When looking for Process Improvement, awareness of technologies and how they can contribute to continuous process improvement is key to success.
Process Excellence folks are the losers if they dismiss IT and the latest technologies as "Geek" stuff and may have nothing to do with them. On the contrary, they may hold the keys to how successful you are in improving business processes!
Business Rules Engines are a classic example of how technology can help Process Improvement. As any process person knows, the 80/20 rule applies almost in most business processes.
20% of Insurance Applications, whether they are Auto, Life, Commercial or other kinds of policies take up 80% of underwriters’ time.
Auto underwriters may make easy decisions on risks they want to cover (no accidents past 3 years – cover, 3 accidents in past 3 years – reject) depending upon the risk profile tolerance of the insurance company.
Loan decisions are the same way. 20% of the loans are tough ones requiring extensive human examination while 80% may be simple ones.
This is where Business Rules Engines may automate many of the 80% automatic decision making or at least in classifying decisions as Straight Accept, Straight Reject and Requires Closer Examination may make processes run very smoothly.
Work flow engines, document management software, business rules engines, the Internet/Web are all examples of technologies when properly applied can leapfrog processes quickly.
Looking at the 80/20 rule and how technologies can help in accelerating processes are just as helpful as poring over metrics such as Average Handle Time, Turn Around Time, etc.
It pays to be very conversant with the latest technologies since they can help a lot in process improvement!
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic – Arthur C. Clarke