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BPM: not just for workflow-An intelligent enterprise platform

This article appears in the issue January/February 2018 [Volume 27, Issue 1]
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At the local level

When the city of West Allis, Wis., wanted to reinvent itself to attract new business, the local government recognized it had to change the way it interacted with citizens and businesses. Basic steps in opening a new business, for example, were time-consuming, inconsistent and inconvenient. Wanting to expedite those processes, a team evaluated several BPM options and selected Process Director from BP Logix. The choice was based in part on its flexibility and ease of use, because one goal was to enable process owners to modify workflows as needed.

A factor that slowed down the launch of new businesses in the city was the length of time it took to get business licenses, which is the first step a company must take. “Previously, two to five days were required to schedule the inspection of the proposed business site,” says Ed Lisinski, director of building inspection and neighborhood services for the city. “Now that we have an automated system, they are scheduled online and applications can be received at any time including weekends and after hours. Processes are being run at all times of the day, not just during business hours.”

Being able to offer paperless permitting, real-time reports and tie business occupancies to other processes has made a significant impact. “One new business owner called it the ‘wow’ factor,” Lisinski says. “The city can interact with property owners online. When a building owner wants to replace a furnace or air conditioner, we can issue the permits in minutes, and we avoid having to use clerical staff time to input the applications.”

The system includes a survey capability, and the feedback has been uniformly excellent. “One small business owner wrote us a long and enthusiastic email, having been so impressed by the city’s new approach,” Lisinski says. “And although it’s hard to prove a causal relationship, we were very happy to welcome a new company, a manufacturer of high-end millwork, which will be bringing about 100 new jobs to the area.” Lisinski is optimistic that BP Logix Process Director will sustain the digital transformation of West Allis in future years.

“This shift in orientation is typical of organizations that realize they are behind in transitioning to the digital world,” says Scott Menter, VP of business solutions and chief strategy officer at BP Logix. “They don’t want just a better workflow for invoice management but also a platform for developing and enhancing critical business applications.”

The Process Timeline in Process Director allows users to list a sequence of events and then put constraints on them, such as the order in which they must take place, a limited timeframe or the dollar value of a transaction. “When a business platform provides the transparency needed to tie together multiple systems of record and convert them into various types of engagement, whether customer or employee, goals can be achieved and measured,” Menter says.

The term “business process” has a very back-office sound, Menter points out, but he sees a major change in how BPM systems are actually being used that goes beyond that scope. “At this point in the evolution of BPM, companies are trying to build engaging applications, which generally are combined with data or records of some type. Then they add the rules that are used to direct the business,” he says.

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