Automated Business Process Discovery (ABPD)
ABPD is an emerging field that discovers the business processes based on examining the electronic footprints the users leave in the IT assets supporting the process. This allows the business process to be automatically discovered and documented in near real time. Approaching the business process 'bottoms-up' from the detailed facts of instances of the process provides a detailed depiction of the business process, complete with all the nuances of the process, complete with detailed statistical information on how often different variations of the process are executed, how long it takes, what data conditions give rise to process variations, and what variations there are between different users or groups).
ABPD delivers the ability to take system data and automatically piece together 'as-is' business processes. It visually demonstrates process exceptions, unusual transactions, bottlenecks, deviations, weaknesses and potential risks in processes.
At a discovery phase, ABPD visualises the 'as-is process' in terms of design, variations and patterns, in addition to calculating process performance information by simply pushing a button. With this, it provides the ability to understand the dynamics of the business processes. This makes it much easier to improve the process and also to automate using a BPMS tool.
By using event logs from a BPMS tool, ABPD makes all the difference if business or process owners need to drill down to an identified problem. ABPD is very strong in root cause analysis as well as in visualising exceptional pathways, which are often cost intensive.
Traditional business process modelling is a costly and time-consuming process. It is vulnerable to human interpretation, lacks business knowledge and objective validation techniques. ABPD overcomes many of these shortcomings.
ABPD is a very useful tool to establish exactly what actually happens in a business process so that bottlenecks and unusual exceptions can be identified and improved. By automating the steps, time and effort, as well as human error, are reduced. If you add the ability to simulate and pass through to a BPMS engine to control in the future, we are talking about serious time saving.
The key trend is for vendors to create special versions and variants of their base product to work against major ERP and CRM products. An example of this is QPR Software's development of special versions of their ProcessAnalyzer for SAP and slaesforce.com.
A number of major SIs, who have practises in business process improvement, are signing joint partnerships with ABPD vendors to develop an implementation partnership around business process improvement using ABPD.
The major vendors in this space are:
- Lexmark (Pallas Athena)
- QPR Software
- Software AG (ARIS)