By Gabrielle Button at December 09 2018 14:06:25
In the last few years a lot has been written about Business Process Management, and about technologies supporting it such as BPMS, SOAP and Web Services. Most of these theories, tools and techniques refer to processes of a highly structured nature. Typically, BPM theorists and practitioners have focused on highly structured processes, like back-office processes of industrial or administrative nature. These processes are highly standardized and repeatable, produce a consistent output and are likely to be automated in part or end-to-end (STP).
Knowledge workers carry out these processes by taking into account multiple inputs (generally a wide set of unstructured data and information) to perform difficult tasks and make complex decisions among multiple possible ways of doing the work, each one implying different levels of risk and possible benefits. They are dependent on individuals and it is not possible to automate them. One example of a knowledge process is "Marketing a new product". The same steps are followed each time a new product is launched (benchmarking competitors, deciding pricing strategy, planning promotion, etc...), but it is the experience, knowledge and intuition of the people that drive the process to success.
That is, they are increasingly becoming part of the basic circuitry of computers or are easily attached adjuncts, as well as standing alone in special devices such as office payroll machines. Many different applications algorithms are now available, and highly advanced systems such as artificial intelligence algorithms may become common in the future. Artificial Intelligence (AI), a term that in its broadest sense would indicate the ability of an artifact to perform the same kinds of functions that characterize human thought.
If the process is instantiated frequently and the instances are homegeneous, it is possible to create great process models that dramatically increase the efficiency of the process. The best way to ensure process improvement is to generate an environment in which people are motivated, enthusiastic and passionate about process management. Most of the time, knowledge processes are collaborative. By performing a process collaboratively it is possible that each task is carried out by the most specialised, experienced and knowledgeable worker in that specific area. Having a net of relations within the organization is a very important asset for people executing knowledge processes.
It is a good idea to choose a champion for each tool who will master its use. Assign owners to processes Choose a person with leadership skills and the appropriate level of responsibility and influence and make him/her accountable for continuous improvement of the process. Give him/her a clear objective to achieve and an incentive to reach the goal. Encourage feedback for process improvement To ensure that the flow of information between executors and the process owner is fluid, encourage people to contribute to process enhancement through incentives. Use your imagination to reward contributors (consider not only monetary incentives).
It is usual that knowledge processes take the form of projects to manage their execution. If the output of the process is a unique product, managing work as a project will result in obvious advantages. There are certain guidelines that can help an organization willing to improve their knowledge processes: Provide process description on how to approach work Try to figure out the best way to carry out a knowledge process, by making the best practices existing in your organization (or in your industry) explicit. Publish process definitions in a format that is easy to consult and understand. Provide tools that facilitate and standardize work Decide which tools are best to help knowledge workers carry out their work. Involving all affected knowledge workers in the process of deciding which tools will be used is very convenient, in order to obtain user buy in.