Both systems are considered “tools to help the continuous improvement of business processes”.

“A BPM System” (BPMS*) product line is often categorized as either a ‘Human-Centric BPMS’ or a ‘System-Centric BPMS’. In this section, we would like to look into each product line, their characteristics and features.

  • Human-Centric BPMS
  • Integration-Centric BPMS (System-Centric BPMS)

*BPMS : “Business Process Management System” or “Business Process Management Suite”

Two Regions of BPM

When we talk about “vehicles” for example, a station wagon and a sedan, even though they have a similar purpose, each has its own distictive features. Similarly, ‘Human-Centric BPMS’ and ‘System-Centric BPMS’ have differences about the processes that they manage.

‘Human-Centric BPMS’ is more suitable for “Business process that include many Human Tasks”.

Examples of Human Task

  1. To create
    Creating design image, Business proposal document, etc.
  2. To improve
    Reviewing, Issuing alternative plan, etc.
  3. To judge
    Settlement, Approval, etc.
  4. To convert
    Translating, Fixing layouts,etc

Examples of System Task

  1. To input
    To register a new customer, To record the estimate, To record a sales order,etc.
  2. To reference
    Referring to a master product, To copy the attributes of a business partner,etc.
  3. To update
    Allocate inventory, Updating the shipping date,etc.
  4. To delete
    To erase specific personal information, To erase product record, etc.

In many BPM products, ‘Human Tasks’ in a business process are carried out by the employees in charge who input data into Web forms※.  In contrast, “System Tasks” will be carried out with data transmitted between systems or within a system.
In order to support the continuous improvement of business processes, many products have a feature called “non-programming”.
* For “Web forms”, there are not only browser in PC, but also smart-phone browsers, smart-phone apps, gadgets (widgets), etc. in these days.

 

Historical Background

Business information systems have evolved rapidly since the 1980s with innovations in communication technology and DataBase Management System (DBMS). Today, it is essential not only for large companies, but for small and medium enterprises as well. A variety of information systems support the business activities of today, not only by using e-mailing services or Web Sites for information purposes, but also systems such as “ERP”, “SCM”, “Group ware”, “CRM”, “SFA”, “ECM”,etc.

To illustrate how these systems have helped enterprises, we have the case of “Claims support services”. In the 1990s, it used to take a week or two to fulfill a claim that was received via Fax or post, but now they can be solved in an average of 10 hours by using e-mails and other electronic tools and resources.

However, in Business Process Management activities, which got attention since 2010s, focus on “the flow” of processes done by people and “Business Information Systems”, and tries to improve procedures and resource allocation. That is, to make positive changes in “the Flow” handled by both “Human” and “Business Information Systems” into what it should be, by visualizing its specifications and routes.

In some cases, BPMS must transmit information not only between people, but also between “Business Information System”. For example, when responding to customer complaints. If you need an automatic reference from or to the customer management system or Master Business Partner (without involving people), it must handle data within the “Business information Systems”. Companies usually use “J2EE-based business applications”, which require a BPMS which is capable to communicate with it.

Most of the “System-Centric BPMS” products now a days, have features of “transmitting SOAP” instead of “SOA based” business applications. In the case of “Human-Centric BPMS”, they usually have less communication features with Business Information Systems.

Questetra BPM Suite provides (RESTful) request receiving feature through HTTP and Data throwing feature by HTTP or Email, but does not support communication with an application server using SOAP.

*DBMS : “DataBase Management System”
*ERP : “Enterprise Resource Planning”
*SFA : “Sales Force Automation”
*SCM : “Supply Chain Management”
*CRM : “Customer Relationship Management”
*ECM : “Enterprise Contents Management”
*J2EE : “Java 2 Enterprise Edition”
*SOA : “Service Oriented Architecture”
*SOAP : “Simple Object Access Protocol”

 

Company Effective with Human-Centric BPMS

The ultimate purpose of Business Process Management (BPM) is “to enable an organization to maintain its business processes in an optimal condition”. However, this is not a trivial task since it is not easy to respond to changes in the business environment, and also finding out “how a process should be” cannot be deduced overnight. Therefore, the only way to make it possible is through activities that improve the issues that can be overcome one by one.

As is true for everything, to set the “goal” is important. To recognize the target is the only way to “achievement”. It is true as well in Business Process Management (BPM). “Number” and “Deadline” should be set as far as possible.

Example of target setting on BPM Activity

Business Process Definition (Process-Aware)
To visualize the procedure as a workflow chart regarding the three internal company operations.
Business Process Definition (Process-Aware)
About workflow chart, to list more than 10 procedures to improve
Repeated Measurement (Coordinated Process)
To bring down the time required to answer customer complaints, to reduce from an average of 10 hours to an average of 5 hours
Total Governance (Cross-Boundary Process Mgmt)
To coordinate Automation as much as possible for group processes in the area of sales / production / delivery / billing, etc.
Total Governance (Cross-Boundary Process Mgmt)
For the Complaints Responding Flow, to assess incorporating authorization by other departments if necessary.
Change Measurement (Goal-Driven Processes)
To be able to forecast the number of increasing inquiries when increasing the number of telemarketing staff
Change Measurement (Goal-Driven Processes)
To shorten the period for quote submission by changing the approval process track or changing the maximum discount limits.
Optimal Adaptation (Optimized Processes)
To be able to change the estimation process monthly according to the difference between the profit progress and the annual profit plan.
Optimal Adaptation (Optimized Processes)
To list possible setbacks and prepare a change scenario for each case.

 

For a company that is starting to implement BPM activities, as described in the “Business Process Definition (Process-Aware)” above, it is important to formalize in the correct granularity starting from the processes that are most influential on the business profitability. It’s also important to measure the series of processes as a “Repeated Measurement (Coordinated Process).

At this time, if the processes are mostly carried out by people, the implementation of the “Human-Centric BPMS” should be considered.

(Other characteristics of companies that highly effective with “Human-Centric BPMS”)
  • Small number of business processes compared to the business scale
  • Frequent changes in business processes which directly linked to profits
  • Less dependence on IT departments when updating business process (Led by business section)

The future of human-centric BPMS

BPMS products have been equipped with many tools, among them, the following three features are indispensable.

  • Modeling Tool
    Drawing business process definition
  • Workflow environment
    Web form entering work result
  • Monitoring Tool
    To visualize the progress of the work and the amount of work processed

If the product is built with concept of making fast and smooth on business process “Modeling”, it provides variety of advanced features that extend Modeling, such as sharing the screen of the editing process model with multiple parties, or to survey over computer chat to employee who actually executes Task, or can change even operating process, and so on.

On the other hand, if the product is focused on “Monitoring” detail of business progress, it provides variety of advanced features that extend Monitoring, such as alerting with enclosed advanced error detection (BAM) when an imbalance of speed of Sales / Production occurred, or to launch confirming process when sequential orders of high-ticket items came from similar email address.

Questetra BPM Suite is a product that provides “Workflow” environment for better smooth processing. And suggests the advanced features to extend Workflow function, such as recording Business data which cannot be formalized, in “Discussion-type data”, or handling ad-hoc tasks with “In-house Micro-blogging” such as sudden investigation.

(Other characteristics of Features)

  • Cloud Based
    Unnecessary effort and cost of system operation / Can be accessed from anywhere
  • Mobile Accessible
    Can processing even out of office
  • System Integrating
    Integrates data easily with existing business systems
  • API Development
    Original apps available such as controlling sensor devices or copiers

*BAM : “Business Activity Monitoring”