Computers are consistent, people are not. Business process management delivers reliable, repeatable and sustainable results.
The wonderful thing about people is … they think! (Well, we like to believe so!) Imagine that, people that think for themselves. How on earth are we going to get consistency in a world of smart, independent minds. The majority of business processes are perfunctory. And even when they are not, they don’t require you to think, they require you to do. This is why manual-based processes are doomed.
“I think I can do this a better way”.
“I don’t think I need to do step E, it doesn’t seem important”.
“I think Mary should be doing steps B-D, not me”.
“I think I’ll get a coffee, and I’ll talk to John, oh and look I’ve been distracted onto a really (un)important task […and oh look I’ve forgotten to do X]”.
“This all seems a bit pointless, I think maybe it won’t matter if I don’t do X today”.
“I’m tired of doing the same thing, I think I’ll do something different, you know, to spice things up a bit”.
In contrast computers, despite the wave upon wave of innovation, generally don’t think for themselves. They are built to do exactly what they are told to do; a sergeant major’s dream. The military precision with which a machine will chomp through steps A to K without hesitation, question, inhibition or forgetfulness is their forté. This of course, also has its downsides. Do the words “an endless loop” conjure up any memories for you? Don’t blame the computer; it is simply doing what its inept master has asked.
So far so good. We all understand the simple premise that a regimented process of defined steps A to K could be more consistently performed by a computer than a human being. However, what about the knowledge worker and the diverse nature of the information age? Sophisticated business processes aren’t linear, surely these are better left to people to manage. Wrong. Again, we face the problem of consistency, and I don’t mean a simplistic level of repeatable steps A to K. I mean reliability. A business process is effective when you can rely on the fact that it will be done. Leaving a business process in the hands of people will eventually see it degrade. It is human nature. Sophisticated business process management software such as XMPro can cater for non-linear or unstructured events. The problem isn’t the limitation of the computer; systems are continually (and frequently) improved to cater for more complex issues. No, I’m sorry to say the problem lies with people. The foundations are different. A computer does what it’s told to do; a person is a free agent.
Put plainly … we just think too much. We think we know best!.
Luckily for us help is at hand with a good BPM.
Blog written by Chris Pennington. The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Professional Advantage Pty Ltd.
You can read other business process management blog posts here.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and XMPro here.
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