Business process fusion is rapidly becoming a key driver in increasing value from IT investments in enterprises, but is simultaneously creating challenges for business and IS management, industry experts have warned.
According to analyst Gartner, a major challenge centres on choosing where to target investments for integrating and accelerating business processes to create savings or enhanced competitive capabilities.
"This will require a level of understanding and common vision between IS and business management that many enterprises will find difficult to achieve," said Michael Gerrard, vice president at Gartner.
"By fusing business processes previously perceived as loosely or not even connected, enterprises will create new entities.
"Enterprises will need more complex and precise management to perform these processes effectively and deliver on their business value potential."
Business process fusion is defined by Gartner as the transformation of business activities that can be achieved by integrating previously autonomous business processes and providing linkage of operational and management processes.
Gartner's commentary, Unlocking the Value of Business Process Fusion, states that business process fusion is not just another IT integration project.
"The objective is to integrate business processes to create value, regardless of how, or even whether, the underlying technology is integrated," it stated.
In February and March 2003, the analyst surveyed 100 companies from a variety of industries to determine how they are using, or considering, real-time enterprise concepts and practices, for which business process fusion is essential in their operations.
According to the poll, almost 90 per cent of respondents said that they have projects underway to improve the speed of business processes, half expect to have similar projects underway during the next 12 months, and 40 per cent during the next 13 to 24 months.
"Clearly, business process efficiency and speed are already widely regarded as important investment opportunities, especially because 90 per cent of the respondents believe that improving the speed of processes is important to their companies' success," said Gerrard.
"Focus on the business model and key business processes, and how changes in the speed and dynamics of these processes can have significant, even transformational, effects."
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