When people talk about automating processes, quite an important aspect is often ignored, namely change. In spite of the reality that today’s IT environments – exactly like the markets that they are made for – are continually changing, and processes are dynamically initiated and implemented.
At any given opportunity we emphasize that change is the only constant, but do we really estimate the consequences? UC4 does, certainly. It is proven and confirmed by today`s acquisition of SENACTIVE and the consolidation of a longstanding partnership. We talked to SENACTIVE`s CTO Josef Schiefer.
Mr. Schiefer, how do you deal with the reality that even automatic processes have errors and are not always running smoothly?
JSchiefer: We response in the shape of our graphical analysis tools which are absolutely key to error detection and optimization strategies. All the data accumulated or provided by processes have to be continually visualized, analyzed and updated. On the one hand because client behaviour patterns and requirements change, on the other hand, because these days, dealing with exceptions and specifics are of the utmost importance.
What does the successful optimization of a process depend on?
JSchiefer: The current state analysis of the process workflow is critical. This tests which resources are used by the process, which operations belong to the process and how these are related to each other. To get a holistic view of the process, this analysis should ideally be performed graphically. After this, all parts of a process are systematically tested for existing weaknesses. The identified weaknesses give the vital impetus for optimization.
UC4 emphasises the budget-friendly concept of IN-TIME-processing: “to deliver the right information at the right time.” You have a similar approach. Could you explain, from your perspective, the relationship between in-time and real-time?
JSchiefer: Here it is important to keep two things separate: 1) If we are talking about monitoring processes, it needs to be done in “real-time” as far as possible. “In-time” just means that the estimates for the process operation come from the client. This is because it is the client that decides whether the answer was prompt or not. According to this, a process can then be handled in batch mode, and the result can get to the client on time despite this. In such a case it would be insane, or rather the costs would be totally over budget if the process was dealt with in real-time mode.
But the question is then, who decides each time how a process will be handled …
JSchiefer: That is exactly the point. This decision about the mode of processing cannot be made at any time, but rather it has to be made promptly, preferably in real-time so that I have all the processing options available and can make cost-conscious decisions. Because one thing is certain: true real-time handling only makes sense for chosen processes. And that is processes that are core to the business, or rather, that cause problems for the client when they are delayed. To get to the point, you have to observe the processes in real-time to implement the right process steps at the right moment or in-time.
Ok, so: Monitoring as close to real-time as possible. Processing when necessary.
JSchiefer: Precisely. But that is just one aspect – the time critical side of the analysis, where quick and precise decisions are imperative: that’s called UC4 Decision (previously SENACTIVE In-Time). The other side is optimization, as we have already mentioned: that is UC4 Insight (previously SENACTIVE Event Analyzer). You can compare UC4 Insight with a data mining tool, with which you can take specific processes out to look at under the microscope. That is the detective-like part of the analysis work, in which the intuitive visualization techniques help with the recognition of patterns and identification of delays. This visualization of event flows allows you to explore and visually experience complex relationships and the cause of exceptions.
You can virtually “fly through” the event flow and identify idle operation potential visually. Crucially, because the analysis of the data is not based in the process database but in an event database, it can continually be implemented without overloading the productive system. By the way, this is not about single events, but the correlation of events, through which modern business processes are described.
To read the interview in full length please go to http://senactive.uc4.com