Business process management with Doxis4
Unlike in production departments, automation does not necessarily help to increase efficiency in day-to-day office work. Companies have to think carefully about whether a process should be automated or not. Automation is only truly possible in cases where the sequence of routine work can be described in detail, for example auditing processes and invoice approval. However, processes that involve humans having to make decisions should not be restricted under detailed process models. Here, “knowledge workers” need to keep the upper hand in order to be able to make assessments and provide instructions based on their knowledge and skills. The knowledge work falls to the person. Automation is often too inflexible and elaborate to reflect the complexity of reality. For example, decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis for complaint management cases, damage cases and for application selection. In cases like these, forcing knowledge workers to stick to process models is not useful, does not motivate employees and does not help to improve profits!
Companies therefore need to use another process model other than automation: one that does not focus on the process but instead a “case” for which a goal has been set. A case can be the customer, a project, an order or a complaint.
To help you distinguish between cases, Business Process Management differentiates between “normative” and “adaptive” BPM. Both sub-disciplines of Business Process Management can be found in corporate practices in equal measure. Normative BPM, also called “Production Workflow”, addresses processes where the course of action can be determined in advance, while adaptive BPM, also known as “Adaptive Case Management”, “Ad-hoc Workflow” or “Smart Process Applications” (according to Forrester), supports any activity carried out by the knowledge worker processing a case. This distinction is also described in the following definition issued by the EABPM (European Association of Business Process Management): “Business Process Management (BPM) is a systematic approach geared towards capturing, designing, executing, documenting, measuring, monitoring and controlling both automated and non-automated processes in order to meet the objectives that are aligned with a company's business strategy. BPM embraces the conscious, comprehensive and increasingly technology-enabled definition, improvement, innovation and maintenance of end-to-end processes.”
When it comes to selecting new software, you therefore have to make sure that your next BPM solution combines both disciplines within one architecture. Just like Doxis4 BPM! While business theory talks about adaptive and normative BPM, the Doxis4 iECM Suite refers to Task and Business Process Management, reflecting the practical nature of each discipline.
BPM as a component of the Doxis4 iECM Suite
Doxis4 BPM is an innovative new business process management system and an important component of the Doxis4 Enterprise Content Management Suite. Integrated within a homogeneous, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and based on a shared ECM platform (Doxis4 CSB), documents, records, process instances and work items use a standard metadata base (RBDMS) and shared core services (security, replication and transport, etc.). Using a single client, you can carry out and administrate archiving processes, manage documents, and manage tasks and business processes. Documents, records, process instances and work items interact with one another. For example, documents and process instances are a contained in records. And in turn, records can be used to trigger process instances and work items.
Unlike middleware-based and integration-oriented BPM systems, Doxis4 BPM is a so-called “integrated ECM & BPM” system. In contrast to middleware-oriented BPM systems, Doxis4 does not require any additional SOA in order to integrate the BPM into the application environment. Doxis4 BPM supports all areas of a company, from corporate development and organisation to the individual departments and IT. This helps you to model, manage, administer, optimise and execute both ad-hoc and standardised document-based business processes independently. Doxis4 BPM can be used within individual organisational units, within a company and across an entire group of companies. One of the most common and well-known uses of BPM within an organisational unit is for the checking and approval of invoices. For example, company-wide workflows can be used to process work items.
More room for manoeuvre
Doxis4 BPM is no longer only used for standardised processes (“doing by design”) with fine-grained workflows. Many corporate processes are unstructured (“design by doing”) or can only be structured to a certain extent. This is known as case management. Case management sees employees holding more responsibility and having greater room for manoeuvre, which in turn has a positive effect on motivation. It is difficult to foresee how these processes will evolve and what the final outcome will be. The employee responsible for the process must always use his experience to decide how to proceed and who else should be involved in the case in question.
It often takes companies a while to identify which processes can be standardised and which cannot. Once the process has actually been performed a few times, it becomes easier to see that the same steps are performed every time. Doxis4 BPM enables you to transform processes that used to be planned and performed on an ad-hoc basis into standard corporate processes. Doxis4 unites both concepts, enabling you to model processes and providing you with a concept for combining “run-time” and “build-time”.
What it has to offer
- Integrated ECM & BPM
- Routine processes (automation) and knowledge work (ad-hoc processes)
- Low processing and completion times
- More transparency in business processes
- Higher level of service
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Ad-hoc workflows vs. standard workflows
The term business process management has a lot of different layers to it. There are also a number of names for BPM: workflows, business process administration, processing, or simply process management. Business process management distinguishes between standardised and non-standardised workflows. When it comes to differentiating between types of non-standardised workflows, the term “adaptive case management” is used to refer to case management, while the term “task management” refers to ad-hoc processes. The boxes on the right describe the differences between the two terms.
- Design by doing
- Process and outcome cannot be predicted in advance
- Cannot be automated
- Employees decide which activities need to be carried out
- Doing by design
- Organised process that can be planned in advance
- Can be automated
- Activities are related to one another
Doxis4 BPM and task management
The Doxis4 iECM Suite is an integrated ECM & BPM solution and supports both structured and unstructured business processes in equal measure. Structured processes can be standardised and automated using Doxis4 BPM. Unstructured processes (where process participants and objectives are not clear in advance) on the other hand can be implemented on an ad-hoc basis using Doxis4 Task Management. In turn, ad-hoc workflows can be turned into standard processes thanks to successful business practices. To make it easier to distinguish between these concepts, the following boxes describe the differences between the two basic Doxis4 options.
“Design by Doing”/ad-hoc workflows
- Ad-hoc work items and process instances that are managed on a situative basis
- Process instances without process models
- Ad-hoc planning for work items
- Option to fine-tune work items into sub work items
- Flexible search for work items / work items lists in workbaskets and process instances
- Process instances as document portfolios / support for document-based routing
- Definition and logging of decisions
“Doing by Design”/model-driven
- Definition and implementation of process models
- Two process engines: “Statecharts” and “Dependency Graph” (dependencies between work items) like in project management / Gantt charts
- Support for automated activities
- Combination of “model-driven” and ad-hoc work items through fine-tuning