Making Intelligence Actionable:
Business Process Management
and Business Intelligence
A Savvion Solution Brief
Savvion, Inc. 5104 Old Ironsides Drive Suite 205 Santa Clara, California 95054 | 408-330-3402 | 888-544-5511 | www.savvion.com
Business Process Management picks up where Business Intelligence leaves off—by making
Business executives, IT strategy leaders, and process improvement managers and consultants. Those
responsible for business intelligence or performance management initiatives, as well as anyone using
dashboards, scorecards, and analytics solutions to measure departmental or organizational health.
For more than 15 years, Business Intelligence (BI) has lived at the intersection of people and
data with the noble goal of making people and organizations smarter. The vision of turning
data into intelligence has become a reality for many corporations and groups. Numerous
studies suggest that BI projects deliver measurable ROI. The premise behind the growth of
the tools and the BI category is simple: Information is good.
But, for many organizations, the ability of individuals, teams and departments to apply the
“intelligence” they’ve gathered from BI into an actionable plan or process isn’t possible. The
information companies get from BI projects isn’t matched to the underlying processes that
inform how people work. So, the processes aren’t repeatable, measurable, or captured in any
Most organizations using BI solutions don’t see sustainable, repeatable business improvement
for three key reasons:
• Most functional business line owners don’t know the details of their daily business processes.
• BI metrics and analytics aren’t made actionable.
• Existing applications and systems that track process don’t map to the way people work.
Despite these challenges, companies pour millions of dollars into analytics, reporting,
infrastructure, and systems every year and don’t see full return on their investments. Many
common escalation issues and exceptions to common business rules are handled as one-
offs, in a combination of manual work, e-mail, and meetings. BI awareness doesn’t turn into
action, much less repeatable improvement. The opportunity is to turn that information into
action. This is where Business Process Management (BPM) picks up and BI leaves off—by
making intelligence actionable.
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Many organizational issues are really process issues. The “as-is” process of “how things
are done” isn’t well-understood, documented, or audited by functional departments and
leaders. The process of doing something as simple as approving, booking, and shipping
a sales order isn’t well-understood, nor consistent across teams and organizations.
Compounding the problem are:
• The complexity of legacy systems
• Regulatory requirements
• Mergers and acquisition job rotations
• Evolving business and product strategy
• Varied processes due to language and culture differences.
BPM enables work processes that are captured in people’s
heads and as shared experiences to be recognized, deﬁned, and
translated into automated processes. This simpliﬁes and expedites
All the data and analytics in the workﬂow across an organization and on the global stage.
world are worthless if no one
Forrester Research and IDC are both doing research on the
understands how they inform the intersections and convergence of BI and BPM. IDC has coined
process of how people work. the term Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) to help explain
the convergence and complementary nature of the BPM and BI
markets. Both research organizations are commenting on the need
to make BI actionable and process improvement repeatable.
The leading BI vendors have recently expanded their product portfolios to move out of IT
departments and directly address the needs of business operators. The goal is to help
companies manage the complexity of the business and process of improving performance.
Balance Scorecards and Total Quality Management (TQM) remain buzzwords. While the
industry has consolidated into a handful of leading players—Business Objects, Cognos,
SAS and Hyperion foremost among them—their product portfolios have expanded with a
myriad of dashboard, scorecards, custom and packaged analytics.
The marketing message for business audiences
is simple: Manage your most important metrics
BI provides information, but doesn’t
consistently across all departments and functional
areas to drive improved ﬁnancial performance. The provide the decision makers with
message for IT is almost equally as simple: Manage the tools needed to gain beneﬁt, or
your entire applications systems infrastructure and create action, on the processes that
data warehouse with centralized administration, data
cleansing, data integration and metadata management
to provide complete intelligence for the enterprise. All
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these things should mean enterprise improvement. Unfortunately, just having information
is useless unless you can apply it in a constructive way to productive ends. In essence,
BI provides information, but doesn’t provide the decision makers with the tools needed to
gain beneﬁt, or create action, on the processes that yield inefﬁciencies.
People or Process?
Many companies can’t articulate the way they work today. Corporate leaders know, for
example, that they have too much margin exposure, that returns management is a problem
and that new product introduction is key to success over the next several quarters. Yet
those same leaders can’t clearly articulate the order management process, don’t have
conﬁdence that everyone on the team is executing against the same metrics, and know
it’s still taking them too long to get sales orders approved, inventory shipped and sales
people paid. Wasn’t BI going to solve these problems?
If you can’t manage what you can’t measure, then the ﬁrst step to
business performance is process articulation. The ﬁrst step in a
When organizational improvement
performance management strategy should be to bring business
starts from a focus on people,
and IT owners and contributors to the table to share in a common
it increases the likelihood that deﬁnition of the current process. This may be a new product
analytics can be applied to decision introduction, expense management or quote to cash. Almost
points that drive measurable, without exception, any process can be improved and many can
be automated. BPM provides the catalyst required to take the
information gathered from BI and create actionable processes
All the data and analytics in the world are worthless if no one understands how they
inform the process of how people work. The core value proposition of BPM is the ability
to articulate, simulate, and optimize this informed knowledge of how people work and
integrate it into the enterprise.
When organizational improvement starts from a focus on people, it increases the likelihood
that analytics can be applied to decision points that drive measurable, repeatable
improvement. BPM provides a prescription for analytics and progressive, measurable
improvement. It also helps conﬁgure information and context to accommodate the way
people work, increasing repeatability of the process.
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Process: Making Improvement Actionable
Once the process is deﬁned and optimized, it’s critical that it become actionable. This is
where the intersection of BI and BPM is best illustrated. BI and analytics platforms with
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) are great for helping identify a problem—often in near
real-time. However, they often fail when it comes to helping the user actually do anything
about the problem.
For the IT side of the house, a BPM platform allows system-to-
system, system-to-human interactions and human-to-human
exchanges to be captured in a repeatable, manageable way as a
BPM allows execution on complete solution. BPM allows execution on business activities
business activities without without production system or code changes or human intervention.
production system or code In addition, these solutions can be supported with minimal IT
involvement while working with existing legacy infrastructure
changes or human intervention.
and systems. BPM often ﬁlls in the gap where existing anchor
applications leave off when business conditions change and
people have problems.
For business line owners and management, BPM makes metrics actionable, often without
requiring direct human interactions. It lets business owners drive process improvement
while providing the ﬂexibility for the process to reﬂect the way people and teams actually
work. It enables process improvement without big bang costs or large IT integration
projects. Often, initial process projects can be deployed in 30 to 90 days. The result is a
strategic approach to process that starts with rapid modeling and iteration followed by a
fast roll-out, enabling measurable results. Using BPM, organizations can begin improving
top-line and bottom-line metrics in the same quarter they’re rolled out.
Avoid Unnatural Acts With Existing Applications
The reality for many organizations is that process improvement is stalled by the legacy of
past failed projects and a lack of concrete requirements from business owners. IT budgets
are often constrained and IT departments naturally default to existing infrastructure and
systems for new projects when possible. The hard truth is that existing systems don’t
match the way people work and every system that ever reached the capital expenditure
committee has some form of workﬂow. With multiple projects, teams, applications,
geographies and workﬂow tools, process improvement can turn into chaos. The result:
workﬂow gone wild.
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The outcome is that organizations attempt to respond to people-driven process issues by
attempting to perform unnatural acts with existing applications. While BI has helped ﬁll
some of the information gap for people, it hasn’t truly unlocked the promise of putting data
in the hands of people where it can become actionable. In addition, complex middleware
and application infrastructure may conspire to make the problem worse. Add the buzz about
SOA, the requirements around compliance, and business owners’ insistence on “real-time”
everything, and process projects and problems become hugely complex and costly. In this
scenario, the likely outcome is highly taxed IT systems and people who aren’t equipped to truly
solve the underlying problem.
BPM provides the ability to capture users and system requirements
In BPM, the same process to optimize how people work. It’s more than just workﬂow or a Visio
model that’s deﬁned, iterated, diagram. In BPM, the same process model that’s deﬁned, iterated,
and optimized becomes the application speciﬁcation to deploy in an
and optimized becomes the
enterprise environment. The model becomes the common language
application speciﬁcation to deploy
to meet user requirements for automating and improving processes
in an enterprise environment. and the IT speciﬁcation for system connections, business rules, and
Process management tools also become a highly customizable platform to enable the
continued, rapid roll out of process applications while maintaining common security,
administration, ﬂexibility and control.
When considering investments in BI, don’t just think about the ability to consistently monitor
metrics and reports. Instead, think about intelligence as content and context for how people
and organizations work. The ability to unlock the power of intelligence is usually directly
connected to the organization’s ability to deﬁne their current processes, optimize and improve
those processes and make them actionable.
BPM becomes the engine to drive the performance-driven organization to the next level. It
should be considered a strategic part of a business improvement strategy and IT architecture.
More importantly, process should be considered key to competitive advantage, something you
can’t get from BI alone. Process makes your BI strategy actionable.
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• BI provides information, but doesn’t provide the decision makers with the tools needed to
gain beneﬁt, or create action, on processes that yield inefﬁciencies.
• The ﬁrst step to business performance is process articulation—any process can be
improved and many can be automated.
• BPM lets companies articulate, simulate, and optimize the knowledge of how people work
and integrate it into the enterprise, making intelligence actionable.
• Existing systems often don’t match the way people actually work. A BPM platform lets
system-to-system, system-to-human interactions and human-to-human exchanges be
captured in a repeatable, manageable way as a complete solution.
• BPM begins with a process model that becomes the common language to meet user
requirements for automating and improving processes and the supporting IT speciﬁcations.
• Many initial BPM projects can be deployed in 30 to 90 days.
To begin improving your business processes and reaping the beneﬁts today,
download Savvion Process Modeler for free at www.savvion.com.
For more information or to discuss how BPM can extend your BI capabilities,
contact Savvion today at 1 (888) 544-5511.
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