SEQUENCE Business Process Management & Workflow Software Platform
Proper management of commercial and administrative workflow processes has always been at the heart of a successful and profitable enterprise.
SEQUENCE BPM workflow software provides you with the key to that success by offering a simple and efficient way to establish, operate, manage, and monitor business processes in an web environment.
|Every day, staggering numbers of processes are managed in every organisation. Employees devote considerable time and effort to finding and entering data, transferring information, identifying bottlenecks, securing various authorizations, arranging the information in accessible formats, and creating local solutions to support these workflows.
SEQUENCE BPM workflow software unifies these process management tools together with the commonly-used software tools, as well as any number of external information-handling tools.
SEQUENCE BPM workflow software is based on Microsoft's Windows Workflow Foundation platform and works in a web environment, which gives customers a solid, stable and scalable solution. Our workflow software provides strategic technology for organisational business process management (BPM) enabling improved efficiency, responsiveness and profitability
Compatible with different environments, SEQUENCE BPM workflow software provides added value to existing organisational management and operations, by linking all necessary workflow components into a single package, and providing unrivalled cost–benefit advantages.
Ideal both for end-user organisations and as an integrative component of an ISV or OEM solution, SEQUENCE BPM workflow software offers business-user oriented GUI, flexible and open-ended modules and components, and Microsoft-based architecture.
SEQUENCE BPM workflow software has an open environment, support for the very latest standards, and an inbuilt ability to integrate between different systems, allowing for rapid construction of organisation-wide workflows and systems.
The system is based on Microsoft architecture, constructed in three layers by storing all data and definition records in an SQL Server database, operating the workflow engine by objects managed in the application server, and constructing the user interface using .NET and IIS application presented by the IE browser. This methodology insures performance, stability, and scalability, while keeping software, hardware, maintenance, and development expenditure to a minimum.
Business Process Management (BPM)
Business Process Management is a business management discipline combined with workflow technology, which enables an organisation to analyse, model, automate and redesign their business processes in a way that improves business effectiveness
Process automation and more specifically a Business Process Management System (BPMS) is the solution that will help alleviate and solve many of the organisation's business and technical problems and gives the organisation the ability to build and deploy sustainable and targeted solutions in very short timeframes, using less development resources than traditional development projects. It has the ability to integrate into existing silo applications, data bases using open standards and various other integration capabilities
The Business Problem
Organisation that is inherently complex and composite in structure due to a loose grouping of individual divisions that can work in isolation from each other but also work together when they so desire. It is not any different from most large organisations that have a predominantly serviced based business model.
They need to be responsive to customer and market needs; agile and flexible enough to support the demands of their matrix management structure, the introduction of any new management initiatives and predictable enough to give employees continuity and meet their daily needs. This can pose some interesting long and short term challenges.
In most organisations, business processes are pervasive but are predominantly manual and where automated, they tend to be isolated to a single area or department. This organisational complexity and use of selective silo based IT enablers (function specific silo applications), means that management and operational challenges manifest themselves in various ways:
- Management and employees have difficulty in making correct decisions due to not having accurate and timely information.
- Information is of devoid of business context (not seen in as part of a business process) and therefore may lead inconsistent decisions.
- Planning is often difficult due to ‘broken’ workflows, poor working practices and inconsistent information.
- IT systems that support the various business processes act as inhibiters rather than enablers as they are typically designed deployed and managed as information islands or stove pipes. This is further exacerbated by the lack of systems integration leading to no easy way of getting a single view of the truth.
- Enforcing business rules, policies and procedures is an arduous task due to poor process visibility, accurate real time information and no integrated or consistent auditing.
- Employees are forced to work in ways, using tools that are not always very productive, efficient and can in many cases lead to rework and hidden costs. This can include the need for a user to login to various applications, using various different user interfaces to complete a simple task.
Some of the long and short term organisational challenges that these organisations face is due to many existing infrastructure, procedural and management factors that include:
- Limited visibility and control due to a predominantly manual approach to managing and operating the business (includes management and employees) even though a comprehensive Business Management System and procedural framework exists.
- The use of IT enablers are mainly found in departmental and divisional silos and can vary in type, quality, usability and flexibility. They often are desktop based e.g. Excel, Word etc. and therefore not integrated across the functional silos, making information gathering and sharing labour intensive and time consuming.
- IT enablers and general infrastructure are managed and controlled centrally and therefore the divisions are reliant on IT to deliver solutions and a service that is timely, efficient and meets the requirements of internal users. This is not always optimal or possible due tradeoffs that they have to make which are related to varying priorities, budgets, resources etc.
- Costs of maintenance, support, and new feature development all come at a high cost to the business especially since there are limited internal IT resources that have the appropriate knowledge, skills and availability to respond to all business requirements for new developments at any given time. In addition, the organisation is reliant on external consultants to do one off implementations and enhancements to products and leave the organisation with the longer term issues of managing any future changes themselves.
These organisations need to change their focus from being functionally driven to being process driven. This is not as hard as it sounds because most of the organisational and technical building blocks already exist within the organisation. The challenge is to tie them together in a consistent way i.e. using business processes. The following diagram compares the typical characteristics that functional driven organisations exhibit as opposed to process driven ones.
Long and short term benefits can be gained by using business process automation as the common way to understand the business, solve tactical business problems and integrate departments, divisions and core systems in such a way to deliver realisable and measurable business value.
This approach is based on the premise of starting small by identifying a key business pain, understanding the value it will deliver and solving it using a project based delivery technique. Longer term, as each new individual projects delivers value, a natural momentum is created and therefore this low risk and high value approach can be used as a vehicle for organisational and behavioural transformation.
In most organisations, IT infrastructure largely consists of a plethora of silo applications that act as islands of information and functionality which in many cases are duplicated. These types of applications are required to solve specific departmental and functional requirements but not flexible and easy to integrate with each other in a consistent and repeatable way. Integration on this scale is an expensive and complicated issue due to the fact that information is duplicated in systems, and the points of integration and maintenance increase exponentially for any new application added. In addition, doing integration in this ‘point to point’ way means changes to one interface can impact other applications and the wider business in unforeseen ways. This directly increases business risk, delivery risks, costs and the need for ongoing expert skills for any new or existing IT projects.
The IT challenge
IT always has the undesirable in the position where it has to be responsive to business needs but not negatively impact Business as Usual operations or exceed its operational and development budgets.
Traditional application software development practices and the integration of silo applications are generally a challenging and costly exercise for the following reasons:
- Requirements’ gathering is a long and intense process and can be very labour intensive due to the complexity and variety of application impacted for any single project.
- Many times a design has been completed, a project started but the business may have already moved on and therefore has different priorities requiring changes to the original design.
- Armies of developers are the norm for traditional development scenarios due to the fact that various application specific skills are required to develop and maintain the plethora of diverse applications and technologies.
- Integration of silo applications are typically application specific i.e. proprietary rather than open standards based. This makes reuse a problem and long term maintenance/enhancements difficult due to the ongoing need for specialist external/internal skills.
- Integration is point to point and is devoid of the business process context i.e. it is done based on a very low level technical view of the capabilities of the product(s) rather than using the business processes to define the final solution.
- These types of silo application enhancement projects typically have no end. The solutions delivered have very little potential for reuse as they are inflexible, brittle, restricted to the features and functions that are part of a specific release and inherently create islands of data that is not easily accessible by other systems or users.
- Data can’t be normalised due to it being held in the individual applications data repository. This has a huge impact on being able to reduce data duplication and data availability for consistent reporting purposes.
- Data errors are more common as data can’t be categorised to identify what is master data and what is not. This means that inconsistencies are all too common and leads to people not trusting corporate systems and the well known Excel spreadsheet database becomes the norm.
Workflow automation and more specifically a Business Process Management System (BPMS) is the solution that will help alleviate and solve many of the business and technical problems described thus far.
Business Process Management (a catch all description for anything process automation related) is a business management discipline combined with technology, which enables an organisation to analyse, model, automate and redesign their business processes in a way that improves business effectiveness.
Using a BPMS like PNMsoft’s SEQUENCE Platform will give an organisation the ability to build and deploy sustainable and targeted solutions in very short timeframes, using less development resources than traditional development projects. It has the ability to integrate into existing silo applications, data bases using open standards and various other integration capabilities.