My Final Answer

By Larry Ashbrook

Making sure you don’t see the data after you make the decision, and how a BPM platform can help.

One of the most frustrating parts of any kind of decision making process is when the decision seems to have been made and then suddenly an additional relevant piece of data is added to the mix. This almost always results in a reevaluation that may take as long as the original decision process. There are many reasons why this happens, but it usually comes down to a relevant stakeholder not being aware a decision is being made until after the fact, or a relevant data system not being able to supply its piece of the information. In both cases, the decision is being made before all relevant data is made available to the decision maker. This is a huge waste of time and can result in projects being started, purchases being made, and the entire direction of companies changed, only to find out later that if you had that extra bit of data, the choice would have been different. What can be done to reduce these scenarios? I feel a defined business decision process is key to ensuring that all relevant data is available to decision makers at the relevant time.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have an automated Business Process Management platform that can ensure that all the information is available before the decision maker is notified that a decision needs to be made. One product that excels in this is the K2 product, Blackpearl. With it you create a connection one time to your systems of record or other relevant data structures, and then reuse it over and over again in their workflow engine. Once this is done, a business person, instead of a technical person, can quickly create a workflow that will gather information, follow decision trees and notify relevant individuals, and ultimately supply the correct information to the decision maker at the most relevant time. This is, of course, when he is making his decision the FIRST time.

K2 Blackpearl also has the built reporting needed to monitor these workflows and global reporting to see the metrics of all the past decisions made using the tool. This is quite helpful if you want to see how many times your team requests that new widget verses how many times it is actually fulfilled. Maybe it is a person in shipping that is never responding to his part of the workflow, and that’s why it takes two weeks to get an approval. This again, is a great way to make sure all the relevant data is available to you before you go hiring another person in the shipping department.

Blackpearl’s user interface, SmartForms, makes all this available to the end user in a simple unified manner that will enable them to complete their relevant part of the workflow without the need to continually add redundant data. It also provides any relevant data that they may need to complete their assigned task. Say they need to see how many times this widget has been ordered this month or if management has approved the latest budget, it can all be made available right in the UI so there is no need to waste time looking in other systems or sending emails to check. Like the workflow piece, SmartForms are built using reusable components that will enable power users to quickly create new forms with the same sections of data when needed.

It is sometimes hard to calculate the damage done when decisions are made with only part of the relevant information available but one thing is for sure, no one wants to hear “you made that decision without hearing ….”.