Business Process Management with Document
and Content Management
How combining these technologies adds value to your ECM/DM 03
How do the two technologies interact? 03
Choosing the right type of business process management for your ECM/DM environment 04
Linking your content management and BPM solutions 05
Case studies: Integrated ECM and BPM in practice 07
Benefits of an integrated BPM and ECM environment 09
George Parapadakis, ECM Value Advocate, IBM United Kingdom Ltd
Laura Mooney, Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Metastorm Inc.
When it comes to business, content still is king. In a February 2009 survey1 conducted by AIIM (Association for
Information and Image Management) 89% of respondents said that the effective management of electronic information is important or extremely important to the long-term success of their organisation and organisations today are dealing with more content than ever before. From emails and video documents to corporate records and scanned images, volumes and types of content continue to rise at a rapid pace.
However, content and documents by themselves do not add value to an organisation, unless they are used for a purpose. In most cases, that purpose is to support the business’s operational processes.
To be successful, it is critical to understand and address the connection between Document and Content Management and process management– and implement the right level of process based on the type of content and the extent of its importance and use across the business.
Making the Case for Document Management in Challenging Times, 2009 AIIM (www.aiim.org)
How combining these technologies
adds value to your ECM/DM
Successful execution of most business processes relies on acting on accurate information, often coming from documents. For example, customer service representatives cannot efficiently or effectively resolve problems without immediate access to the full history of previous communications with that customer; hiring a new employee can include multiple documents that involve departments such as human resources, risk management, and finance; Internal policies need to be authored, reviewed and approved before they can become effective etc.
It is true that content and document management systems can be implemented without the need for automated business process management capabilities. However, when content and process are aligned, organisations can ensure that the correct information is used to drive decisions, and there is a full audit trail for both legal and regulatory compliance.
How do the two technologies
There are two fundamental ways that process management interacts with content and document management:
content and document lifecycle management, is in itself a process which can be managed using process
management tools. A controlled process environment for capturing, authoring, modifying, reviewing, approving, updating and distributing documents, not only enforces discipline and rigour, but it can also significantly reduce delays, costs and errors compared to a manually managed process.
Content can, and will, participate in operational processes. Each process in the organisation that interacts with the customer, is based on some form of exchanging information in document form. That information may be application forms, mortgage quotations, marketing
campaigns, a change of address letter, a contract, etc. Whatever they type of content, it holds a critical part of the information needed to initiate, progress, communicate or complete the business process.
Choosing the right type of Business
Process Management for your ECM/
There are three fundamental types of process management systems, that can be deployed in association with a Document or Content management system:
Document Lifecycle Workflow – a document lifecycle workflow is tied directly to the lifecycle management of documents. In this type of application, simple workflow routing is used to manage requests for document creation, changes, review, approval, publishing or printing. Multiple people are typically involved in reviewing or contributing to documents. In this case, the process that is being managed, is the lifecycle of the document itself.
Ad-hoc Task Routing – basic process management can be utilised for simpler processes that are not clearly defined, or predictable, or those that are executed at the department level where all the knowledge is concentrated to a few individuals. In this case, documents are manually routed around the organisation, passed electronically between individuals.
The workflow system maintains the queues and records the actions, but does not control the flow by providing predefined automatic routing.
Business Process Management – using full lifecycle process management, complex line-of-business processes – which are often comprised of multiple sub process – can be executed and managed. This type of application is
comprehensive, utilising a combination of human and system dependencies for process execution. It can handle highly dynamic processes that change frequently, as well as high-value processes that benefit from continuous process improvement. It is predicated however on having clearly defined and documented processes, where the flow is controlled by the process definition and a high degree of automation can be managed by the system. In this case, content and documents are used (produced, captures, referenced or deleted) to support the decision making in the process, or to document the outcome and audit trail of the process.
Document lifecycle workflow Ad-hoc task routing Business process management
Workflow tied directly to document lifecycle management.
One-dimensional processes, often executed at a department level.
Complex processes - often
comprised of multiple sub processes an routing logic.
Multiple people involved in reviewing or contributing to documents.
Simple workflow routing related to requests for document creation, changes, publishing or printing.
No pre-defined processes Need for some flexibility to adapt and change processes on a case-by-case.
Multiple processes might access the same content.
Combination of human and system dependencies for successful process execution.
Highly dynamic processes that change frequently.
High-value processes that benefit from continuous process improvement.
High degree of automation is possible, through straight-thru processing that does not involve human interaction.
Linking your content management
and BPM solutions
Given the criticality of both content and process, there is often debate over which type of system should be the driver for the solution – Document/Content Management (DM/ECM) or Business Process Management (BPM). In many cases, both applications are equally important and both are made more valuable when they are working in a synchronised fashion. In reality, that decision will be largely driven by the existing technologies in place in your organisation. If however you have an
opportunity to look at both without constraints imposed by your existing IT infrastructure, then we are looking at combining as much or as little functionality as necessary, from the two main sets of technologies available:
1. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Suites
– Controlled repositories that allow documents and other content to be securely stored, managed, searched, identified and retrieved. Enterprise Content Management solutions, provide all the functionality required to:
create or capture content – either automatically or manually – and hold a unique referencable copy that can be used in multiple business processes
manage the lifecycle – provide mechanisms to control shared authoring (check-in/check-out), version history and transition statuses of content
control security – indentify and control the access that individuals or groups have to content, depending on the content status
classify – provide the mechanisms for classifying, categorising and organising content, either through metadata, folder/ cabinet/fileplan systems, or through relationship with other content
access – provide mechanisms for finding, retrieving, re-using, or publishing content, either by end users or through integration with other systems and Line-Of-Business (LOB) applications
Occasionally, ECM Suites will already contain basic workflow functionality, which may be sufficient to cover the basic process management needs.
2. Business Process Management (BPM) Suites –
Comprehensive solutions to rapidly and cost-effectively automate, manage, monitor and, therefore, improve your business processes. A true BPM Suite will allow you to address the full, roundtrip process life-cycle for both human-centric and system-based processes with a single, integrated solution. BPM Suites provide technologies that enable you to:
model – Capture business strategies, operations and related systems with a robust modeling tool that takes into account all organisational
interdependencies and relationships.
design – Design processes forms, and process maps for automation.
automate and deploy processes – Take advantage of business rule engines, workflow, and integration technologies to create a seamless, efficient process layer across multiple people, applications and databases.
integrate – Achieve greater efficiency and control of process execution through the repurpose and re-use of legacy assets in BPM initiatives.
manage and monitor – Participate in, manage and monitor processes.
report and analyse a process based on live process data to identify potential issues or areas for improvement.
simulate and improve – Simulate and model process changes based on real process data; perform what if analysis and begin to predict trends based on past performance; determine which processes changes will have the most impact, update the process model and repeat the lifecycle.
BPM Suites not only support the full process lifecycle, they also enable a wide variety of business processes to be deployed and managed on a single platform and support highly dynamic, multi-dimensional and nested business processes – most of this functionality would not be available in a basic workflow system that is embedded in an ECM suite.
Selecting the most appropriate
In terms of selecting technologies, there are a number of ways to approach this type of integrated capability:
Pure Play/Best of Breed – in this approach, an organisation will either have an established ECM or BPM system in place and decide to complement it by introducing its counterpart and integrating the two. The advantage of this approach is that each system can be assessed individually and the most suitable solution selected for each. This is likely to provide the closest match between an organisation’s requirements and available technology. The disadvantage is that integration between the two is typically tacked as a bespoke project that introduces delays, risks and significant development costs.
Integrated Platform – in this approach, the organisation can select a solution that offers both ECM and BPM in an integrated platform. The advantage is that the integration risks are reduced and it is much quicker to deploy business solutions without the need for lengthy and costly integration engagements. The disadvantage is that the solutions are locked into a single vendor and there is less choice in selecting the most elaborate functionality of the pure-play solutions.
In either approach, consideration should be given to the actual solution itself. Depending on the application that the platform is targeted at (and it’s often more than one). There are 3rd party vendors that have already build
pre-configured applications using either of the approaches mentioned above. So, if your organisation is looking at a specific application area, eg, mortgage origination, account opening, HR, CRM, etc. it’s worth investigating if a solution already exists by a partner that has already integrated both ECM and BPM technologies into their solution – either from a single integrated vendor, or by combining pure-play solutions.
Case studies: Integrated ECM and
BPM in practice
Case one: Issuing insurance policies
at the point of sale, in hours rather
This international Insurance company needed a solution that managed both content and business processes on an enterprise-wide basis and one that could be rapidly developed and deployed. Initially, the company adopted a capture and imaging solution as a way to reduce the amount of paper used in its processes; however, it soon realised that it needed to eliminate paper and implement business process management to gain further efficiencies. The first areas identified to use BPM were its Point of Sale, Underwriting and New Business processes. By implementing an enterprise platform that combines Enterprise Content Management and Business Process Management, provided a single architecture approach for these initial applications as well as future developments.
Straight-through processing becomes a reality
Leveraging the ability to create content and process-enabled business applications, the company created a straight-through processing (STP) model that automated data processing and document capture, drastically reducing the number of human touch points. The Point of Sale transaction begins when customer information is transmitted from the broker to the insurance application using a database bridge. Predefined business rules are applied to the information contained in the application to determine if the application can be initially accepted and processed via STP or if follow-up processing is necessary. Whenever possible, the company leverages BPM and STP as a way to complete the Point of Sale, Underwriting and New Business processes without further interaction.
Using the STP model, the New Business Process is also automated: forms are completed, Motor Vehicle Reports are requested and matched to the application upon return, declaration pages and signatures are generated, and finally if approved, a complete package is sent via a web interface in PDF form directly to the broker. The broker secures the customer’s signature and electronically routes the executed signature page back to the company where it is
automatically matched to the original application by using barcodes. If the executed signature page is not returned in a specified time period, the broker is automatically reminded to return it, reducing the need for follow-up calls.
The in-take of non-standard automobile insurance takes place without human
intervention using its STP model. The company reduced the number of human touchpoints from 47 to just two: one occurring at the start of the Point of Sale process and one at the time of capture of the completed signature page. This new processing model allowed the company to demonstrate that it was easy to do business with by issuing policies in a shorter period of time, giving its brokers a competitive advantage.
The company also realised improved productivity and efficiency in its Point of Sale and Underwriting processes because business rules are consistently applied along with STP. By leveraging BPM to ensure consistency in its business processes and adherence to best practices, the company also achieved workforce collaboration across geographical boundaries. It was also able to demonstrate compliance with legal and regulatory requirements by storing all policy information in a secured repository.
Case two: Law firm successfully
links document management with
Using a BPM Suite as its foundation, a global law firm developed a tool to manage the creation and tracking of all its documents. Previously, the firm’s document production process was managed manually using a ‘paper job bag.’ Created by legal secretaries, this held all the relevant legal documents associated with a case and would be transferred through the internal post system to the service desk to be physically moved between departments for examinations and amendments before being processed in one of the data centres. This was extremely time-consuming, and because the majority of the process was managed manually, there was a greater risk for error.
To realise greater efficiency across the business, and to give revenue-generating lawyers more visibility and greater control over document production, the firm decided to look at ways this process could be streamlined and automated. In evaluating the process, the firm also recognised an opportunity to standardise document production across all three of its data centres, reducing the associated technical administration and enabling it to better identify and utilise the specialist skills it has across the business, such as foreign languages.
The BPM suite has also been integrated with the firm’s Document Management software so documents can be scanned and referenced in the DM system and updated in real time. By integrating DM and BPM technologies, the firm enabled processes such as online case management, user feedback, HR processes including work allocation, and data centre and lawyer collaboration. As a result, the firm eliminated paper and manual routing, increased efficiency, control and visibility, achieved more accurate billing and capacity planning, and boosted lawyer productivity for greater revenue generation.
Benefits of an integrated BPM and
Even though Document Management and Business Process Management technologies can be deployed independently from each other, by combining them together into a single environment enables a seamless connection between content and process at all levels of the enterprise. The right information, to the right people, at the right times, in an actionable format, is critical in optimising businesses performance.
This is only possible when business users have timely access to accurate content and can leverage, manage, and analyse that content within the context of a business process. Key benefits of combining ECM and BPM capabilities include:
increased control – achieve increased visibility into and control over their processes and into the valuable enterprise content behind the process;
greater visibility and insight – track project status, identify bottlenecks, analyse key metrics, detect exceptions, and improve the execution of key business processes across the organisation;
tangible operational results – reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance
employee productivity with fewer errors;
simply put, the combination of ECM and BPM helps ensure that content is appropriately managed and that decisions and actions made within a process take into consideration the latest and best
information available. Together these technologies allow you to quickly and effectively deploy document-intensive processes in a controlled manner and generate increased opportunities for greater productivity and collaboration enterprise-wide.
As a result, your documents and content become valuable assets, giving you the power to make faster, better business decisions.
Document and Content Management White Papers
‘Document management concerns the whole board - A guide for all directors’is aimed at non-technical board-level executives, the paper shows how to spot the impact of poor information management, how this should be dealt with, and how document management will benefit an organisation, including: increased organisational efficiency, reduced costs, improved compliance, reduced risk, and providing a competitive edge.
‘Implementing document management – recommended practices and lessons learned’ provides practical advice for those designing and implementing a document management solution, with useful guidance on issues that will arise throughout the lifecycle of a document management project. Produced in a checklist style, this guide provides an overview of the key challenges for each of the four scenarios:
introducing a document management solution from scratch
extending existing document management solutions
introducing new solutions and new partners
managing and maintaining a document management environment
‘An approach to maximising your investment’ is aimed at organisations that are already familiar with the concept of document management and have already bought into the business case for it. It assists those who are ready to embark on a new document management programme of work, or indeed already have a document management solution in place but have plans for further work in this area.
‘Collaborative Working Environments’aims to help public and private sector organisations running projects and programmes that face the challenges of forming teams across disciplines, on different sites, or working across time zones.
‘Safeguarding information, reputation and corporate productivity - a guide for information governance’ illustrates how both suppliers and customers engaged in information management can respond to these requirements.
‘Addressing information risk and compliance’examines the drivers that make compliance such a key issue, the role that information management has to play in sustaining compliance and reducing risk, and how document management technologies can alleviate some of these key issues.
‘Why the format of office documents matters to your business’ is aimed at managers who need to access information held in office documents, perhaps as part of a document management system, as part of a business process, or to exchange data between different office applications. With these new open standards for document formats, there are exciting opportunities for better integration in this area. Users need to be aware about what is available and what will be in the future, and the implications of these changes.
‘Document management for SMEs’ is aimed at directors or technical managers at SMEs considering how to:
reduce the use of inefficient paper-based systems in your business,
improve customer service by giving your staff instant access to the right information when they need it, and
prevent anyone wasting time working with out of date versions of document files
...then this paper is for you.
‘Migration a hidden danger lying in wait’provides an introduction to the topic, with concrete suggestions on ways of dealing with migration. Migration is the single most-often-underestimated aspect of document management projects. However, consideration of migration is an almost-inevitable part of most such projects. If poorly planned, it can cause problems so severe that they cause the entire project to fail.
To download any of these papers please visit www.intellectuk.org/docman For further information about our Document Management Group please contact:
Carla Baker Francis West
Head of Information Management Programme Executive
and Assurance Programmes T 020 7331 2187
T 020 7331 2164 E firstname.lastname@example.org
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