I came across a post by Randy Heffner, an analyst at Forrester. Though the post is dated back to 2013, it resonates with me today. Randy’s post is simply titled, “Are You Doing Techie Integration or Business Integration?” After handling a couple of new customer deployments this month, I felt it was a good question to ask.
A major differentiator for HighGear is less involvement from the IT department: with HighGear installed on-premise, IT only has to provision a server and you’re in business (unless you’re performing some heavy-duty integration or customization work). HighGear in the cloud does not require any support from an IT department at all, although your IT department would approve of the security, architecture and integration capabilities of the platform.
This business analyst empowering approach allows our clients to focus on the thrust of Randy’s blog post – “the goal of integration is to improve business outcomes by achieving consistent, coherent, effective business operations,” as opposed to the technical concerns of syncing applications and data across the organization. Don’t get me wrong, HighGear APIs can be leveraged for very deep real-time integrations, but in many cases our clients just need real-time information from another system, not a copy of it, so we enable our clients to quickly configure mash-ups that bring in other systems as part of a wholly integrated single system experience.
Tech-Led vs. Business-Led Workflow Platforms
There is a marked difference in approach between tech-led deployments of traditional BPM solutions and how HighGear is implemented. Tech-led deployments necessarily focus on the non-business issues of a project, and try as they might to get the technology to fit the business processes, there is often some differences in the final design.
HighGear, on the other hand, allows for full end-to-end configuration and ongoing modifications without the need for specialist dev or coding knowledge. HighGear places BPM power in the hands of those who know how to wield it: decision-makers, managers and analysts.
Placing your focus on what the technology is and how it operates does not address how to make business operations more effective. This approach simply leads to the question which Randy succinctly states, “How can integration technologies make it easier to live with this siloed mess?”
The question both Randy and HighGear want you to be asking is how should your business process be designed, and then how does technology help you to achieve that design?
This approach naturally moves the design decisions away from your IT and technical people and plants them firmly into the hands of the business unit. This is how it ought to be, however, this vision is frequently not realized because of the technical nature and requirements of the BPM solution being deployed.
With traditional BPM solutions, it is necessary to have a technical team leading the charge. The business stakeholders who really know how the business design should look are sidelined.
Automating Business Workflows Without IT Involvement
I wrote in a recent post how a British bank was deploying IBM’s BPM, and one department was scheduled to wait a year or more for the deployment team to get to them. The deployment team was already many months overdue and the department head decided not to wait any longer and deployed HighGear. It was initially planned as a temporary stop-gap measure, but it is still in place and growing throughout the bank.
Why is HighGear beating out IBM BPM in this particular financial institution?
A large part of the answer is because HighGear allows for business people to make AND execute the design decisions: organize workflows, enforce compliance and procedures, organize tasks and work and achieve full visibility into business processes allowing for continuous improvement.
You design your processes on-the-fly with a drag-and-drop UI and HighGear will enforce the rest.
And although your IT department will approve the security, integration and authentication capabilities of HighGear, no coding or developer skills are needed to implement the platform.