When business processes finally become intelligent
Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes.
Very recently now, in discussions with BPM vendors like IDS Scheer, HandySoft and many others it became very eminent that from the other side, BPM solutions are moving steadily into the field of Business Intelligence too. The world of BPM and BI solutions are converging to bring intelligent business processes to the market – eventually. However, today we are still some steps away from this picture and the convergence of BPM and BI will likely proceed in smaller steps are outlined in the below BI-BPM convergence model.
Today several BPM vendors have actively integrated business intelligence capabilities into their solutions. Larger ones like IDS Scheer have developed their own analytics while smaller vendors like HandySoft are using OpenSorce components offered by JasperSoft and other OpenSource BI vendors. The integration offers users new and consistent insights along the whole business process. A user in this context means both:
a) Business users that are part of the business process get access to relevant information and reports that increase the efficiency of the process, and
b) Business process owners get an insightful analytics of the process metadata to be able to further enhance and streamline the process.
However, this is only the first step of the BI and BPM convergence. In the next layer BI becomes an embedded and integral part of the business process itself. As an example, let’s think of a manager, triggered by an email notification to take some budget decision, and who gets the relevant information and analysis, tailored for his decision, already embedded within the email notification. Each business process step provides the user with contextual, relevant insights, information, analysis or even predictions that are useful to execute the process with highest quality and business efficiency.
And this is not the final stage of convergence. On the top layer business processes will become intelligent themselves. Business Intelligence will guide the business process at every step and trigger the best possible next steps. Based on e.g. the signals from some sensor tagged equipment the process intelligence will decide which spare parts or services to order, which field engineer to schedule or call for a budget decision meeting.
We are closer to intelligent business processes management solutions than you might think. Intelligent systems are already applied to e.g. city infrastructures, communication grids or energy systems – and it has started long ago in the often still human centric world of business processes. Ask your nearest office coffee machine!
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