Person-to-system packages make up the second category of BPM. In essence, these are designed to improve the productivity of clerical workers or people involved in repetitive tasks. An excellent illustration of this is found in the insurance industry, where clerical workers - who have very little discretion in the decisions they make - process claims. There is very little knowledge work involved in claims processing, as employees make binary decisions that have very little, if any, variation. For example, the amount of money that a policyholder would receive for a damaged car is based on pre-set values established by the insurer’s actuaries, and claims processors do not have the latitude to deviate from these parameters. In essence, person-to-system BPM is ideal for work processes that do not require individuals to make knowledge-based decisions. These packages tend to use a “checklist” approach, in which a defined set of information must be collected before a rules-based decision is reached.
Person-to-system BPM has its place, but it serves a finite need in the marketplace. The percentage of the American workforce involved in clerical or purely administrative work has slowly decreased over the last several decades, and now only about 11 percent of employees fall into this category. As a result, the need for systems that facilitate interactions between computers and unskilled or semi-skilled workers is not really the future of BPM innovation. On the other hand, more than half of the U.S. workforce is now comprised of knowledge workers - people whose knowledge, experience, judgment and innovation are critical to organizational success. Enhancing the productivity of these employees is the single most important opportunity organizations have to reduce their costs and increase profitability, and person-to-person BPM provides the framework to accomplish this.