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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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