People, documents must tie in with BPM

Business process management should be integrated with people and documents, as well as Web 2.0 tools, to be relevant, says BPM exec.

The integration of business process, people and documents plays a key role in business process management (BPM) deployments, according to a senior executive from BPM provider Global 360.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Bhavesh Vaghela, the company's head of international marketing, said 80 to 85 percent of a company's operations involve these three elements.

"There is a huge requirement for the ability to manage those types of processes but there is still the large unknown of how people interact," said Vaghela. "For instance, how do we make sure that this document or application gets processed as quickly as possible?"

"Why is this understanding important? We need to process this very quickly so you can generate good customer service. Fundamentally, it's about providing good value to the customer," he said.

According to Vaghela, the global recession will help drive BPM. "In the last ten years, organizations are used to growth such that they are growing fat and inefficient. Now that their markets are down, all of the sudden, they have to understand how to cut costs internally."

He noted that managing cost is about managing business processes more efficiently.

"Historically, business process management is about reducing the steps in a process, reducing the amount of people that are involved and reducing the operating cost," said Vaghela. "But, not many people have thought about what the experience of interacting with different processes looks like. For example, how can we change the experience of the person who's working to make them more productive?"

Global 360 believes BPM is not about taking people out of business processes but making people involved in these processes more productive. Vaghela said: "If you have a process that is very people-heavy, document-heavy and complex, the only way it works is that all those three elements work together."

He added that Web 2.0 tools deployed for business purposes, or Enterprise 2.0, will play a role in these elements. "If you look at Enterprise 2.0, it's about collaboration and being able to do your job more efficiently."

According to Vaghela, the future of Enterprise 2.0 lies in corporate mashups.

"What people are doing now is they are interacting with multiple systems to get their job done. People have to work with so many different systems that they become so inefficient," he noted. "What a corporate mashup does is bring all those different system into a screen."

He added that Global 360 is building user interfaces "specifically designed with what the users need to do".

Creating systems that are user-friendly is critical for organizations. "One of the problems in business is training people [to use] new systems. If you put in a system that people are [already] used to using, if they're used to the look and feel, it makes it a lot easier to use and it makes your returns on investment higher," he said.

This requirement is becoming more important especially as younger generations enter the workplace, he added.