DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2009 - (Page 16)

BPM: IMPROVING THE WAY YOU PROCESS Rede ning the New Work ow tymology is the study of words and their history. For a society to function, words have to have meaning that can be consistently used to convey our thoughts. Work and ow are two di erent words that became the compound word “work ow” with regards to manufacturing activities and the operation of production lines. In this use, the reference focused on how an item was produced through a series of value-added steps at various job stations until it was completed. Manufacturers are very focused on gathering data along a production line so that they always know what the performance is at every point. is is essential to determining not only cost but knowing where your bottleneck is when it comes time to ramp up output. When document imaging systems came along, it became necessary to manage the image objects to account for what was being accomplished vis-à-vis the transactions these documents were used to initialize. e marketing machines were cranked up, and work ow as a software application class was the hot item you wanted to be associated with. Suddenly, everything was work ow. e compound word with a long history was becoming meaningless, so much so that the real work ow applications (the ones that accumulated performance metrics) had to ee the term and move on to the now popular “process management” to di erentiate themselves from the now-diluted term. Recently, I have started following a new type of software application that is focused on gathering data about the use of a PC workstation by a person during the course of the workday. While doing so, I started to think, Is this work ow of a di erent sort? While the creators of these products present them di erently, the intent of these applications seems to go beyond simply following the activities of the worker for security purposes and understand what amount of time is expended using which applications available to them. e typical o ce worker has dozens of applications at their disposal, and some cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per seat. It is not uncommon for an organization to have as much as 30% of the software seats they have purchased for a given application completely unused. Products such as Ascentive’s, BeAware and Transformagic’s Intensity Analytics capture information at the workstation level about what the user spends their time on. While BeAware seems to focus more on the actual content of these activities, Intensity focuses on the context of the work and metrics of work activity across the organization. It provides useful tools to analyze what is going on not only at the worker level, but at the operational level. e earliest work ow products focused more on what was happening to the work objects than on what the worker was doing. As the products evolved, data was collected about how many of a given transaction by a given worker was accomplished, but still, the orientation was on a particular set of transactions and how they were accomplished. ese new products are more like a window into a day in the life. Rather than focusing on production tasks such as how many claims were processed, the focus here is on knowledge workers and how they spend their time across all dimensions of daily activity. Understanding how time is spent and how software assets are utilized is extremely important for every organization. Is this the new work ow? Absent a better name and given how the term has been abused to date I say yes. JIM MINIHAN [], a pioneer of workflow and process management, is an acknowledged expert on automation of service sector enterprises and their processes. DOCUMENT winter.09

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2009

DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2009
Ad Index
Editor’s View
The E-Return
Research Desk
I Need Satisfaction
Brief Counsel
BPM: Improving the Way You Process
Content Connection
Talking Transactions
Heads or Tails
The Print Impression
The Hot 10
Document Re-engineering

DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2009