I find that BPM leaves many of my business friends asking so what. I think there is a lot of value here. Let me begin with a simple example from a team with whom I recently met.
Situation - Today all calls, faxes, e-mails, and walk-up visitors come to a "reception desk" where issues are logged. The majority of these issues become work orders.
Complication - These come from a broad geographic area, have to be prioritized, and routed to the appropriate person for follow-up.
Today's Solution - The staff person at the desk knows how to route these based on experience. The staff person also determines if this is urgent and requires a call or can be handled over time and generates an e-mail request.
Automation - The ideal future state that I see includes the following (not all of them likely as a first step):
- Capture faxes via OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and send them directly into the work order system.
- Capture phone calls through an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system that translates voice to text and send them directly into the work order system.
- Publish an e-mail template that can directly populate the work order system.
- Translate the knowledge in the staff's head into rules that determine what is a priority (using some taxonomy) and how to route requests.
- For urgent requests, use an automated outbound message to call people that can be initiated by the system.
- Turn the "receptionist" job from order entry into process manager where they are able to monitor status of requests, see issues, and improve response time.
This is something that only happens with technology. It is important to understand and capture the current state; visualize a future state; and understand how to get there. But, BPM software allows you to begin doing this immediately.