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Achieving Rapid Success with Business Process Management

Companies today are faced with pressure from corporate executives, stockholders and competitors to achieve more with less—higher revenues, increased profitability and stronger productivity—from all departments. Few companies have the ability to effectively manage their disparate business systems—such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), human resource management systems and homegrown applications—to streamline their end-to-end business processes. In addition, companies must examine their business processes to identify and eliminate extraneous procedures or bottlenecks in order to achieve maximum operational performance.

Business process management (BPM) technology is critical as companies strive to achieve the following process-related benefits:

  • Connect and integrate with existing ERP and line-of-business systems. By seamlessly linking existing corporate systems, companies can efficiently manage their end-to-end business processes and extend those processes to anyone, virtually anywhere;

  • Accelerate business processes and reduce associated operational costs. Identify and eliminate business process bottlenecks—resulting in increased employee productivity, and reduced labor and processing costs; and

  • Decrease transaction cycle times. For complex, time-consuming processes such as invoice approvals and application processing, include all necessary participants in the process—ensuring both internal and remote users have quick access to critical business processes.

Key Components of a Successful BPM Application

The strength of a successful BPM application lies in its ability to provide a combination of sophisticated, open workflow tools requiring little or no customization, with flexible, scalable integration tools for extending the functionality of third-party business systems. Comprehensive business process management applications, such as Stellent® Business Process Management, can enhance overall connectivity of business processes, breaking down organizational, technological and geographical barriers through powerful components:

Graphical Process Building and Modeling

A graphical, easy-to-use electronic process builder is the cornerstone of a successful BPM deployment. This tool must allow users to visually model, create, update and maintain electronic workflow processes that automate and enhance existing business systems and processes. The application requires the ability to create enhanced integration when necessary, without the need for programming or scripting. In addition, once the entire process is created, the BPM application should create the complete database structure needed to implement the workflow.

Customizable User Interface Employees participating in their organization’s automated processes require a workplace that is easy to use, configure and deploy. Successful BPM applications provide Web applications for viewing and working with business documents and information to accomplish tasks and process transactions, such as loan approval, claim evaluation and payment execution. The user interface must provide secure access to information as well as to the tools necessary to complete business tasks. And, it should be customizable based on specific job roles or functions within the organization.

Real-Time Process Monitoring and Reporting

As volume and complexity of business transactions grow, a flexible electronic process monitoring tool is critical to facilitate tracking and reporting on the flow of business processes. BPM applications must provide comprehensive monitoring tools for graphical, real-time reporting that provide supervisory personnel with the ability to view the work completed by all resources including users, groups of users and particular functions within the business process. Supervisors should be able to constantly monitor and manage the system, including the ability to load-balance and eliminate bottlenecks through reallocation of work—all in real-time.

Integration Tools for Linking Existing Business Systems

Enabling companies to expand existing systems with extensive process control and document access capabilities is a critical component of business process management. ERP and line-of-business systems effectively handle back-office functions such as accounting and database reporting, but companies must be able to manage entire transactions and effectively access and interact with supporting data and documents. An effective BPM application delivers the necessary tools that allow users to capture, route, store and retrieve critical transaction information while dynamically managing the entire range of back-office processes from a single desktop.

Implementing a business process management solution can have a strong positive impact on your organization. Your organization can achieve the following efficiency improvements and rapid, ongoing success:

  • Identify and eliminate business process bottlenecks;

  • Decrease transaction cycle times;

  • Empower internal and remote users with quick access to critical business processes;

  • Monitor work activity and achieve a productive workload balance;

  • Allow employees to do more with less through streamlined processes;

  • Extend processes throughout ERP and line-of-business systems;

  • Reduce operational costs; and

  • Improve your bottom-line results.

Business Process Management At Work

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. implemented Stellent Imaging and Business Process Management to streamline its accounts payable (A/P) business processes and integrate with its enterprise business system. Personnel across a wide variety of departments—A/P, credit, accounting, purchasing, human resources, customer service and finance—access and use the system.

Stellent technology enables Milwaukee to capture electronic images of invoices and automate various stages of the approval cycle. As invoices arrive, they are labeled with bar codes and scanned into a repository. Based on information in the barcode and established rules, the system then automatically sends the invoice to the appropriate A/P employee. By simply clicking a button, A/P personnel automatically bring invoice data into the enterprise business system.

Next, invoices are e-mailed to the right managers for approval. If approvers don’t respond within 10 days, the Stellent solution—which is integrated with Lotus Notes e-mail—automatically sends an e-mail reminder for the request of data.

Now Milwaukee has an exact record of when approvers receive invoices and how many invoices each manager has in queue for approval. In situations where there is a question about an invoice, A/P staff can select an option from a drop-down menu that specifies the problem, such as “quantities don’t match.” Based on the selection, Stellent automatically creates an e-mail with text addressing the identified problem, and sends the e-mail to the appropriate manager for review.

Managers throughout the company can view, search and retrieve invoices. This capability gives managers the freedom to access invoices and their status anytime, without relying on the A/P staff to look them up.

Greater Efficiencies

Milwaukee’s A/P solution, in combination with the company’s enterprise business system, has enabled Milwaukee to save time and money at multiple points in the A/P process. The company has realized the most dramatic boost in efficiency in the process of transferring data into the business system. With 1,100 invoices processed each day, that adds up to more than three hours saved daily.

With new speed and efficiency infused throughout various stages of the process, Milwaukee has achieved a shorter invoice processing turn-around time and, as a result, has actually accelerated by 20% the number of invoices in the queue for checks to be cut each month. “Invoices don’t sit around on people’s desks very long. They move to the next stage. We are definitely processing more promptly than in the past,” said Mike Inkmann, inventory and investments manager for Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.

The Stellent BPM Solution

Through flexible, scalable business process management technology, Stellent Business Process Management enables the automatic routing and management of transaction information such as purchase orders, claims, invoices and applications. Stellent BPM helps businesses expand the corporate environment to anyone virtually anywhere, streamlining work steps and improving communication between all users.

Stellent increases business process efficiency for a variety of applications, including: human resources; financials (accounts payable and receivable); claim and benefit processing; travel and expense reporting; clinical trials; student loan/application processing; mortgage processing; order management; and records administration.

The Stellent BPM solution increases efficiency in numerous industries, including: retail; financial services; investment banking; government; healthcare; insurance; manufacturing; pharmaceuticals; and telecommunications.

Stellent, Inc. is a global provider of content management software solutions that drive rapid success for customers by enabling fast implementations and generating quick, broad user adoption. With Stellent, customers can easily deploy multiple line-of-business applications—such as Web sites, call centers, dealer extranets, compliance initiatives, accounts payable imaging and claims processing—and also scale the technology to support enterprise-wide content management needs.

Stellent, headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, has more than 3,500 customers and maintains offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Robert F. Olson, Founder, President and CEO of Stellent

Robert Olson is one of the industry’s earliest promoters of electronic publishing applications in the United States. In the mid-90s, Olson was quick to capitalize on the technology shift from electronic publishing to emerging Internet applications by founding Stellent, Inc., a Web content management provider. He led the company in establishing a market presence for its first Web-based product offering, and in 1999 Olson spearheaded the launch of Stellent Universal Content Management, a new class of enterprise Web application software. Stellent is now considered to be one of the world’s leading providers of enterprise-class content management software.

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