections and behaviors. This was hot ten years ago but is now fairly straightforward.

    The second set of rules that often are overlooked are the context for why workers do what they do. They can be process inflection points, checklists, or pathways. It is more complicated because it involves understanding the conditions that the complex human mind needs to recognize and work through. Much of what goes wrong in business happens when companies don't pay the right amount of attention to this meaning of 'rules'.

  • Process Intelligence. Sounds far better than Processes Stupidity - which is what most processes in companies seem to be.

    Here's a great clip from comedian Andy Parsons on how combining poorly thought out processes and dumbed down customer service staff is a disaster. BTW Find somewhere where you can laugh out loud.


  • Without Process Intelligence, all you have is wallpaper and a lot of time and resources allocated to pretty pictures. The problem is..... that's what the majority of organizatons have done. It doesn't matter whether it's automated or not. It's still possible to have a lot of pretty pictures in a tool!
    Having said all that, the reality is that Process Intelligence is like a lot of other concepts related to process, it normally only comes with process maturity. Most organizations don't know that they don't have it.

  • The promise of BPM is control, visibility, accountability, and optimization. Control is a factor of business rules governing who does what, when and how. Rules are baked into workflows as well as forms and Web Services to ensure operational effectiveness, data validity and compliance. As users interact with BPM applications, the apps capture data about usage. Forms also capture data about the business. Between workflow interaction data and form data organizations have lots of information to use towards business analysis and process optimization.

    Process Intelligence is when and how organizations use this data to ananlyze and understand trends and organizatonal efficiencies in order to improve operations, increase sales, etc.

    What I have seen is that many organizations are good at putting information into BPM applications, but not very good at getting the information out.

    Most BPM users have process intelligence available to them. BPM vendors are working hard to add new functionality that helps users quickly and easily create reports and dashboards.

    Remember, success is built on good product, good people, and good project management. Most vendors provide good product. Now vendors, as well as customers, need to do a better job at making their users/team smarter in applying process intelligence.

  • Process Intelligence (PI) separates the kiddies from the grown-ups. There are plenty of benefits to simple process automation, and if that's the goal, you can do it inexpensively with any number of tools.

    Beyond automation, though, there's substantial value yet to be mined through examination and improvement. Two main areas jump to mind:

    • Process Improvement takes advantage of the data accumulated over many process instances to identify and improve any parts of the process that could be made more efficient, more reliable, or more compliant.

    • Execution Optimization provides data (even predictive data) about a running process instance, enabling the process owner to take timely action if (or even before) things go awry.

    PI is vitally important if you want to manage and improve your processes over time. If you just want to automate and walk away—as the value you created slowly deteriorates—then I suppose you can do without it.

  • Process intelligence is a must have for business now. Real time knowledge of what is happening in the business that empowers people, improves efficiency by highlighting problems but also ensures compliance.
    The intelligent process should be a capability in tool that builds the application. This has two aspects
    1. The intelligent process that automatically takes users to the next steps that are built to suit completed actions/decisions.
    2. The other is where a task type is dynamically created dependant upon the evolved circumstances –
    Such capability should be on any BPM agenda.

  • Processes are increasingly social, unstructured and dynamic. It relies more and more on human decision-making instead of have pre-defined workflow logic. This is typical of knowledge worker processes and decisions are now central to the process.

    Making good process decisions relies on experience and good information. Process Intelligence gives contextual information to these process decision-makers to enable them to take better actions. The contextual information can be derived from external “Line of Business” systems such as ERP or CRM solutions to show, for example, the current budget, expenditure and commitments for a specific GL code. It can be more sophisticated and include external (web services) data such as weather predictions plotted against delivery routes or it can be based on process mining to assist with “Next Best Action” guidance.

    The more processes become “knowledge style” vs “factory style”, the more it will rely on human decision-making rather than automated workflow decisions. The more processes rely on human decision-making the more it will rely on Process Intelligence.

    Process Intelligence can be as simple as embedded BI and as sophisticated as predictive analytics. In the end, it will help drive those process goals or KPI. That in itself is also Process Intelligence.

    Intelligent Business Operations is the next evolution for business process (if you follow to Gartner) and it is essentially the start of the convergence of BI and BPMS to have better BPM.

  • in this thread alone you can find several definitions of what process intelligence is supposed to mean. That is the whole problem with the BPM paradigm ... no one knows what it actually does to the business but it is all in the anectodal evidence. Everyone does it so it must be good, ...

    If a process has been designed perfectly, process intelligence makes no sense at all, because all process variations have been predefined and designed. With perfetly designed processes predictive analytics are actually nonsense, because you alsready have predictive processes, so why analyze something to predict something. In this sense process intelligence is an oxymoron! So we could at best be talking about service level monitoring if you are hitting the exepcted time and personal cost reductions as intended. Not intelligence ...

    If it is matching resuls of business intelligence that delicers KPI values with process definitions then one needs to have a very detailed definition of which process is resposnible for which KPI. How often have you seen this? REALLY! Well, I haven't seen it. Tell me I am at the wrong businesses and give me a list of ten businesses who do it and I will call them and change my opinion and openly pour ash on my head. All I have seen is self-fulfilling cost cutting ROI calculations for the first year after the processes were defined ... and then?

    Well, we could be talking about process mining which really happens before you have a process defined and I have posted my assessment of that on my blog.

    Theo already mentioned my approach (thanks!) which makes only sense if you are actually linking a business architecture & strategy definition with targets and goals and then let people loose to create those processes on the fly. Now you need some real-time monitoring of whether you are getting your well defined process goals (and later KPIs) achieved. In ACM this is done by measuring goals and in Papyrus we support the performer by analyzing successful action patterns in real-time! Immedaite NECT BEST ACTION! Remember, in BPM usually you define a flow but not a goal so you actually can't figure out if you are hitting a goal or not in real time. Often the goal is a perception so it is analyzed by customer feedback! Which means that to get process mining going in orthodox BPM you need an additional customer communications and experience layer so that there is something to mine! in ACM that is part of the collaboration!!! Process flows do not guarantee outcome but you are doing it anyway and then you want to do complex process mining to figure out if they have been good enough statistically? How short-sighted is that? As I said elsewhere, you wont learn how to drive a car by GPS monitoring of driving routes and doing it with more cars doesn't improve it either. So much for big data, big process and intelligence and mining ...

    And then as Peter mentioned there is knoiwledge work and decision making and you can dump your flowcharts and process intelligence and mining right there ..

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