Can Your BPMS Give Advice?

Lombardi's Process Optimizer perspective blends simulation analysis and historical performance data to identify points in the process model where projected performance falls short of target KPIs, and then offers recommendations on how to bring those KPIs back in line. Some of the suggestins are fairly obvous: "To decrease wait time [at a human task], TeamWorks recommends adding more resources to the Lane Participant of the activity." Well duh.

But others are much cooler, for example, suggesting replacement of a human task, such as an approval, with an automated business rule for some subset of process instances. An analysis wizard looks for correlations between the approvalStatus value and some other variable, such as orderAmount. It might report, for example, that when orderAmount is less than 5275, approvalStatus was 'approved' 94% of the time, but only only 47% were 'approved' when orderAmount is greater than or equal to 5275, and suggest a business rule to automatically approve orderAmounts under 5275. If you agree with the suggestion, the wizard even creates the rule for you.

What about the 6% that normally wouldn't get approved? Isn't it dangerous to autoapprove those? Maybe you can add another rule to lower that to an acceptable level... I'm not sure exactly how it works. But it's an intriguing approach. For me the cool part is the correlation analysis, more than the recommendation.

If you read James Taylor's blog, you'd say this sounds similar to something he writes about frequently, called "predictive analytics." That's something used in high-end decision management, like underwriting loans and insurance, to predict risk based on historical trends using a combination of business rules and business intelligence technology. Sounds like BPMS vendors are trying to take a 'lite' version of that and make it part of the suite. Could guided process optimization be Gartner's next 'must-have' BPMS feature?