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The Process *IS* The Model. Or at Least it Should Be.

What is Business Process Automation and How Much Do You Really Need Right Now?

A Q&A with Aaron Bozeman, Head of iGrafx Customer Success

As part of my relatively new role as Chief Marketing Officer at iGrafx, I’ve been spending time with the subject matter experts across the company asking questions about our industry and exactly where iGrafx fits in the ecosystem. As most of you know, it’s a broad and relatively complex ecosystem with rapidly changing buzz words and acronyms, and even industry pundits like Forrester and Gartner can’t consistently agree with how the pieces fit together. In my most recent conversation, I chatted with Aaron Bozeman, iGrafx’s Head of Customer Success about Automation. Aaron is a thought leader in process management with more than 23 years experience at iGrafx, and with leading BPM practices at three Fortune 500 companies. Spoiler alert: this topic is much bigger than a bread basket, so we really only scratched the surface. 

Aaron, there’s a lot of buzz in the market around the benefits of business process automation, and we often receive questions from our customers and prospects asking about how iGrafx plays in the space. To provide a simple reference, I’d love to ask you a few questions about automation in general, and where iGrafx fits in the mix.

Sounds good, fire away.

First of all, please explain what Business Process Automation is, and why people should care.

BPA can be an important step in an organization’s process maturity journey. If executed well, it eliminates need for humans to manually execute complex and often redundant tasks, instead delegating those tasks to machines. This often cuts costs, saves time, eliminates the possibility of human errors and increases employee morale and effectiveness by allowing humans to focus on more intelligent problems. Give the boring and rote stuff to machines and let smart people do smart things.

Overall, process automation is the single most impactful way to drive out inefficiencies from a process and make operations scalable for profitable growth. As a bonus, you get measurements to start managing to. 

So, is iGrafx a traditional “automation” provider?

Not really. iGrafx provides process-centric business modeling solutions with integrated no-code/low-code automation capabilities and integrations with other automation tools. Our tools create an enterprise modeling environment to better assess and plan automation investments to maximize return. At the end of the day, we offer a unique approach to a problem that only we have been able to solve well. 

What exactly is the iGrafx no-code/low-code solution, and when would an organization use it? Beyond that, what is the problem that only iGrafx has been able to solve?

With iGrafx, your processes ARE the model that gets automated. We deliver more to the business user through ease of use and visual design, visual analysis and visual iterative editing for process improvement. This is the no-code/low-code environment. Business users can edit the process model visually, and see the impact on the automation side immediately. The key is that you can manage and deploy versions without #1 migrating data back and forth between a front-end tool and Business Process Management Suite (BPMS), and #2 without coding. When most vendors say this, it is only partially true. When we say it, it is true. No other vendor has been able (or willing) to solve the problem of having an integrated Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) front end diagraming tool that is used beyond the initial deployment. After deployment, edits are made in the resulting code and versioning is done on the code side. In iGrafx, you can iterate with the BPMN diagram and re-deploy to the BPMS, all while following the change control environment you are already familiar with in an iGrafx repository. 

Can you give me an example from the industry?

A case-in-point is that Tibco purchased Nimbus in the hopes of solving this challenge. Five years after the acquisition, it still does not appear that they have integrated Nimbus as the front-end tool of choice, let alone integrated it for XML-based round tripping… And beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much real integration to the BPMS for managing automated process design and edits.

That’s interesting. Given what iGrafx can do from a “process IS the model” perspective, who would be good candidates for the iGrafx, turnkey solution?

So, our target market for iGrafx automation is:

    •iGrafx customers and prospects looking to improve highly manual and inefficient processes with workflow (this is not to say workflow is the only aspect of automation that we offer).
    •iGrafx customers who are looking to complete the cycle from modeling – automation – performance management.  We started with being upstream from automation with modeling and downstream from automation with simulation modeling using automation data. 9 years ago, with, performance management we continued our downstream offering. Now with automation we connect the two as a full cycle offering.
    •iGrafx customers not using any automation today who want to explore automation.

Ok, but what if a customer or prospect has already invested in an automation solution and is trying to be sure that they can effectively execute on their strategic automation goals? Or what if they need more than a no-code/low-code solution?

It’s worth noting that even without our automation offering, we still retain to abilities to: 1. connect our performance management to any automation tool - in fact, automation tools are the best source of process performance data, and 2. be a front-end design tool for any Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) that receives XML based standard data exchanges. In addition, we have strong partnerships with automation service integration firms who can easily assist customers with implementing complete solutions.

If you have additional questions, or would like to dig into other automation-related topics, please comment below and I’ll conduct a round-two interview with Aaron. You’re also welcome to reach out here and we’ll get in touch with you right away.

About Aaron

Aaron leads our professional services and consulting practice in North America with 23 years of BPM experience spread across more than a dozen industries. Over these years he has transitioned back and forth between being an iGrafx employee and an iGrafx customer at three Fortune 500 companies in various BPM leadership and practitioner roles. The value he brings to our customers is that he has spent many years in their shoes and knows what it takes for them to excel. His passion for our customers’ success will be evident in any conversation you have with him; from a new enterprise wide BPM deployment, to process maturity planning, to an individual process improvement or design project.

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