Having the ability to monitor your business processes will afford many opportunities to improve the flow of tasks in your organization. Through regular monitoring of this data, you will be able to update and streamline the day-to-day operations of your business, saving time and effort on the part of your workers and allowing you to pass the savings on to your customers.
BPM Software Solutions
Most BPM software solution include a user interface for creating new processes, a workflow engine that operates in the background and keeps your processes running smoothly, a manager for editing workflow rules, a business activity monitoring system, and web integration. Ideally, all of these tools are customizable to allow your management team as much control over your business processes as possible. One viable solution you might already be using is Microsoft SharePoint. According to the University of San Francisco’s online resources, Microsoft SharePoint includes the following features:
- Basic BPM tools to control, improve, and evaluate workflows
- Three different workflow development methods
- pre-made processes
- visual process design
- ability to custom-code processes
- Web services integration
In addition, Microsoft tells us that this solution only costs $5 per month per user. Another software option for business activity monitoring comes from Red Hat and is a cost-effective solution if you already run an open-source work environment. Looking here, we see that the Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite can do the following:
- Graphically represents business and process metrics
- Draws data from a variety of sources
- the BPM execution engine
- a JDBC data source
- a flat file
- a combination of sources
- Focuses on monitoring processes from multiple sources
And here, we see that it can:
- Create, test, deploy, and monitor business processes
- Automate critical processes
- Customize events and rule processing
- Graphically monitor business processes
- Easily accessible to the largest number of users
- Higher overhead required to control and disseminate information
- Limited flexibility in reporting and maintenance
A spreadsheet might be the most cost-effective option, but it is a much more complex solution than what you might expect. The shallower learning curve for spreadsheet software makes the biggest obstacle to your implementation be the complexity of building and maintaining the spreadsheet itself.
Adding versioning software to control access to your spreadsheet is a good step in maintaining the integrity of your BPM workflow. Using a spreadsheet adds overhead, however, as the files themselves should be accessed by as few people as possible. Regular off-site backups are important to prevent data loss in catastrophic circumstances. Using a spreadsheet also limits the dissemination of information, so this solution would require comprehensive reporting software, either custom-built or purchased from a third party vendor.
Using Organizational Structure
- Fits with company’s existing structure
- Requires strict upkeep of job descriptions and document libraries
- Limited flexibility when updating or maintaining models
Software solutions are not always a viable option. In such a case, each department in the company’s roster has its own processes and duties, so the organizational structure of the company itself can be used to determine the business processes.
This is a straight-forward solution that brooks no question as to who is responsible for what. It requires that the company’s organizational structure be reasoned out and well-documented in order to keep confusion to a minimum. Specific descriptions of jobs and duties are required for this type of organizational scheme because everyone has to know his own tasks and how those tasks fit into the specific workflow of his department as well as the overall workflow of the company.
Currently, there are no perfect solutions for monitoring business processes. With such a large variety of options available, choosing the proper business process monitoring solution depends on your organization itself. If you have a robust networking infrastructure, use a software solution. If saving money is key, then a spreadsheet might be best. Other methods are ideal if your company already has a good organizational structure.