Marcello La Rosa

Marcello La Rosa

Professor of Information Systems with the School of Computing and Information Systems at The University of Melbourne

Location Melbourne, Australia

Activity

  • Hi Guus, it is indeed an example of "task automation" (this is what I meant with passage, but I should have been more precise), i.e. a particular task of this order-to-cash process, the "take orders" task, has been automated. However, there is no orchestrator (an engine) that is automatically coordinating work between the various resources (cooks, waiters,...

  • Thank you for the suggestions guys. Much appreciated.

  • Dear Babatunde, it's hard for me to say. This is a choice of great responsibility, and for me it's not possible to provide an informed advice, because I don't know the specific case. However, from what you say, it sounds like you have already found a solution by yourself.

  • And for those of you who are interested in process mining, a new MOOC from some of our colleagues has just started here on FutureLearn, on the subject "Process Mining in Healthcare": https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/process-mining-healthcare

  • Dear all, thank you for participating in this introductory course on BPM. A couple of pointers if you want to continue your learning on the subject. First, you may consult our textbook "Fundamentals of Business Process Management" (Springer, 2013), which was also the book associated with this course. Second, our comprehensive 12-week MOOC on the "Fundamentals...

  • Dear Paul, a couple of pointers: our textbook "Fundamentals of Business Process Management" which is also the book associated with this course, and our comprehensive 12-week MOOC (also free), in 3 parts, which starts on 28 August at http://moocs.qut.edu.au

  • That's automating a particular passage of the process. Process automation is about automating the coordination of work between all the tasks within a process, i.e. the end-to-end process.

  • Hi Jens, the idea is not to replace manual tasks with automated ones, but to automate the coordination of control between tasks, which may remain manual. The role of "coordinator" is taken by the engine of a BPM System so if the task remains manual, there needs to be a mechanism in place to allow the engine to give control to the human who will work on that...

  • Correct

  • Jennifer you have a valid point. What you refer to is a problem of (lack of) process change management. In other words, we do have a process design, but we don't stick to it. Process change management is not only a matter to be considered during the Process Implementation phase of the lifecycle. It's important to engage process stakeholders such as those who...

  • Great example of a half-baked reengineering. The problem is that whatever system they put in place it's not very efficient and error-proof. As a result, there are rather delays (and errors) than savings. We have countless examples of BPR projects gone wrong in the literature. A lesson learnt from these cases is that whatever new technology is put into place,...

  • Starting from a blank sheet is definitely an option, and goes under "transformative redesign". Essentially, we put into question the current structure of the process, and redesign it from scratch. This is clearly a very involving approach that may not always be feasible. At the other end of the spectrum we have "transactional redesign" which puts forward the...

  • Starting from a blank sheet is definitely an option, and goes under "transformative redesign". Essentially, we put into question the current structure of the process, and redesign it from scratch. This is clearly a very involving approach that may not always be feasible. At the other end of the spectrum we have "transactional redesign" which puts forward the...

  • Dear Sandra and Irina, it's not possible to download videos from FutureLearn. I believe this to be a platform policy. There are more in-depth videos about the various phases of the lifecycle at http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org which is the companion website of our textbook.

  • Dear Steven, it's not possible to download videos from FutureLearn. I believe this to be a platform policy. There are more in-depth videos about the various phases of the lifecycle at http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org which is the companion website of our textbook.

  • Hi. Indeed the idea is to learn from errors. By explicitly identifying these steps as NVA, we then look for the root causes of these mistakes in an attempt to avoid them in future, via a new process design. For example, we may prevent customers from submitting incomplete applications by doing an automatic check of completeness via the Web portal used to submit...

  • Hi Steven, the idea is in fact to learn from errors. By explicitly identifying these steps as NVA, we then look for the root causes of these mistakes in an attempt to avoid them in future, via a new process design. For example, we may prevent customers from submitting incomplete applications by doing an automatic check of completeness via the Web portal used...

  • Hi Luis, indeed as Vera pointed out, in a business process things can go wrong, e.g. we receive an incomplete application and so ask the customer to complete it, or we make the wrong decision and need to reconsider. While in the ideal case (the "sunny day" path) this doesn't happen, we know in practice reworks and repetitions are actually quite frequent. So...

  • Craig, Jens, that's indeed what's meant here: paying is just an example of the customer attributing value to a given step. If I want to pay for it, then it's clearly important for me. However, as you said, there are other ways of expressing value, not just by paying. And these are covered by the other criteria for VA steps too.

  • Hi Ted, the terms sub-process and step mean different things in the terminology of this course. An activity can either be an atomic, also known as "task" (e.g. Approve invoice) or be compositve, that is a "sub-process" (e.g. Ship goods). A sub-process in turn includes atomic tasks (e.g. Pick goods, Package goods, Print shipment notice, Load truck) and may also...

  • Thanks for your comments Ted. The "BPM Manager" you refer to, seems to suggest a role responsible for the performance of a process (not accountable for, which is usually the process owner). If this BPM Manager doesn't improve processes (i.e. it doesn't apply BPM tools and techniques), but makes sure the processes run as they should, then it's closer to an...

  • Beautiful movie that one!

  • Thanks Paul. This is still a "teaser" course. We do have a more comprehensive course, over 12 weeks and divided into three parts, which starts on 28 August at http://moocs.qut.edu.au in case you are interested

  • In Week 2, we talk more about the value delivered by the process, e.g. in the context of value-added analysis

  • Good point Jens. What measures can you think of?

  • Unfortunately FutureLearn doesn't provide this facility, but if you wish, you can put your diagram somewhere in the cloud and provide a link to it

  • Yes it is: "Fundamentals of Business Process Management", Springer 2013

  • Jens, process automation is indeed one of the precursors and influencing factor of BPM (back in the 90s it was called Workflow Management). However, as you have also mentioned, there are other org. improvement methodologies and practices that have influenced BPM, chiefly Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM, and going a little back in history, Adam Smith and the...

  • Hi Ted, the Process Owner is effectively the project manager for a BPM project that has the objective of improving a given process of set thereof, out of the processes that are managed by this person (the process owner is the person accountable for the performance of those processes). There is another role, though, which hasn't been discussed in the slide, and...

  • Indeed, you can find plenty of material in the companion website of our textbook, at http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org

  • Design thinking is indeed an approach that can be used as part of the process redesign phase, to generate and implement new ideas which have the customer as the starting point. In general, the idea of BPM is not to supplant existing methodologies for org. improvement, such as Design Thinking but also Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM etc. The idea is to use...

  • Dear Jennifer, thanks for the suggestion! We will consider it for future deliveries. BTW: most of the figures shown in this course are taken from our book "Fundamentals of Business Process Management" and you can find them at http://fundamentals-of-bpm.org/supplementary-material/figures/ (the BPM lifecycle is under Chapter 1). Enjoy!

  • Great to see so many comments. It's clear that the priorities we give to these values do depend on the particular context in which we operate, chiefly the type of company. For example, in the financial sector, efficiency (cost and time reduction) is often the top priority, while in healthcare quality of the service and compliance are the most important values,...

  • Indeed, making a process "more efficient" means removing waste, it doesn't mean working faster. If we remove waste (i.e. non-value adding activities, such as useless checks and improve certain others to avoid useless rework), then we can reduce the overall process cost and cycle time (duration). That is, we make the process more efficient.

  • And that's indeed possible. There are recent examples where organizations have achieved an improvement in quality (and customer experience) with an equal gain in efficiency. Qantas' Faster & Smarter Check-in is one such an example. The company replaced their paper-based checking with RFID-equipped frequent flyer cards, through which the whole check-in,...

  • Correct. And in process analysis, there are specific techniques (some of which illustrated in Week 2) for removing or reducing work that should not be done, such as Valued-added analysis and Waste analysis.

  • Correct, and that's why in the BPM lifecycle illustrated in Week 1, process implementation (the phase where automation is done) follows process analysis & redesign in a systematic approach. Unfortunately in practice many vendors push for automating a process straight after modeling it, with the disadvantage that by skipping analysis & redesign, inefficiencies...

  • Hi Grant, by efficiency in the video we mean cost and time. The idea is that typically (but not always) if you want to reduce the cycle time of a process or its cost, you will do that at the price of penalising the quality of the outputs being produced (products or services). For example, there is an expensive cost that has a knock-out effect of 2% (i.e. 2% of...

  • Great Paula. Just a point: the driver behind building the infrastructure is not reducing operational costs: it's typically a major investment to improve customer experience. Similarly, automating the ordering may not be driven by reducing operational costs. It's again an investment, which can improve customer experience (faster ordering).

  • Good points Hayley. The video, though, proposes some options that are indeed related to improving the customer experience, and not necessarily related to fast foods. For example, investing in the infrastructure (e.g. improving the venue) and automating the ordering (i.e. faster aordering process) would lead to a better customer experience. Of course, there are...

  • Generally, yes, it's about reducing costs and/or improving the quality. However, each of the options proposed in the video has a specific strategic goal behind. For example, eliminate waiters/cooking is driven by the need to reduce operational costs, which won't lead to an improvement of the quality of the products/service. Take a look at the answers some...

  • Great to see some many processes being shared. There are order-to-cash processes (many variants, incl. related sub-processes such as delivery), procure-to-pay processes (e.g. refilling stocks, SW acquisition), fault-to-resolution processes (e.g. SW maintenance processes, SW out-of-specification inspection, vehicle inspection, handle customer complaints),...

  • Hi Christopher, the example you provided is correct. As for the financial KPIs driving the whole BPM show, indeed this is often the case. But the concern there is not BPM, it's the way the KPIs have been set, so it's a concern of corporate objectives at the strategic level.

  • I have seen companies doing that, esp. when the principles of process thinking have become embedded in any division, and improvement is no longer centralized (but doesn't happen often). I have also seen that happening in the context of overall company downsizing: if the CoE didn't manage to prove its value, it'd be one of the first divisions to go.

  • Good point Ted. We will talk about hierarchical processes in the context of process architectures, the main deliverable of the Process Identification phase of the BPM lifecycle. Bear with us :-)

  • Indeed Robert. We will see that a particular process analysis technique is Value-added analysis, where we will distinguish which tasks add value to the customer or the business, vs those that do not add, and possibly reduce, value for the customer, and are thus candidates for removal.

  • Profit (or dividends for the shareholders), which is essentially a measure of process efficiency (minimize the costs, maximize the revenue) is not the only way of generating value to the company. In the case of a nonprofit organization, say an association or public company, but also for profit organization, the value could be related to the quality of the...

  • Indeed, the complexity of modeling, analyzing and improving business proceses dramatically increases when inter-organizational settings are considered, such as that of a supply chain. For example, BPM provides through the use of languages such as BPMN, specific modeling constructs to capture inter-organizational settings, such as a choreography diagram or a...

  • That's correct Tomas. The point of this video is precisely to show that to manage the complexity of an organization, we need to have a deep understanding of its inner workings, and just looking at a set of apparently uncorrelated activities won't suffice. We need to understand which are the "workflows" that link these activities together. And these workflows...

  • Some organizations (especially large ones) establish a BPM Center of Excellence which has indeed the task of offering a list of BPM-related services to the rest of the company. Chiefly, these services include the analysis and redesign of business processes, in order to improve their performance, based on the requirements of the internal clients within the...

  • Great to see a lively discussion. @Neli: eventually, the project led to the introduction of automation technology, but that was only part of the solution. First, it was important to understand where the root cause of the problem was. BPM provides a systematic approach to identifying process-related issues, their root cases, and to propose different redesign...

  • Dear Ralf, the only option to get a certificate is to go for the upgrade. This is FutureLearn's rule which I think has been rolled out to all courses now. As for your second question, we don't have any sheets to distribute at this stage. We will consider it as an enhancement for future deliveries of this course.

    All the best, marcello

  • Dear all, thank you for the positive comments. We are glad you enjoyed this course and found it of value for your current and future practice. We do have a fully-fledged (12-week, in 3 parts) MOOC on this subject, called "Fundamentals of BPM" which we have already run a couple of times on QUT's own MOOC platform. We are now working on transferring this course...

  • On the other hand, "offline controls" are captured by the connection between the Process Monitoring phase and the Process Discovery phase in the BPM lifecycle. These are more long-term changes, e.g. redesigning the process to avoid issues that we have experienced during the monitoring of our business processes.

  • Hi Roger, indeed your comment is spot-on. A couple of observations. First, the term "process control" derives from statistical process control, which is a statistical method that allows us to study how the performance of our process varies within a range (lower and upper bound), e.g. how cycle time varies over time, so that we can take remedial actions if the...

  • Hi Shane, the enrolment is not per se a business object, but an enrolment confirmation would be.

  • Hi Ratu, the enrolment per se is not a business object, but an enrolment confirmation would be.

  • Interesting discussion. We call these cases "deviations" from a normative business process, which may be specified in a process model. These deviations may be "negative", in the sense that lead under-performance, non-compliance or abnormal consumption of resources. Some other times, however, these can be "positive" deviations, which lead to better or faster...

  • That is correct Jackie. This is the typical "reactive" approach of BPM. More recently, a more "proactive" approach is making its way into BPM, where a new BPM project is started to exploit a new opportunity, e.g. an emerging technology such as robotic process automation.

  • Hi all, an "industry vertical" is simply a particular industry sector e.g. finance or automotive, where products or services are created and delivered/provided. The term "vertical" refers to the fact that there are different players within the same vertical. For example, in the automotive industry there are producers of components (lowest level), which sell to...

  • Hi Roger, APQC membership is free. Once you register, you can download the PCF and other resources (e.g. domain specific reference models and benchmarking performance)

  • Indeed, "enrolment" is not a business object, but maybe Yuwsuf refers to the enrolment confirmation document, which is a business object.

  • Hi Ahmed, the enrolment per se is not a business object, but if you refer to a pre-enrolment form or to an enrolment confirmation then that is correct.

    Hi Roger, the online student account (intended as the set of data incl. student name, surname, credentials etc.) is a business object. The online portal the student uses can be considered as a "passive"...

  • Hi all, a database is what in BPMN we call a "data store", i.e. a place where business objects can be stored (in this case it would be electronic records, electronic files etc). A file cabinet or an archive would be the equivalent to a database for physical documents.

    When we talk about resources, we refer to "active" resources, i.e. resources (human or...

  • Hi David, the "enrolment" itself is not an artefact, but if you refer to a pre-enrolment form, or to an enrolment confirmation document then that's correct. They need to be concrete business objects, physical or electronic

  • Hi Omar, the "enrolment" itself is not an artefact, but if you refer to a pre-enrolment form, or to an enrolment confirmation then that's correct. They need to be concrete business objects, physical or electronic

  • Valid point Ruth. One technique often used is to run customer surveys with participation incentives, to seek this information from customers as well as from those who in fact are not customers (those that "avoid the process"). The other is to mine what aspects of customer behavior influence their choice of buying/not buying a particular product (or using/not...

  • Good point Luis. An important aspect of mapping the customer journey is to become aware of all possible "touch points" with the customers. We can then assess which of these touch points are really necessary vs. those that are not necessary and can be removed, and those that are missing and must be added, to improve the customer experience.

  • Great to see so many examples of business processes in different domains, ranging from retail through to banking, restaurants and many more.

  • Hi Shane, we will talk about process mining in Week 3, as part of monitoring.

  • We trust you have enjoyed your journey during this introductory course. However, we have just scratched the surface! If you want to get ‘hands-on’ with BPM to learn the nuts and bolts of process identification, creating models of stunning quality using BPMN, employing a variety of qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques while continuing to learn about...

  • Dear Oli, I suggest you to contact FutureLearn support.

  • Thank you all for your positive comments on the course. We have a follow-up MOOC that goes in-depth into the techniques and tools along the various phases of the BPM lifecycle. This course, called "Fundamentals of BPM", is divided into 3 parts of 4 weeks each, with the first part starting on 10 October. If interested, you can register for free at...