Software // Information Management
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7/12/2004
01:34 PM
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Making Process Optimization Easier

Nimbus control-ES facilitates business process design for Global 2000 companies.

VentanaMonitor™

Summary

Nimbus Partners’ control-ES is software that facilitates business process design. It addresses the issues that larger enterprises face when they attempt to optimize or rationalize existing business methods across multiple geographies or business units. With control-ES, companies can shorten the time spent on the mechanics of developing their processes, increase the likelihood that the process enhancements will produce their desired results and reduce organizational friction that typically occurs by improving communication and collaboration. Ventana Research advises companies considering process improvement initiatives to use process design software to enhance their chance of success, speed their development, and facilitate adoption and acceptance. We recommend that they consider control-ES for this purpose.

Assessment

Business processes design is increasingly important for Global 2000 companies. Business process engineering was an important rationale for the large ERP projects in the 1990s. However, companies typically did not so much re-engineer as automate existing processes. Often they spent substantial amounts of money heavily customizing software to mimic existing methods, whether they were optimal or not. A decade on, some companies are beginning to revisit process reengineering. This may be the result of an attempt to leverage technology to achieve breakthrough performance. Or it may be recognition that existing processes are defective. Customers may be put off by having to interact with multiple contacts or business units to complete a transaction, or by different business units using different processes to do the same thing. As organizations sit down to redefine core procedures, they often find they do not have the tools to facilitate the process.

Control-ES is a business process design application from Nimbus Partners. It is aimed at global companies that want to manage broad-based process improvement projects more effectively, or use it to communicate information processes themselves. Control-ES addresses needs that larger companies have when designing business processes. The application facilitates process design by:

  • Enabling broad participation and collaboration by many geographically dispersed users using a browser interface
  • Combining generic, high-level descriptions of business processes with intelligence about a company’s specific methods, and quickly assembling detailed end-to-end process definitions
  • Storing these process definitions (multiple versions of them if desired) in a central repository, ‘as-is’ and ‘should-be’ discussions of processes can be highly structured, and all of the information about the processes can be stored and accessed by participants
  • Supporting off-line process authors, enabling them to create or edit process definitions whether they are connected or not
  • Keeping documents related to the process accessible in a central repository

In contrast, purely manual systems (such as whiteboards and paper) and semi-automated ones (such as those that incorporate Visio) add to the difficulties of improving or rationalizing business processes and gaining acceptance of the changes. Manual and semi-automated approaches either cannot do what control-ES does, or cannot do it well. Business process management applications make it relatively straightforward to take an established process design and automate it. The better of these applications handle substantial amounts of complexity (interactions, loops, escalations, and so forth). However, they leave much to be desired in handling the analytical and collaborative tasks that are part of the process design stage. They do not document the process redesign effort well enough to enable organizations to manage it to an actionable result.

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