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In order to make policy enforcement more effective and reduce or eliminate the execution gap (or policy execution gap), organizations need to find ways to automate many of these policies and business decisions. Otherwise, not only are they being made manually, but they’re probably being made inconsistently and not always in ways that support the global policy statements. Clearly, companies differ on the level of automation they both need and have, but in general, the vast majority (perhaps even upwards 90 percent) of ALL decisions (granted, that’s ALL decisions, across the company) are NOT automated.

While this leaves just a small number of decisions and policies that have actually been automated, it’s not surprising, given that there’s a cost to each automation. For most companies, it’s simply been too costly to automate all the majority of their business policies and decisions, and simply cheaper to hire good managers and (hopefully) good employees that can interpret and implement corporate policies effectively in terms of their day-to-day tasks. In many instances, it’s not simply automating a set of decisions or rules that costs, but the on-going changes that make such automation impractical when the total costs are considered. Simply put, automation and change cycle costs have been too high.

Although organizations could potentially dramatically increase their agility and lower the gap between changes in corporate policies and the implementation of those policies, without the right types of solutions, it’s been too costly to consider. However, with technologies such as BPM and business rules, it is possible to consider much broader automation of business decisions and polices than ever before. And broader automation of decisions not only improves their enforcement but lowers costs, since automated decisions are typically faster than manual ones. More importantly, from the process execution gap perspective, the automation of business decisions and rules creates and enforces more consistent decisions.

In fact, operational risk can also be reduced, if consistency improves. For example, if an organization that used to use manual decision points to define which claims should or shouldn’t be paid, they may be losing money paying claims that should not be paid, or opening themselves up to litigation if they don’t approve claims that should. By automating the associated decision process using BPM and business rules, an organization can not only gain greater consistency in the approval process as well as reduced risk from eliminating the in accurate and unpredictable manual decisions.


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