Business processes have become more complex than ever these days. Globalization, giant leaps in technology and deregulation constantly alter the business landscape. Operational managers and supervisors not only have to be more responsive but have to ensure they minimize the risks.
A decade ago operational staff and supervisors were finding it hard to collect their business process related data. With the advent of Business Process Management (BPM) tools and custom built solutions it has now become easier to collect data relevant to each business processes. However this has left operational managers and supervisors grapple with loads of data churned out by these BPM tools. Having so much data becomes meaningless if they do not even understand what problems the collected data is trying to highlight or what solutions could be derived from the data to address their problems.
Today, organizations that have invested in a BPM tool or developed a home grown BPM solution are finding their operational managers and staff poring over excel sheets and various other report data. Agreed that the custom-built BPM solution would do a fantastic job of not only modeling their business processes accurately it would have also made them realize that their business process was very critical and is having a direct impact on the business partnerships and revenues. The BPM reports will for sure tell them what the numbers are but what the operational staff need is to be able understand what went wrong and how it can be rectified in order to improve productivity and reduce rework.
This is when the idea of creating a PROCESS DATA MART originated. The need of any organization that have a core business process and a BPM solution is not just to reveal their performance numbers but also offer insights about their business process metrics. They need to be able to:
- Have insights into the business process by tracking Key Performance Indicators rather than having to look at performance numbers pertaining to a specific department as a whole
- Be proactive by understanding the processing cycle time, distribution of workload, setting and complying to performance targets and user inertia
- Access information from a variety of data sources and turn the excel reports generated by the BPM tool into actionable data and provide a “single version of the truth”
- Map the flow of work with detailed information about which tasks were handled by whom and ensure “right person for the right job at the right time”
The objective of a process data mart is to allow organizations to identify and correct bottlenecks present in their business process. In order to achieve this, a data warehouse has to be created to house historical information. Source systems (typically OLTP databases used as the back-end for BPM solutions) will then be identified and ETL scripts will be developed to extract and load the operational data into the warehouse. Ideally, a process data mart will enable the operational staff with two major capabilities – Monitoring and Analyzing.
- Monitoring – Ability to gather real-time process data which in turn would allow the operational staff to alter any process or rule the current situation demanded. This could be as simple as a minor change to the business rule or increase/decrease workloads or sometimes as big as a change in the entire business process itself
- Analyzing – Ability to consolidate all business process data into a single warehouse, identify root causes and explore various options to fine tune the process and alleviate the overall performance of the organization
Other additional features that organizations would be able to leverage from the process data mart to monitor analyze and improve their business process are:
- Productivity Dashboards: To measure the workforce productivity using pre-built analytics like Stage processing time analytics, missed deadlines analytics and user workload analytics
- Business Performance Dashboards: Offer insights on how effective the business process is from various aspects like Bottleneck stages, high traffic paths and parallel sub-paths
- Ad hoc Reports: Ability for the business users to generate and circulate reports with minimal effort and zero intervention from IT
The beauty of a Process data mart is that can cut across all verticals and can be used in any industry like Retail, Banking and Finance, Manufacturing, Supply Chain etc. and within these it could be used to improvise internal departments/functional units like HR, Sales and Marketing and Operations.
An example of where a process data mart helped an organization to gain insight and improve their business is one of clients having Vendor Payment Processing as their core business process. Using the process data mart they were able to understand bottleneck stages in their process, reduce rework and maintain balance in terms of workload of the invoice processing teams.
Would it be a BI blog if it didn’t boast of any numbers? Here is the highlight! Thanks to Process Data Mart our customer was able to increase its workforce productivity by 47% and the process owners have seen a significant reduction of 56% in invoice rejections from vendors on using process data marts.
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