Study: Companies struggle to capture business processes

By Stacy Cowley, IDG News Service |  BPM, business process mgmt

Horizon graphically modeled its bill payment process, and in doing so discovered workflows that didn't make sense, like the two different payment processes that had evolved for handling claims from two separate but similar clients. After four months of work to develop formal processes and configure RulesPower and their bill payment application to follow them, Horizon rolled out the first phase of its revamped processing system in July. Horizon's initial goal was to have 20 percent of the bills it handles pass through its system with no human intervention. On day one, it began automatically processing 40 percent.

Training both the business and IT staff to think in terms of rules and processes has been challenging, but the results are dramatic, Oliveira said: Because Horizon Casualty is now processing in real time bills that used to take days to handle, it has discovered bottlenecks in its system it hadn't known of before. Oliveira is now working on addressing those bottlenecks, like delayed claim authorizations.

"The greatest thing you come away with is understanding your processes better than you did before," he said.

Delphi Group's Palmer said his firm's survey is aimed not at offering solutions, but at identifying pain points, so that managers like Oliveira will be conscious of the role business processes play and of the advantages of formally defining and documenting requirements. The survey, targeted toward IT managers at organizations of all sizes, can be completed online at http://www.questionpro.com/akira/TakeSurvey?id=185741.

"People have been throwing around statistics for a long time about huge failure rates on software system projects, but companies are still investing in and building on software," Palmer said. "We're looking at the root causes of why the failures are so widespread."

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