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Note: This is Part II. To read Part I, click here.

Technology-Aided Processes

The BPM discipline increasingly leverages technology-aided definitions to facilitate business process excellence and rapid deployment. BPM technology helps you rapidly embody business processes in software -- a salvation for line of business managers, process managers and business analysts, who need to respond to ever-changing business processes. Once business logic, process flow, and business role updates are captured in software, business managers can immediately roll out updated business process definitions across multiple regions, departments, and business units.

Business processes embodied in software enhance distribution of updated processes and include process consistency, governance and adherence to regulatory compliance without extensive training. Business managers reach their constituencies in an organization with comprehensive process updates by updating their process applications, which deliver the updated business process definitions. Technology allows for much faster deployment of process definitions than manual methods guided by memos, training manuals, or directives from headquarters. Also, companies can deploy the updated process definitions as widely as necessary to gain an advantage.

Business Users and Business Modeling

BPM technology lets line of business users represent their thinking, ideas, and business models in the form of standardized models in a unified notation. So, BPM technology appeals to business users with its modeling and analysis components. Process models are more than just a graphical representation of workflow. They deliver great benefits. Process modeling is the intersection between business users and technology; it becomes a critical skill for line of business managers to successfully run their projects. Modeling skills are becoming as important as spreadsheet skills were in the '90s because the benefits will drive organizations to demand this skill from their knowledge workers.

Process modeling helps standardize communication. For example, IT process models represent shared understanding. Imagine a process model where boxes are defined as a process step and the process step is precisely defined as an activity, which has a predecessor and a following activity, representing the lowest abstraction level atomically or as a compound. An entire organization would view a box in a flow diagram the same way; business managers would express their ideas using the same representation. A certain process diagram alleviates misinterpretation, reducing the error rate and promoting a certain business idea. Additionally, standardized communication provides the first step in process governance, a highly important factor considering regulatory mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley and other industry-specific regulations.

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