Talking about end-to-end processes, one has the idea it is all a smooth flowing, highly automated system that keeps rolling on! Reality in most companies is that end-to-end processes are islands of automation in various departments, with manual links between these islands of automation. This is usually because of the realities of the evolution of computing within the company. They may have installed a Financial Accounting System from one vendor, say Oracle, while they started using Manufacturing Automation software from another vendor, say Manugistics.HR automation may be from PeopleSoft. Even in companies that may have standardized on one vendor like SAP, end to end processes may span more than SAP modules in some departments. If parts of the end to end process is outsourced, like Customer Service or Support, then the CRM system used may be local but the phone system may be with the outsourcing vendor. Managing these processes, getting data about process execution and effecting process improvements become difficult.
So systems themselves become disconnected islands in an end-to-end process. Web-services enabling these different components goes a long way in connecting all of them together with a Business Process Management (or sometimes called Business Process Orchestration) software and stitching them all into one coherent, monitored end to end flow.
Web-services enabling applications may run into a lot of office politics since different departments may have their own concerns regarding data integrity and security as this article shows - Business Process Success: Advice from an Expert . So it is easier said than done, given the realities of change within organizations.
Process Improvement may be implicitly achieved and great gains made just stiching all these components of an end-to-end process together! Eliminating manual islands of work in between two automated steps of an end-to-end process achieves more than simple efficiency gains. Not having to enter the same data twice in two different systems eliminates lots of potential errors in between. Manual entry almost entails double checking or costly errors and re work. Having two systems talk to each other eliminates a lot of this waste of errors and rework realizing process improvement gains!
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. – Maria Robinson