When employees are collaborating to process documents and manage tasks – in departmental areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing and loan processing – the use of automated workflow becomes increasingly important.
Ten plus years ago, we called everything that managed a business workflow, ‘a workflow system.’ In the late 90’s, early 2000’s, the ‘workflow’ term was replaced by the ‘business process management or BPM’ term and today, BPM thought leaders and providers talk about ‘BPMS, dynamic case management, adaptive case management, advanced case management,’ and so on.
I wonder how the business keeps up with all of these terms. I wonder if the business cares or needs to keep up.
I am tempted to provide definitions here on all of these terms so the business user can better understand why one technology area versus the other is best, but there are plenty of provider sites, provider blogs, and analysts’ blogs that provide definitions and compare and contrast these technologies. Instead, I thought I’d talk about what I think the business user really wants and needs to know about – what I call the “How Can I” questions. For example, how can I:
- Make my business people and the people process more productive
- Better streamline my operations
- Ensure consistency and quality in all things the business does
- Minimize the cost of doing business
- Add to the company’s revenue and the bottom line.
Frankly, any software provider that sells any kind of software solution will tell the business that their solution does ‘all that’. And they do, to some extent. For this reason, the business has to have some kind of technology term to use to identify what they are trying to accomplish. For example, a claims insurance system helps the business process claims. No insurance company can do business without one. But not every insurance system supports the flow of work and if it does, not necessarily to the extent the business may need.
In my opinion, the business only needs to say: “I need a business workflow solution,” and it’s the job of the software provider to convince you, the business, that they offer a business workflow solution that ensures you achieve optimum benefits. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a BPM or ACM system. What matters is what it does for the individuals that are managing and accountable for the performance of the business.
So I suggest – let’s let IT and the technology people talk about BPM, ACM, etc. and going forward, I promise to do my best to keep my technology terms simple and talk about what I think the business needs to know to make the right decisions when buying and implementing a business workflow solution. What do you think?