By Summer Gatenby at October 26 2018 06:20:32
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).
Multiple inputs to the process exist : Some of them would be competition, lifecycle stage of the market, brand image, budget, etc... ; Complex decisions are made : There are many possible ways to achieve the process objectives (reach planned sales, leverage brand image, etc...) ; Each decision implies different levels of risk and potential benefits : It is the responsibility of the worker to choose the best one (low price strategy, aggressive advertising campaign, etc...) ; There are three main characteristics that make knowledge processes different from highly structured processes: Focus is on communication instead of automation.
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.
Process definitions are high level descriptions instead of rigid workflows : Processes can only be defined up to a certain level of detail, and it is difficult to provide low level work instructions or to automate decisions. Because they cannot be formalised in detail, process simulation is rarely possible. Decisions are highly subjective and too complex to be expressed in a formal language, as they are taken based on intuition and not on rigid business rules.