Business & Finance
11:46 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: Raise The Bar On Business Processes

lan Trefler is pretty blunt about how he feels. Most of the stuff he reads about business processes is "the same old crap." Trying not to take his opinion personally, I heard him out. As the CEO of Pegasystems Inc., a company that sells business-process-management software, Alan obviously has a vested interest in who is doing what and how his company's products might improve it. And while I can't vouch for his products because I haven't seen them in action yet, I think Alan's philosophy is intriguing.

When it comes to business-process management or optimization, too much emphasis is put on the workflow: getting something from point A to point B in a better way, Alan contends. But companies need to think beyond just managing work. They need systems that can research, respond, and resolve issues by better understanding what a user intends to do with a piece of work. That means putting policies and procedures--ones that are written down and ones that are inside people's heads--into a rules-based system that can automate decisions and the processes needed to act on those decisions. Creating such a system allows the organization to know where its "brain" is, which, incidentally, could come in handy when there's a multistate blackout and you need to move a business process to another part of the company.

So, Alan's question for business-technology managers: "Do you know where your organization's brain is?" And my plea to Alan: Make sure you pay attention to the September issue of Optimize magazine (, which will focus on business-process optimization--and it won't be the same old stuff you read all the time!

Stephanie Stahl

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