When Exceptions Are the Business Process Rule

Michael Vizard

The biggest issue with business process management is not all the rules, but rather the exceptions. In fact, there can be so many exceptions that it's a wonder that anybody can discern any rules at all.


And yet, that's exactly what a new offering from Approva purports to do. Approva One adds a layer of control mechanisms over any given set of business processes. The software learns what individuals are responsible for any given process in the organizations. It then sends an alert to that individual or group of people any time it discovers an exception requirement in any given process.


The system also provides executive dashboards that help identify processes and tools for creating audit trails that make it easier to see who approved what set of decisions during any given process. The software also includes a set of templates that identify the most common exceptions associated with common business processes.


Given that any given business process typically spans any number of applications, Mike Evans, vice president of marketing for Approva, says the need for an independent layer of control to handle exceptions that is developed by a third-party vendor is critical to maintaining the integrity of a business process.


We're on the cusp of a major shift away from thinking about processes in terms of packaged enterprise applications. But as that shift begins, we're going to find that business processes are never as neat as we would like them to be. So the question is not whether we can eliminate all the exceptions, but rather resolve them as quickly as possible.



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Mar 12, 2010 7:12 AM Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist  says:

I like it!

Exceptions and process go hand-in-hand. EVERY process should have an "exception process" built into its construct. And I am NOT talking about a "fast-path" (implying the alternative is the "slow path"). Exceptions should be granted when there is a business reason to accept the "risk" of skipping/changing process steps.

Having a process to govern process sounds like a great idea. In addition to facilitating the rapid review/approval of exceptions, an external exceptions monitoring process provides the audit trail to identify the trends that could indicate process deficiencies. Numerous exceptions could be an indication the process needs to be redesigned and/or capable of providing the flexibility to accommodate a wider array of requirements.

Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist

http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

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Mar 12, 2010 9:47 AM Phil Ayres Phil Ayres  says:

Absolute agreement here. I've implemented a few bpm systems that frankly were a bad match for the formality of bpm, because of the exceptions.

I blogged a bit about my thoughts fir how this ends up looking, and some solutions to the problem. http://blog.consected.com/2009/07/if-its-not-structured-chaos-it-doesnt.html

Phil

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Mar 13, 2010 3:08 AM Jacob Ukelson Jacob Ukelson  says:

Exactly right!! Many processes (some would claim most) in an organization are of the type you describe - where people use email and documents to "manage" the process. BPM and other structured process tools will need to start expanding into the management of these ad-hoc, unstructured, human processes - but it requires a different mindset.

Adaptive Case Management (what we were calling Human Process Management, but now there is a lot more interest) is an emerging segment complementary to BPM that is trying to address these issues.

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Mar 17, 2010 8:13 AM workflow modeling workflow modeling  says:

As my previous evaluator says that in every rule there is an exception, do not ask the question 'Why do we need to follow rules if there's an exception?' because exception is only made under special circumstances, we must be thankful enough that now a days there no hard enough rules to follow in every company. It only shows that the workflow modeling in the business in these days are improving.

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Jun 5, 2010 10:23 AM Scrabble Solver Scrabble Solver  says:

In France we call the exception that one that confirms the rule. Without exception there is no rule ;p

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Oct 4, 2010 4:25 AM pneumonia symptoms pneumonia symptoms  says: in response to Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist

As my previous evaluator says that in every rule there is an exception, do not ask the question 'Why do we need to follow rules if there's an exception?' because exception is only made under special circumstances, we must be thankful enough that now a days there no hard enough rules to follow in every company. It only shows that the workflow modeling in the business in these days are improving.

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Nov 30, 2010 2:26 AM Grossesse Semaine Par Semaine Grossesse Semaine Par Semaine  says:

Managing a business involves a variety of processes and responsibilities on the part of the project managers. What is business process management? Business process management (BPM) is a set of activities that helps the businesses to run more smoothly.

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Dec 7, 2010 6:08 AM Misel Misel  says: in response to Scrabble Solver

For every criminal act committed by a union worker on behalf of workers there are ten thousand such acts done by management daily.

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Dec 10, 2010 7:38 AM 192.168.0.1 192.168.0.1  says: in response to Misel

My personal opinion is that the media has made this as well as most issues into criminal and most people take sides

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Oct 20, 2013 8:31 PM Verafany45 Verafany45  says:
thanks for your post Effectively handling exceptions in business process is an important ... Then, it proposes a rule language for proactive exception handling based Reply

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