Bringing Business Process Management to the World of Projects
The potential advantages of applying BPM (business process management) to project management are wide-ranging. Essentially, it’s all about process optimization – making organizations more efficient, effective and adaptive. The levels of savings that can be made and reductions in response time for both internal and external customers mean that improving business processes often tops the list of priorities for organizations and their CIOs. The challenge is to manage the real-world processes that often span several functional departments and their applications. Good BPM provides a solution by allowing users to better communicate their process requirements to the IT department for computerization and automation.
Oracle’s solution to business process management (called Oracle Business Process Management Suite or Oracle BPM) offers tools to project managers among other business users, for them to model their business processes. It also brings tools to IT teams for the creation of business process applications directly from those models. Processes can then be automatically accelerated and workflows flexibly programmed. Oracle BPM supports industry standards for business process modeling, implementation and monitoring. In particular it provides BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation), typically for business users and people-oriented process modeling, and BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), which fits system-oriented and application integration processes.
A Process Approach to Project Management
Advantages of a process-driven approach to project management include the simplification of complex or labor-intensive work, together with improved governance of the way projects are proposed, assigned priorities and realized. Automated workflows can be built around processes that are repeated within projects. This allows better mobile working, enhanced linkages between systems and applications, and improved management of access to limited Primavera data for users outside the immediate circle of the project team and principal stakeholders. Oracle BPM applied to P6 project management allows business-level processes and workflows to be extended beyond P6 – for instance, for the transfer of information between P6 and cash management or ERP applications.
Workflow and Process Management with P6
BPM possibilities are only limited by the imagination of the business users and the way they capture their requirements using the graphical representations of workflows. A project initiation workflow could for instance be defined to cover the initial proposal of the project by a business user, review of the proposal by the project management office, capacity analysis, management sign-off and finally assignment to a project manager. Each stage of the process can be driven by appropriate forms designed using the tools provided.
A P6 schedule can be automatically updated using information from a supply chain application concerning a change in delivery dates. Help desk or CRM applications can trigger new P6 project activities and resources reservations following information recorded on software or system incidents. Likewise, equipment defects logged in a work order system can be automatically presented to P6 for redefining priorities. And as the icing on the cake for even faster workflow creation and automation, best practices can also be captured and reused, thanks to the business catalog that is part of the BPM Project Navigator.
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