C1 - The Challenge of Process Discovery - Verner (BP Trends) - 05.2004

C1 - The Challenge of Process Discovery - Verner (BP Trends) - 05.2004

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BPTrends May, 2004 The Challenge of Process Discovery (c) 2004 Laury Verner w ww.bptrends.com 1 The Challenge of Process Discovery Laury Verner CTO, ProActivity Inc. Abstract Capturing and understanding your organization’s business processes is a critical step in any business process initiative, but one that is often performed poorly, if at all. The history of business is replete with discovery failures and successful but extraordinarily painful efforts at process discovery. These failures are generally the result of a mix of causes: perceived lack of value, insufficient resources, faulty methodology, or inadequate tooling. This paper discusses the concept of process discovery. It explains why discovery is needed, compares several methodologies in current use, and describes how discovery can yield valuable insights for automation and business improvement initiatives. Prologue To motivate the ideas we will be discussing, we’ll begin by relating three true stories of companies who faced business process discovery challenges. Story 1 Recognizing that they wanted to be a more “process focused” enterprise, a New England Bank decided to do something about it. They selected a team of their best business analysts and chartered them to interview employees and capture the bank’s current processes. As the summer began, the team was enthusiastic and was making remarkable progress. As the weeks progressed, however, more and more time was going into managing documents, drawing and re-drawing diagrams, reviewing, correcting, checking interdependencies, and ensuring consistency. Despite the wealth of documentation produced, it was hard to get a sense of the big picture and the team was unable to draw actionable conclusions. There was little time left for analysis and by the end of the summer the team disbanded. Few meaningful insights for the enterprise were achieved. The project was killed by its inability to scale. Story 2 Over time, processes grow to reflect the organizational structure of a company. Take the case of a large computer company. Its processes for web content management were a mirror of its divisional structure. They had a separate web-content management process for each division. This came to be recognized as a problem, not only in terms of cost efficiency but also in terms of quality. This became embarrassingly clear to management when a competitor’s product was featured on the company website. A team was formed to correct this problem. They were faced with a threefold challenge: how to discover the five parallel processes; how to compare these processes and converge them to a single company-wide best-of-breed process; and, finally, how to generate the detailed functional requirements for the web-content management application. Story 3
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This note was uploaded on 03/09/2011 for the course INGENIERIA 111 taught by Professor Jorgevera during the Spring '10 term at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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C1 - The Challenge of Process Discovery - Verner (BP Trends) - 05.2004

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