Last week I had a meeting with the IT management team at a forward thinking membership association. It’s a very narrow field and so I can’t give any more detail about them, but they introduced me to a lovely word. “This is currently a handraulic  process,” said the CIO. Meaning of course, they do it by hand: manually, with ink and paper and spreadsheet and email.

They are going to adopt a BPM platform to automate and digitise their processes throughout the organisation. There are a number of business analysts in the team and the plan is to make each of them expert in the platform and responsible for specific areas of operation. Not to be outdone in the lexicon department, I introduced them to “citizen development” : how to describe business people applying development technologies to solve operational problems. This is only possible with the emergence of software applications that have reduced the need for development skills and expertise.

Handraulic processes are everywhere. In the last week, I have had conversations with companies wanting to automate… the creation of complex documents by merging web form-collected data with highly configured Word templates; business rules addressing complicated sales pricing approvals; new hire approval and recruitment; and requests for certification and training in a highly regulated environment. All of the ‘as is’ activities in these disparate companies (and industries) are currently handraulic, and the time has come to automate them and make them predicable, auditable and reportable.

This is the new frontier for many companies; more effective and efficient decision making, and timelier and accountable outcomes.

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