Table of Contents
1Table of ContentsChapter 1 - Introduction 3Chapter 2 - Extending Existing Applications 8Chapter 3 - Improving the Customer Experience 11Chapter 4 - Achieving Greater Responsiveness 16Chapter 5 - Managing Unstructured Processes 19Chapter 6 - Justifying the Value of BPM 21Chapter 7 - Getting Started with BPM 24Chapter 8 - About Oracle BPM Suite 28Resources 322
Whether it's taking orders, onboarding employees, closing the financial books, or interacting with customers, just about everything we do in business involves a process. These processes are essential to the operation and often the basis of what differentiates your organization. However, because these processes involve multiple people, departments, and applications they often have inherent inefficiencies. Eliminating these inefficiencies and improving the processes are high priorities because they impact so many facets of the operation.
Market leaders in every industry create, manage, and improve business processes using business process management (BPM) systems. BPM technology can help them achieve operational excellence, reduce risk, increase margins, and improve the customer experience.
The Impact of BPMVideo: Just as a soccer team wins matches by synchronizing the movements of its players, Oracle BPM Suite improves business processes by synchronizing the flow of information and coordinating the activities of the workforce.Watch the Video (3:54)3
BPM technology can be used to model, automate, measure, and optimize business processes across organizational divisions, systems, and applications. BPM is proven to make business processes more efficient, agile, and transparent."Oracle BPM Suite bridges the gaps in our processes. The tools are readily available to both business and technical people."Graeme Dunlop, Solution Architect, University of Melbourne4
Video: University of Melbourne Improves Efficiency with Oracle BPM Suite.Watch the Video (2:20)
Let's examine how BPM can help increase efficiency, visibility, and agility in organizations.
Application silos create "process white spaces" in your organization—areas where workflows and tasks fall between the cracks, obstructing a basic process or goal. Often these areas involve non-standardized activities such as creating e-mails and spreadsheets, and verbal communications. Lack of standardization leads to process inefficiencies and makes it difficult to track or audit results.
BPM helps business managers make their operations more efficient by defining end-to-end processes that cut across silos to eliminate white spaces and automate nonstandardized activities. It also empowers managers to design optimized processes and eliminate bottlenecks and redundancies. By simulating real-world activities managers can construct optimal processes that achieve desired business goals.5
By sharing data and connecting information systems, BPM provides visibility into processes that span multiple departments and functional domains. It also facilitates troubleshooting and can help determine the answers to questions about the stage of the process, the performance of the team, and the score on a key performance indicator via real-time dashboards that are fed by data from business activity monitoring.6
Most businesses are dynamic. To effectively automate these ever-changing business environments, your software applications must be dynamic as well. BPM allows you to modify your applications quickly in response to changes in the business. Rather than waiting for an application upgrade or a process update, you can update your process definitions quickly and continuously, then deploy new versions of those processes in minutes.
In the remainder of this e-book you will learn how a modern, intelligent BPM system can make your company more efficient and your workforce more productive. And you will discover industry best practices as we help you plan your BPM journey at the strategic and tactical levels.7
Companies typically use many different applications to run their businesses. Despite this emphasis on automation, functional white spaces remain, forcing many of these organizations to perform a variety of manual tasks. BPM systems automate these tasks and fill process gaps by integrating and orchestrating end-to-end processes that span many different applications.
As the University of Adelaide discovered, using BPM technology to enhance essential business functions is easier and more economical than trying to adapt core applications with extensions and customizations. BPM has enabled the university to enhance its Oracle's PeopleSoft applications with a new layer of business logic that spans multiple applications and can be changed quickly as business needs dictate.Video: Learn how the University of Adelaide simplified IT with standard ERP applications and customized middleware.Watch the Video (1:31)8
"Our systems are easier to use and maintain going forward."Chris Owen, Manager of Application Services, University of Adelaide
Extending enterprise applications with BPM has several key benefits.
9Webcast: Astute companies extend existing applications with Oracle BPM Suite.Watch the Webcast (48:35)
- Process white spaces created by disjointed applications are filled
- The number of customizations to core business applications is reduced
- Existing applications are extended with a versatile layer of business logic
- The enterprise gains modern capabilities such as social and mobile technologies
Let your business applications, including Oracle and non-Oracle applications, do what they were designed to do: streamline operations and automate core business functions. If you need to add new capabilities or integrate two or more applications, use BPM technology to orchestrate these disparate activities into a unified process. Avoid making unnatural and persistent changes to "force fit" your legacy applications with customizations. Instead, as your business evolves, rely on model-driven BPM processes to enhance existing applications and link disparate processes in a cohesive, cost-effective way. As the University of Adelaide learned, it is much simpler to change your middleware than it is to change the logic inside your ERP system.10
We live in a highly connected world. When people purchase goods and services they expect to have an easy, frictionless experience no matter what channel they choose for their interactions—mobile device, e-mail, Web portal, or social network. Meeting these expectations means delivering consistent messages and unwavering service quality from each department and channel. Customers also want personalized experiences. They expect you to understand their needs and offer relevant, personalized products and services. The "one-size-fits-all" approach to customer service simply doesn't work anymore. You must learn to understand the particular needs of each customer and ensure that their experiences meet their expectations.
Unfortunately, many fundamental business processes are too rigid and disjointed to adapt to these new demands. If your systems aren't integrated across channels and the associated business processes can't access up-to-the-second data about each customer's history, you may start losing traffic to competitors. Your applications should adapt to your customers rather than expecting your customers to adapt to your applications.
With BPM you can combine the social and mobile technologies that ensure an excellent customer experience.11Screencast: The New Business Imperative: Social, Mobile, CloudWatch the Screencast (8:12)
How can you ensure that your applications have visibility into all systems, departments, and channels? By using BPM as the unifying fabric you can orchestrate business activities across systems, departments, and channels as well as remove process inconsistencies and inefficiencies. For example, you can align your marketing, sales, and services groups by creating a BPM workflow that structures the customer lifecycle with appropriate handoffs from one department to the next and adds systematic updates to all associated business processes.12
BPM lets you create guided workflows to seamlessly route orders, service requests, and trouble tickets from one department to another, along with the associated customer records.
Great customer experiences also depend on great employee experiences. BPM-based applications eliminate "swivel-chair integration" by creating a unified interface that empowers employees to offer knowledgeable, efficient service in every situation.13
Customers frequently share information about your company, products, and markets via social networks. They may also reach out to you directly via applications such as Facebook and Twitter. Making social channels a part of your process allows you to engage customers both directly and indirectly as you resolve their issues and discover new product ideas. For example, a customer tweet might kick off a help desk process or initiate a product enhancement request.
Social capabilities such as discussion threads, activity streams, and chat sessions are useful tools for collaboration and innovation—both within your organization as well as with customers and partners. Integrating social capabilities into your business processes facilitates collaboration by giving everybody more opportunities to interact.
Mobile devices let people access corporate applications and complete tasks while on the go. In this "always-on" world, customers expect to be able to make a purchase, report a problem, or accept an offer from anywhere, on any device. Most new software applications not only leverage these mobile devices, but also can use calendars, GPS devices, and other onboard apps to make contextual decisions and recommendations to users. This rich arsenal of functionality not only influences what products are offered based on time, location, and previous activities, it also opens up a new world of interaction between you and your customers14
For example, a customer can file an insurance claim at the scene of an accident and include pictures taken with a mobile phone. Personal information, time of day, location, and other essential facts are filled in automatically, streamlining the customer experience. BPM technology allows you to utilize your existing software assets, infrastructure, and skill sets, and extend them for the mobile world.
Improving the Customer Experience
Customer needs and business requirements change with time. Capturing information from within an organization as well as from established social networks can provide new insights to improve your business processes, deliver a better customer experience, and provide targeted offers based on each customer's history, preferences, and location from moment to moment. You can also intercept minor issues and take action before they escalate into significant problems.15
Many of today's businesses are always open—customers interact continually, from wherever they are. To compete in this dynamic marketplace you not only must be available when your customers need you, you also need to be alert to the opportunities of the moment. You must be able to recognize the unique potential of each interaction and be ready to make a targeted offer or resolve a particular issue based on location, recent history, and current circumstances. Success depends on how responsive and informed you are, as well as on how quickly you can react to new and emerging events. Volatility comes in many forms.
- Change in regulations
- Change in competition
- New products and services
- Customer issues
- Change in company policies
Video: Learn how one of Europe's largest telcos used Oracle BPM Suite to manage time, collect feedback, and boost productivity for its contracts department.Watch the Video (3:11)
Real-Time Visibility with Business Activity Monitoring
Business activity monitoring (BAM) software can monitor internal business processes, but often you also need to monitor external events, correlate consequent details, detect patterns, and make decisions based on evolving market forces and the nonstop interactions of your constituents. A unified monitoring solution helps you maintain a complete picture of each situation so you can take action effectively. You can use BAM technology to monitor progress, track performance, meet service-level agreements (SLAs), manage exceptions, and issue alerts when a process is not functioning properly—all in real time. BAM works hand-in-hand with BPM software to reveal the significant activities that drive business success.17
Real-Time Sense and Respond
BPM technology uses a logical, step-by-step approach to structure a business process. Each step in the process can be informed by the previous step, as well as by any other step, data, and pattern of behavior deemed relevant. This finely tuned structure enables a "sense and respond" mode of operation. Once a luxury only for highly evolved, mission-critical business systems, it is quickly becoming the default for many types of business systems. Managers can create automated business processes that define, correlate, and monitor events—issuing alerts, sending notifications, and spawning other processes as necessary.18
We've seen how BPM can help you design more-effective business processes. Of course, some processes defy precise definition—they are unstructured in nature and the correct sequence of steps can't always be determined in advance. Such adaptive processes often require ad hoc collaboration as a situation or case unfolds. Examples include welfare services, insurance claims, dispute resolution, and grants management.
The advent of self-service Web portals adds more variables to these unstructured business processes since knowledge workers and caseworkers must respond to input from customers and clients. The execution path cannot always be determined in advance because human judgment and external events can alter the flow of tasks, information, and insight.
These business processes require ongoing coordination of knowledge and human resources. In addition, case workers and knowledge workers often need to observe corporate and regulatory policies while making decisions about rights, entitlements, or settlements.19Webcast: Bruce Silver WebinarWatch the Webcast
Oracle BPM Suite includes adaptive case management capabilities to accommodate these unpredictable, long-running business processes, many of which require investigation and collaboration. As an integral part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family, Oracle BPM Suite includes content management facilities, Web portal development tools, agile business rules management capabilities, and complex event processing functions. This mature technology platform lets you add work, include collaborators, trigger events, and alter a workflow during the execution.20
Obtain Executive Sponsorship
To expand business process management into a successful program you need strong support from business managers and executives. BPM impacts how you run your business and align processes with corporate strategy. It also influences how those processes are linked to each other and how they impact company objectives and individual management by performance goals.
Start by defining the roles and responsibilities of the process improvement team. Identify the process owner, the business analyst, the program manager, and the IT leads for each BPM initiative. Make sure they know how to use the tools and have systems in place to work collaboratively.
Achieve Quick Wins
Your BPM journey may start with a point solution, but huge value comes from enterprisewide initiatives. Select a small process as a pilot that can be delivered in 90 days. This will allow you to experiment as you become familiar with the BPM tools. Make sure that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities. Learn from the first project, refine the BPM methodology to meet your needs, and then move on to more critical or complex endeavors.27
Oracle BPM Suite is the industry's most complete and business-friendly BPM solution. It simplifies the design and implementation of all types of processes and workflows, empowering business users to take control of process-improvement initiatives. The suite includes all the technology you need to create, document, and modify business processes in a nontechnical manner, as well as implement, execute, and monitor end-to-end processes.
Oracle BPM Suite is built around a series of intuitive, GUI-based tools. For example, as shown in this video of a car booking scenario, the Business Process Composer feature makes it easy to define business processes that eliminate bottlenecks and optimize core business activities. In conjunction with IT professionals, business users can create rules to enforce business policies, define UI forms, discover business services, and incorporate business data to complete implementation.28
Oracle Process Accelerators are business process solutions that can be deployed as is or extended to meet specific requirements. In addition to increasing time-to-value for BPM deployments, Oracle Process Accelerators embody best practices and serve as blueprints for developing process-driven solutions with Oracle BPM Suite. These out-of-the-box assets help you achieve your process management goals faster and with lower risk.
Webcast: To learn more about the power and potential of Oracle Business Process Management Suite 12c for your business, join our webcast: “Introducing Oracle BPM 12c - Intelligent Adaptive Processes.”31