him_humanedj_final by NiceTime

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 31

									HELSINKI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Laboratory of Software Business and Engineering




Yong Han
Anni Kauranen
Elisa Kristola
Jukka Merinen




T-86.5161 Special Course in Information Systems Integration


Human Interaction Management – Adding Human Factors into
Business Processes Management
                                                2


Executive Summary

The purpose of this research is to study what is Human Interaction Management (HIM) and how it
relates to Business Process Management (BPM), what is their history, purpose and how they relate
to each other. Another purpose is to study how a collaborative Humanedj software tool, based on
principles of HIM, can help HIM in an organization. The research methods used are literature study
and exploratory study.
The main results of the research are the following. HIM is a concept that offers an alternative
perspective to business processes, thus it is not completely separate from BPM, it is rather a
complementary view to the same subject, process management. The relationship between HIM and
BPM is also dependent on the definition of BPM. Some researchers see the elements of HIM as
already being included in BPM, while others do not. HIM emphasizes the human nature in
communication and doing work, it claims that traditional business process management is too
mechanistic to manage the human work. The Humanedj tool offers some features that do not exist
in currently available desktop communication software, but at the time of this study it was still at a
very early stage of development, which made its assessment difficult.
                                                                      3


Table of Contents


1     Introduction....................................................................................................................................

    1.1      Background of the Study........................................................................................................
    1.2      Research Questions................................................................................................................
    1.3      Objectives of the Research.....................................................................................................
    1.4      Scope of the Research............................................................................................................
    1.5      Research Methods..................................................................................................................
    1.6      Structure of the Report...........................................................................................................

2     Literature Study: Comparing BPM and HIM.................................................................................

    2.1      Business Process Management (BPM): The Broad View......................................................
      2.1.1      Development......................................................................................................................
      2.1.2      Definitions..........................................................................................................................
      2.1.3      View of Business Processes...............................................................................................
      2.1.4      Implementation...................................................................................................................
    2.2      Business Process Management: The Third Wave...................................................................
      2.2.1      Development......................................................................................................................
      2.2.2      Definitions..........................................................................................................................
      2.2.3      View of Business Processes...............................................................................................
      2.2.4      Implementation...................................................................................................................
    2.3      Human Interaction Management (HIM).................................................................................
      2.3.1      Development......................................................................................................................
      2.3.2      Definitions..........................................................................................................................
      2.3.3      View of Business Processes...............................................................................................
      2.3.4      Main Elements....................................................................................................................
      2.3.5      Implementation...................................................................................................................
    2.4      Comparison of BPM and HIM...............................................................................................
      2.4.1      Approach to Business Processes........................................................................................
      2.4.2      Objectives...........................................................................................................................
      2.4.3      Conclusion..........................................................................................................................

3     Practical Study: Humanedj.............................................................................................................

    3.1      The Humanedj-software.........................................................................................................
                                                                      4

      3.1.1      Background........................................................................................................................
      3.1.2      Objectives and Functionality of the Software....................................................................
      3.1.3      Using Humanedj.................................................................................................................
      3.1.4      Humanedj in practice..........................................................................................................
    3.2      Experiences with Humanedj...................................................................................................
      3.2.1      Comparing Humanedj with existing collaboration software..............................................
    3.3      Propositions for further development of Humanedj...............................................................

4     Summary and Conclusions.............................................................................................................

    4.1      Summary................................................................................................................................
    4.2      Validity of the Research.........................................................................................................
    4.3      Suggestions for Further Research...........................................................................................
    4.4      Conclusions............................................................................................................................

5     References......................................................................................................................................
                                                5



1 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study
During the past decade, the optimization of business processes and their integration with other
processes within an organization as well as with partnering organizations has become popular
among companies aiming to improve the efficiency of operations. Business process management
(BPM) has emerged as one of the major developments to support the understanding of,
communication about and evolution of process-oriented information systems in a variety of
application domains.
The concept of Business Process Management (BPM) has traditionally focused on the automated
coordination of business processes, examining how systems interact with each other and how the
logic of business processes can be embedded into systems. Though most of today’s BPM solutions
can take care of much of the routine, predetermined system-to-system interaction and help a
company organize its IT with e.g. application integration, they don’t directly support the way people
actually accomplish their work (Fingar, 2005). In order to understand and manage real-world
business processes, it is key to understand and manage as well the human-to-human interactions
and the human-driven work processes (Aronica, 2005).
The concept of Human Interaction Management (HIM) has been developed in recent years to
address this challenge. HIM is a method which shows how to model and manage human-driven
business processes as well as support them properly with software. This new way of approaching
business processes has encouraged the development of Human Interaction Management Systems
(HIMS), a new type of BPM solution that includes support for the human interaction in business
processes.
This study will focus on the concept of HIM, aiming to define what human interaction management
is and analyze its relationship with and significance to the traditional ideas of BPM. To provide the
reader with a practical view of HIM, the study will also examine an HIM system called Humanedj,
reporting on its functionality and analyzing its applicability in the human interaction management
of an organization.

1.2 Research Questions
The research conducted in this study has two aspects: a theoretical and a practical aspect.
The study aims to answer the following theoretical question:
What is Human Interaction Management and what is its relationship with Business Process
Management?
                                                6

This research question can be divided into the following sub-questions:
    •   What is Business Process Management?
    •   What is Human Interaction Management?
    •   What are the differences between these two concepts?
    •   How do these concepts contradict with and complement each other?
In addition to these theoretical issues, this study will examine Human Interaction Management in
practice by using an HIM tool called Humanedj. In relation to this tool, the study aims to answer the
following question:
How can the Humanedj tool support the Human Interaction Management of an organization?
This question can also be divided into sub-questions:
    •   What is the main functionality of the Humanedj tool?
    •   How can the Humanedj tool improve human interaction in an organization?
    •   What are the challenges related to using the Humanedj tool and how could these challenges
        be dealt with?

1.3 Objectives of the Research
The objectives of the research, like the research questions, are twofold involving both theoretical
and practical objectives.
The theoretical objectives are the following:
    •   To develop an understanding of the main principles and elements of Business Process
        Management and Human Interaction Management.
    •   To analyze the relationship between BPM and HIM.
The practical objectives related to the Humanedj tool are the following:
    •   To develop an understanding of the functionality and objectives of the Humanedj tool.
    •   To take into use the Humanedj tool, report experiences and develop propositions for the
        future development of the tool.
    •   To analyze the applicability of the Humanedj tool in the Human Interaction Management of
        an organization.

1.4 Scope of the Research
The scope of the theoretical part of the research is limited to the general concepts of Business
Process Management and Human Interaction Management. This study does not go into detail on the
different areas or technologies of either concept, but rather focuses on defining the terms on a high
                                                7

level and analyzing the relationship between them.
The practical part of the study will focus on functionality of the “humanedj” tool and its use in
Human Interaction Management, leaving any technical details of the tool outside of the scope. No
other HIM tools will be examined.

1.5 Research Methods
To reach the theoretical objectives of the research, a literature study will be conducted using
different databases of academic journals as well as academic papers available on the public Internet.
The practical part of the study will be conducted as exploratory research. The functionality and
usability of the Humanedj tool will be tested and experiences with the tool will be reported.

1.6 Structure of the Report
Chapter 2 contains the literature study. Section 2.1 looks at BPM from a more traditional, broad
perspective, whereas section 2.2 examines the most recent approach to BPM, the third wave of
BPM. Section studies the existing literature on HIM and finally section analyzes the relationship
of BPM and HIM, focusing rather on the third wave view of BPM.
Chapter 3 focuses on the Humanedj software. It discusses the features of the software, the findings
of the practical testing of the software as well as suggestions for future developmend.
Chapter 4 concludes the study and evaluates its validity as well as gives some suggestions for future
research.
                                                 8



2 Literature Study: Comparing BPM and HIM

2.1 Business Process Management (BPM): The Broad View

2.1.1 Development
Smith and Fingar (2003) see that the first wave of BPM was already outlined in Frederick Taylor’s
theory of management in the 1920s. At that time process management was called “methods and
procedures analysis” and processes were implicit in work practices and policy manuals. Gulledge
and Sommer (2002) say that business process management is as old as the discipline of industrial
engineering. Process management has been used in local processes, such as production and shipping
processes, for years by e.g.:
   •   Documenting processes to understand how work flows through the process
   •   Assigning process ownership to establish managerial accountability of the process
   •   Managing the process to optimize process performance
   •   Improving the process to enhance product quality or process performance.
Production processes were seen as a linear progression in which raw material is taken and
transformed into a product. These processes could be improved by studying the activities related to
them, breaking them down, standardizing them and transferring the activities which could be
automated to machine production. Complicated and variable activities were left to human operators.
(Lindsay et al., 2006).
It however took a while until process management could be raised from these local processes to the
enterprise level, mainly because of the difficulties related to controlling large systems of integrated
processes. It was the development of information technologies that allowed enterprise-wide process
management in the late 1980s (Davenport and Short, 1990). The enterprise-wide process
management approach broadened the realm of business processes to include also the more abstract
office processes. Whereas in production workflow attention is on the activities being performed, the
office systems are more based on goals and people do whatever is necessary to attain a goal
(Lindsay et al., 2006).

2.1.2 Definitions
Business Process Management has received extensive attention in academic literature, and many
definitions for BPM exist.
The Workflow Management Coalition (WFMC) define BPM as “the automation of a business
process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one
                                                9

participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules”. This view depicts the
traditional approach to business processes as workflow processes and focuses mainly on process
control, namely through automation.
Elzinga et al. (1995) define BPM as “a systematic, structured approach to analyze, improve, control
and manage processes with the aim of improving the quality of products and services”. Zairi (1997)
describes BPM in the following way: “A structured approach to analyze and continually improve
fundamental activities such as manufacturing, marketing, communications and other major elements
of a company’s operations”. These definitions suggest a continuous nature for BPM; in which
processes are constantly improved by analyzing them and implementing necessary changes.
De Toro and McCabe (1997) suggest that in BPM “the organization is viewed as a series of
functional processes linked across the organization, which is how the work actually gets done.
Policy and direction are still set from the top, but the authority to examine, challenge, and change
work methods is delegated to cross-functional work teams.” Lee and Dale (1998) characterize BPM
as “a customer-focused approach to the systematic management, measurement and improvement of
all company process through cross-functional teamwork and employee empowerment. These two
definitions introduce the idea of employee empowerment, in which the participants themselves are
authorized to examine the tasks they are performing and improve the way in which work is done.
Lindsay, Downs and Lunn (2006) see BPM as an attempt to “better understand a business’s key
mechanisms in order to improve, and in some cases radically change, the business performance by
identifying opportunities for new business opportunities, for outsourcing, for improving business
efficiency and for areas within the business where technology can be used to support business
processes”. This definition takes an external view to business processes, suggesting that ideas for
improvement can not only be found from within the process itself, but also from the surrounding
environment in the form of new business opportunities, technologies etc.
These definitions show that the discussion on BPM has traditionally not been very focused, which
has from its part slowed down the development of BPM and the creation of common tools and
techniques for its implementation. BPM in the broad sense can refer to almost any kind of
organizational development.

2.1.3 View of Business Processes
In the early 90’s, business processes were defined as “a structured, measured set of activities to
produce a specific output for a particular customer or a market” (Davenport, 1993). A process was
seen as “a specific ordering of work activities across time and place, with a beginning, an end, and
clearly identified inputs and outputs: a structure for action” (Davenport, 1993). The
business process was thus seen as a controlled “workflow process”, as shown in Figure 3.
                                                                                10

  Input      Ac t iv ity   1   Ac t iv ity   2   Ac t i
                                                      v ity   3   Ac t iv ity   4    Output




Figure 3. The business process as a workflow process

The theoretical basis for the management of workflow processes lies in petri nets, which are a
modeling language for depicting the structure of discrete distributed systems. Petri nets model the
activities that can occur in a process that change the state of the process. The execution of Petri nets
is nondeterministic, which means that they are well suited for modeling the concurrent behavior of a
system.
Workflow processes are related to the term orchestration, which means arranging the activities
within a process with the goal of achieving a maximum effect of the process (Answers.com, 2007).
Orchestrating a business process means arranging and describing the flow of activities required to
reach the desired output.

2.1.4 Implementation
In the early days of BPM, workflow systems were used as a tool for implementing BPM. Workflow
systems are meant to help an organization specify, execute, monitor and coordinate the flow of
activities in the work environment (Wikipedia, 4.12.2006). The system is built of two main
components: the workflow modeling component and the workflow execution component. The
workflow modeling component enables process analysts to define the processes and activities into
the system, analyze and simulate them and assign them to people. The workflow execution
component often consists of a workflow engine, which coordinates or assists in the coordination of
the processes and activities, as well as an execution interface, which can be viewed by end-users.
These kind of systems aim for the automation of business processes and thus implement BPM in its
traditional sense, where business processes are viewed as workflow processes. Silver (2005)
however sees that in practice, the BPM tools of the past have shared a common problem in that they
are seldom able to execute the process which they model. The modeling is thus separated from the
development of the actual IT solution that is used to automate the business process and the output of
the BPM tool is at best only used as a “requirements document” that would hopefully be referenced
in the specification and design of the eventually developed software.
                                                11


2.2 Business Process Management: The Third Wave

2.2.1 Development
In the 1990’s, the second wave of BPM as termed by Smith and Fingar (2003), the trend was to
manually engineer business processes through a one-time activity. This resulted in several process
improvements, but the changes made were unfortunately often made inflexible by software, such as
the feature-rich but rigid ERP applications that rarely gave managers full control over the process
life cycle. The development of software-independent BPM methods was also hindered by the lack
of consensus on the scope of BPM, as shown in the previous section.
In their book “Business Process Management: The Third Wave”, Smith and Fingar (2003) have
introduced a new “version” of BPM, which has change as the primary design goal and continuous
improvement is made possible through agile business processes. In the third wave, the purpose of
BPM is to avoid writing more software and remove process from software as completely as possible
while rather focusing on data (Smith, 2003).

2.2.2 Definitions
Smith and Fingar (2003) define BPM not as a new breakthrough, but rather as a synthesis and
extension of previous management techniques used for business processes, such as Business
Change Management, Business Performance Management, Business Process Reengineering,
Workflow, Agility, Orchestration, Choreography, Web Services, Six Sigma, the Real-Time
Enterprise. They see the goal of BPM as transferring similar principles and techniques to the IT
industry, to create business process discovery, design, deployment, execution, interaction,
operations, optimization, analysis and simulation to support work at all levels in the organization.
Smith and Fingar’s vision of BPM is the following:
    •   BPM provides enhanced business agility, control and accountability by streamlining
        internal and external business processes, eliminating redundancies and increasing
        automation.
    •   BPM provides a direct path from process design to a system implementing the process. In
        other words application development is removed from the business cycle.
    •   BPM supports top-down and bottom-up process modeling across the value chain and
        involving all business-process participants.
    •   BPM is a platform for sharing end-to-end business processes, similarly as a database
        management system is a platform for sharing business data. The next generation of business
        applications will be constructed upon BPM.
                                                  12


    •   BPM supports processes that inherently integrate, collaborate and decompose regardless of
        where they were created and the technical infrastructures in which they exist. BPM creates
        reusable process patterns.
    •   BPM is defined by the ability to change business processes at a speed governed by the
        business cycle (day-to-day, week-to-week, quarter-to-quarter).
    •   BPM supports the derivation of key business metrics – for example, activity-based costs –
        directly from the execution of business processes. Its processes are accountable, transparent
        and persistent and include all the information passed among participants over the process
        lifetime.
    •   BPM simplifies the deployment of processes that span the value chain by neglecting point-
        to-point integration.
    •   BPM supports the movement, management and monitoring of work between companies.
    •   BPM has the potential to automate the discovery of business processes arising naturally in
        the course of business operations, similarly to how a database is naturally filled with
        business data during use.
    •   BPM will enable the industrial-scale collaborative design of business processes among
        partners.

2.2.3 View of Business Processes
Smith and Fingar (2003) define a business process as “the complete, end-to-end, dynamically
coordinated set of collaborative and transactional activities that deliver value to customers.” They
specify this definition by listing eight characteristics of business processes:
    •   Large and complex, involving the end-to-end flow of materials, information and business
        commitments.
    •   Dynamic, responding to demands from customers and to changing market conditions.
    •   Widely distributed and customized across boundaries, within and between businesses, often
        spanning multiple applications on disparate technology platforms.
    •   Long-running, a single instance of a process such as “order to cash” or “develop product”
        may run for months or even years.
    •   Automated, at least in part. Routine or mundane activities are performed by computers
        whenever possible, for the sake of speed and reliability.
    •   Both “business” and “technical” in nature. IT processes are a subset of business processes
        and provide support to larger processes involving both people and machines.
                                                                   13


     •    Dependent on and supportive of the intelligence and judgment of humans. The tasks that are
          too unstructured for a computer or require personal interaction with customers are
          performed by people. The information flowing through the automated systems can support
          people in solving problems and creating strategies to take advantage of market
          opportunities.
     •    Difficult to make visible. These processes are often undocumented and embedded in the
          organization. Even if they are documented the definition is maintained independently of the
          systems that support them.
This third wave has created a move in BPM from “workflow processes” to “collaborative
processes”, in which the activities do not proceed as a chain but rather a network, as shown in
Figure 3.

  Input      Activ ity 1   Activ ity 2    Activ ity 3    Activ ity 4




             Activ ity 5   Activ ity 6    Activ ity 7    Activ ity 8




             Activ ity 9   Activ ity 10   Activ ity 11   Activ ity 12   Output




Figure 3. The business process as a collaborative process

Collaborative processes can be modeled using pi-calculus, a process calculus which aims to depict
many parallel, communicating threads. The progress of the process is guided only by the
information passed between these threads, a declarative approach which contrasts with the
imperative directions followed in a traditional workflow process.
These collaborative processes relate more to choreography, which focuses on the observable public
exchange of messages, the rules of interaction and agreements between two or more business
process endpoints (Tanzi, 2005).

2.2.4 Implementation
Smith and Fingar (2003) introduce the idea of a Business Process Management System (BPMS),
which questions the long deployment cycles and difficult translation of business requirements into
an automated IT solution, which have been common problems related to BPM software in the past.
The BPMS provides both a design tool as well as a runtime engine to execute suitably designed
process models, with the goal of breaking down the barrier between business and IT and improving
                                                  14

the agility of an organization by accelerating the process improvement lifecycles. This can be
achieved by using sufficiently simple and graphically intuitive modeling standards which allow use
by business analysts, but which also are precise enough to be executed on a process engine (Silver,
2005).
The Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) (bpmi.org) was founded in 2000 with the aim
of developing standards for process modeling and execution. The most important standard to arise
from the BPMI are the Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) and the Business Process
Modeling Notation (BPMN). BPML is a standardized XML syntax and vocabulary for defining
executable processes and it is based on web service orchestration, whereas BPMN is a diagramming
standard for business analysts, and was originally meant to be the graphical front end to BPML.
However IBM, Microsoft, and Bea introduced a very similar offering, the Business Process
Execution Language (BPEL), shortly after, and it established a stronger position in the marketplace.
BPMN focused on creating a “business-friendly” look and feel and standard semantics for process
diagrams. In this way BPMN enables business analysts to understand a process diagram regardless
of which vendor’s modeling tool it is created by, and consequently allows them to create process
diagrams that other analysts can understand. The original vision of a standard business-friendly
front end for executable process models has not quite been achieved, though BPMN does provide
mappings of certain modeling shapes and patterns to BPEL code. An example of a BPMN diagram
is presented in Figure 3.




Figure 3. An example of a BPMN diagram (Source: Wikipedia, 10/2006)

BPEL is also an XML language, aimed at enabling the programming of high-level interactions of a
process, which are referred to in BPEL as abstract processes. The abstract process represents
publicly observable behaviors in a standardized fashion. Though there is some mapping from
BPMN to BPEL included in the BPMN specification, development of existing BPMN and BPEL
tools have revealed fundamental differences between the two concepts, which makes the generation
                                                15

of BPEL code from BPMN models very challenging, if not impossible (Wikipedia, 04.12.2006).

2.3 Human Interaction Management (HIM)

2.3.1 Development
Since 1997, McKinsey has been carrying out extensive research on jobs in several industries and
found that jobs that involve participating in interactions rather than extracting raw materials or
making finished goods are becoming pervasive in developed economies (Johnson et al., 2005).
Johnson et al. find that the shift is rather towards more complex interactions, which is reflected in
the increase in recruitment for more complex interactions and consequently a decrease in
recruitment for less complex ones. Raising the productivity of the workers who perform complex,
non-routine tasks can provide a company competitive advantages that are much harder for
competitors to copy than the advantages created by simply reengineering, automating or
outsourcing clerical jobs.
Keith Harrison-Broninski (2005b), the main spokesman of HIM, shares this view. He sees that a
business which wants to stay competitive must put in place efficient systems for managing its
processes. Most often these are computer systems for Business Process Management. However, the
existing process languages and tools are not applicable for complex processes involving human
interaction as a core element, as they do not capture the human element crucial for these processes.
Harrison-Broninski (2005c) sees that the traditional process modeling approaches of BPM, such as
BPMN or BPEL, are designed specifically for the description of regulated, routine, largely
automatable activity with only occasional human involvement. When it comes to the processes
driven by humans, he says, such techniques are no longer applicable. The approach of Human
Interaction Management was developed to deal with the human behavior in the organization,
drawing ideas not only from process theory but also from e.g. biology, psychology, social systems
theory and learning theory.

2.3.2 Definitions
Human Interaction Management shows how to model all human work processes in a way that
allows us to support them properly with software and thus make it far easier to participate in,
measure, and facilitate processes that not only involve multiple players, but also evolve
continuously throughout their lifetime-as they do in the messy real world of business. (Fingar,
2005). Fingar (2006) has also described HIM as an approach to facilitate the five main stages of
human work: research, evaluate, analyze, constrain and task. He points out that most BPM systems
today only account for the task stage. Pyke (2006) characterizes HIM as a mechanism that translates
                                                16

top-level strategies into executable collaborations and provides an approach to negotiating “public
processes”.

2.3.3 View of Business Processes
From the viewpoint of Human Interaction Management, there are two kinds of business processes:
mechanistic and human-driven (Harrison-Broninski, 2005d).
Mechanistic business processes are on the most part implemented by machines and human
involvement is limited to key decision and data entry points. They are routinized and often semi- or
fully automated. Human-driven processes, differ from this in that they are fundamentally
collaborative, dynamic and innovative. These processes depend on interaction and are dynamically
shaped by the participants. Examples of mechanistic business processes include logistics, invoicing,
purchase order approval and stock level maintenance. Human-driven processes can be e.g. product
design, research, sales, marketing or company growth/merger/divestment processes.
Harrison-Broninski (2005e) sees the following elements as characteristic of human-driven
processes:
    •   Intentionality. The intention of each process participant is important. These persons may
        have different goals and their responsibilities may prevent from certain actions being taken.
    •   Data. Data is typically maintained privately, and it may be expressed informally throughout
        the course of the process. There may also be some informal metadata attached to the shared
        information.
    •   Mental work. Human-driven processes include activities that are investigative and analytic,
        and that may not move the process on in a visible way.
    •   People are not automata. People do not operate like a conventional program that follows a
        procedural work flow. Activities can be controlled by pre- and post-conditions, but any
        number of them can be true at once, i.e. the persons participating in a process may freely
        choose the tasks to execute as long as the preconditions are valid.
    •   Process dynamism. A large part of the process is about defining what will happen next and
        thus agreeing on the rest of the process. For process management this implies that how
        agreement is gained, described and shared, needs to be determined.

2.3.4 Main Elements
In his book “Human Interactions: the Heart and Soul of Business Process Management”, Harrison-
Broninski (2005a) identifies five main features of HIM.
The first is connection visibility. Harrison-Broninski argues that a human process creates
meaningful connection between participants with varying skills, and each participant in the process
                                                17

must know who the other participants are and what they do in order to efficiently work with them. A
representation of the process participants is thus needed, showing the roles they play and the private
information resources they have access to.
The second feature is structured messaging. Messaging is an essential part of human-computer
interaction, but it typically result in both efficiency losses and gains. Harrison-Broninski mentions
as an example the large amount of e-mail received by office workers and the difficulties related to
determining the relevance and priorities of the messages. The interactions between process
participants must thus be structured and under process control.
The third element of HIM is support for mental work. A large part of human work does not have a
concrete output that could be measured by existing management techniques or computer systems.
However, the amount of time and mental effort invested in this non-measurable work, e.g.
researching, comparing, making decisions, is a critical part of the job of an interaction worker and
should thus be supported by the systems they work with.
The fourth feature of HIM is supportive rather than descriptive activity management. Harrison-
Broninski notes that humans do not sequence their activities in the way computer programs do –
“after doing x, I either do y or z, depending on the outcome of x”. He says people work differently
on different days, depending on their co-workers, the resources to which they have access and their
own mood on a specific day. Activities, however, do have preconditions (a state in which the
activity can be performed) and postconditions (a state in which the activity is seen as completed).
People should be allowed to carry out any activity for which the precondition is true at any time,
disregarding what activity he has completed previously. Similarly any activities that do not fill the
postconditions should be regarded as completely undone, so as to prevent it from derailing the
entire process.
The last of the main features of HIM is that processes change processes. Human activities are often
concerned with solving problems or making something happen. Before such an activity is started,
some planning is needed on how to carry out the activity – which methodology to use, which tools
are required, which people should be consulted and so on. Harrison-Broninski argues that process
definition is in fact a part of the process itself. Furthermore, he sees that this definition does not
happen only the first time the process is carried out but continually throughout the life of the
process. In other words, in human-driven processes are continuously changed by the actions and
interactions of the process. Harrison-Broninski separates management control (day-to-day
facilitation of human activity, ongoing resourcing, monitoring and process re-design) from
executive control (authority over the process, determination of its primary roles, interactions and
deliverables). Process evolution can be implemented under management control with the agreement
of the related process participants and these agreements are documented and shared within the
                                                  18

organization.

2.3.5 Implementation
In an email leading up to Microsoft’s annual CEO Conference of 2006, Bill Gates wrote, “To tackle
these challenges [of information overload], information-worker software needs to evolve. It’s time
to build on the capabilities we have today and create software that helps information workers adapt
and thrive in an ever-changing work environment.” (Fingar, 2006)
This statement shows the situation in which HIM is today. Though many authors find the ideas
presented by HIM to be valid and admit a need to implement tools to support human interaction, the
development of these tools is still at a fairly early stage. Any guidelines or instructions for
implementing HIM in an organization are also currently scarce, due to the fact that HIM as a
concept has gained attention only in the past few years.
In HIM, a business process is modeled using Role Activity Diagrams (RADs), developed by Ould
(1995). A process requiring human knowledge, judgment and experience is divided in to Roles,
which are assigned to an individual or group which is responsible for a certain part of the process
via a Human Interaction Management System (HIMS). A certain role may be responsible for several
activities and tasks and the roles have interactions with each other. The activities and other roles
related to a certain role are depicted in the RAD. The HIMS is then used to manage the work and
separate it into “levels of control” to support the organizational strategy. (Wikipedia, 4.12.2006).
For Harrison-Broninski (2005a), Role Activity Diagrams are a way forward, because they allow us
to show not only the communications between process participants, but also to impose structure on
them-by showing their intention, describing the content of the message, and showing the interaction
in a process context so that its dependencies and impacts can be understood. He also specifies the
concept of a HIMS as a process modeling and enactment system that supports the five main
elements of HIM (presented in section 2.3.4) in the following ways:
    •   Connection visibility - Role and User objects, both instances and types, each with its own
        properties and responsibilities
    •   Structured messaging - Interaction objects in which there are multiple asynchronous
        channels, each for a different purpose.
    •   Support for mental work - Entity objects that can be created, versioned and shared in a
        structured way.
    •   Supportive rather than prescriptive activity management – State objects that can both
        enable and validate Activity objects, along with the Roles that contain them.
    •   Processes change processes – The ability to manipulate not only objects but also user
                                                 19

        interfaces and integration mechanisms via the process that contains them. (Harrison
        Broninski, 2005a).




    Fig. 4 Notation of Role Activity Diagrams (RADs), after Ould (Ould, 1995).



2.4 Comparison of BPM and HIM

2.4.1 Approach to Business Processes
Pyke (2006) uses a simple analogy to compare the approaches of BPM and HIM. In a game of golf,
the BPM approach would be to hit a hole in one every time you tee off. Thus one would only need
to make 18 shots and the round would be finished in 25 minutes. The reality of golf, however, is
different. A lot can happen between teeing off and finishing a hole, and players need to deal with
unexpected things such as sand traps, water hazards, lost balls etc. The result is a complex process
with only 18 targets but around 72 operations.
This example depicts the difference in the approach of BPM and HIM. While both concepts have a
                                                20

way to model a process and the rules it should follow (like the rules in golf), BPM assumes that
processes can be fully planned in advance and controlled during execution whereas HIM admits that
unexpected events can occur and the process may not go exactly as planned (though it will stay
within the guidelines). This, however, depends on the type of business process in question. Some
processes follow the rules and conditions set for them without any variation at all, whereas in others
this is impossible. The division of business processes into mechanistic and human-driven processes
made in HIM thus seems to make sense.
BPM recognizes human participation in a process, but gives humans a role somewhat of a machine,
assuming humans have perfect knowledge and make rational decisions. BPM also assumes that
humans are only a part of the automated process, taking on the tasks that are too complex for
machines to perform, yet it does not recognize that there may be processes which are mainly driven
by humans. There is thus a clear difference in the way business processes are regarded in BPM and
HIM (Pyke, 2006).

2.4.2 Objectives
Both BPM and HIM ultimately aim to improve business processes. In BPM, the goal of improving
the processes is optimizing the activities conducted within the process to increase customer value
whereas in HIM “improving the business process” is regarded as facilitating and supporting human
interaction within the process to increase customer value. In other words, BPM focuses on
improving the outcomes of the actions, whereas HIM focuses on improving the way the actions are
carried out.
As opposed to BPM, HIM does not address how a process is or should be carried out, but rather
what types of interaction and information change is required in the process and which actors
participate in them. This approach also implies that in HIM, no focus is put on optimizing business
processes, i.e. completing activities in an optimal way, but rather optimizing the environment for
executing these processes by facilitating the exchange of information. This is what is termed by
Harrison-Broninski (2005a) as “supportive rather than descriptive activity management”.

2.4.3 Conclusion
The main difference between the concepts of BPM and HIM seems to be that they focus on
different types of business processes of an organization.
The original focus of BPM were the workflow processes, in which the collaborations had a static
connection structure, i.e. the activities formed a chain whose execution was fairly straightforward.
The automation of this type of process is naturally desirable, and can to a certain extent already be
achieved with existing software solutions, providing that these solutions may not be as agile as the
                                                 21

ideal of “continuous improvement” would require.
In the third wave of BPM, business processes are seen as collaborations with a static public process.
In these processes several chains of activities interact with each other, and the progress of the
process depends on the outcomes of these interactions. This type of process is certainly more
complex than the one-dimensional workflow processes. They call for the choreography of public
processes, whereas current BPM tools and standards are still mainly focused on the orchestration of
a single process.
HIM, however, examines the processes that are both public and dynamic, and thus can not be
designed or modeled in the same detail as e.g. the processes depicted by BPMN. Though the
content of the specific activities that make up these “humanistic” processes can not always be
defined, these processes need to be controlled and supported. The aim of HIM is to create visibility
for and interest in processes such as research, product design, marketing and sales, which are likely
to become more and more important in western economies in the future, and create tools that
simplify the human interactions present in these types of processes.
It seems that what the defenders of BPM argue is that BPM can model a process at such a precise
level that each activity involves only one actor. It also assumes that the activities are performed in a
sequential order. The claim of HIM is that, in fact, there are processes which can not be broken
down to such a level, as it is impossible to precisely determine what the interactions between the
different actors should be. And even if it were, business process modeling would be considerably
more complex if each interaction had to be separately acknowledged. HIM also acknowledges that
some processes do not need to be (or perhaps can not be) executed in a predefined order.
It is also worth noting that along with the development of the third wave of BPM, more and more of
the ideas of HIM are incorporated into the BPM concept. As both areas of research are still rather
young, there still exists several definitions for BPM (and only a few for HIM) and a true consensus
on the scope and contents of BPM has not been reached, at least from the practical view. Depending
on the definition of BPM, HIM could thus be regarded as a part of BPM rather than an entirely
separate concept. This follows the view of Pyke (2006) which used the term “Knowledge Intensive
BPM” for HIM activities. This authors of this report agree with this view of HIM ultimately being a
part of BPM which focuses attention on the more complex interactions in business processes, which
the traditional broad view of BPM did not incorporate but which are, at least in the minds of some
BPM experts, recognized in the third wave view of BPM.
                                                22



3 Practical Study: Humanedj

3.1 The Humanedj-software

3.1.1 Background
Modern desktop operating software, like those designed by Microsoft and Apple, were born in an
age when the needed information was stored mainly on the user's own network. Information was
exchanged mainly between people that worked in the same organization, and processing was done
mainly on user's own machine. All this was changed when the Internet came along (Humanedj
webpage).
According to a survey made by McKinsey in1997, globalization, specialization, and new
technologies are making interactions far more pervasive in developed economies. Outsourcing,
global operations and global marketing have dramatically increased the need to interact with
vendors and partners. Jobs involving the most complex type of interactions make up the fastest-
growing segment. They require employees to analyze complex information, grapple with ambiguity,
and solve problems quickly and efficiently (Johnson et al., 2005).
The shift toward more complex interactions has severe impact on how companies organize
themselves and how they operate. The article "The next revolution in interactions" by McKinsey
(Johnson et al., 2005) goes on by describing the importance of tacit knowledge complex
interactions. They claim that the shift from transactional and more routine transactions to tacit and
more complex interactions requires companies to think differently about how to improve their
performance and how to form their technology investments. In addition, the rise of tacit occupations
opens up the possibility for companies to create capabilities and advantages that their rivals can't
easily copy (Johnson et al., 2005).
Although automation can help managers to make decisions more effectively and quickly,
technology only can enhance the work of talented decision makers, rather than to replace them.
However, this calls for a very different kind of thinking about the organizational structures to best
facilitate their work, the mix of skills companies need, and the way technology supports high-value
labor. Technology and organizational strategies are inseparably conjoined in this new world of
performance improvement (Johnson et al., 2005). Further, with these new organizational approaches
comes new operating software.

3.1.2 Objectives and Functionality of the Software
Humanedj is the first software application to be founded directly on the principles of Human
                                                23

Interaction Management. The vision of the Humanedj developers is to help people collaborate
better. They claim that in a world where work is gradually being automated and off shored, the
human work has become more important than ever before. They claim that human work is the only
competitive differentiator left and such work depends fundamentally on collaboration. The
developers admit Internet tools have made basic communication quicker, but it has not made
collaboration more efficient. This is why people need to collaborate better – they need to adopt a
simple, general approach that meets both individual and organizational needs. Therefore people
might have a need for using Humanedj (Tour of the Humanedj software).
Humanedj is a personal desktop tool with the objective to help collaboration among humans. It
includes for example support for business rules, multi-agent system functionality, speech acts, XML
schemas, ontology, Web services, scripting languages, Web browsing and external document access.
It is available free of charge for all standard computing platforms and devices. It runs on the client
machine(s) of each process participant and does not require any server installations (Humanedj
webpage).
The developers of Humanedj call it a "personal process assistant". This means that it helps the user
carry out all work activities in which they are engaged, facilitating complex tasks and interactions.
Furthermore, Humanedj aims to help users to structure their activities, interactions and resources so
that they can manage them more efficiently. Humanedj is intended, in fact, as(to be) a complete
replacement for user's standard desktop. It provides access to all computing resources that the user
may need (programs, files, network access, etc) in a structured way (

3.1.3 Using Humanedj
According to the developers an individual Humanedj user goes usually through three stages in their
adoption of Humanedj. This is shown in figure 4.




Figure 4. Humanedj adoption stages
                                                 24



The first stage, Humanedj for messaging, is to use the software to simplify and structure one's
communications with colleagues. Humanedj offers an e-mail account with full capability of sending
and receiving messages. However, the beta version of Humanedj that was explored in this study
does not have all these e-mail capabilities. It is only able to pick up messages directly from an email
server.
The second stage of the adoption is Humanedj for work. At this stage the user use the software to
co-ordinate and automate all his working tasks: document creation, Web searching, use of other
enterprise systems, data maintenance, calculations, and so on - even tasks that are not themselves
conducted using a computer.
The third stage, Humanedj for Human Interaction Management, is to use the software to organize
and manage one's work (and those of his colleagues) via standard principles and patterns.
The developers of Humanedj emphasize that the software on its own is not enough to fully
transform one's working life. As an example, having a computer-aided design tool will help to plan
an office layout, but it does not qualify anybody to design an aircraft. However, by gradually
adapting the use of Humanedj it could massively reduce the daily effort one expends on work,
resulting in larger personal efficiency. But this can happen only when the user adopts the principles
of HIM (

3.1.4 Humanedj in practice
To use Humanedj user has to first create a Book. The Book is the view to one's entire working life.
User can add as many Books as he wants. The Book files are encrypted and may be opened only
with a password defined by the user. A Book consists of Stories and Identities. Stories describe
collaborations that the user is involved in, and Identity includes user's personal name and e-mail
account. The Identity may have several messaging accounts attached – one for chatting, one for
mobile phone, etc - and the user may have several Identities (Tour of the Humanedj software).
The main objects inside a Story are the Roles that represent participants in the work process. In a
development project, for example, the roles could be Project Manager, Designer, Quality Assurance
and Business Analyst. Other types of collaborative work process will include different Roles. In
addition to Roles, a Story may contain Users and Interactions. Users are the people who will play
the Roles. The ability to define User types allows control over the sort of people that are assigned to
particular Roles. Interactions describe how Role instances send information to one another. This
information may be for example a document, structured data or Web link (Tour of the Humanedj
software).
                                                25


3.2 Experiences with Humanedj
We joined to the Humanedj beta program to obtain the beta version of the software. The software
was delivered as a single executable file which was the installer for the software. Installing the
software was easy and didn’t require any special skills.
To execute the practical evaluation with Humanedj, we tried to follow the steps in the presentation
(Tour of the Humanedj software). While following the steps listed in the presentation, we faced
several error situations with the software and we were unable to complete the tutorial. The errors
were probably related to the fact that the software is still in beta-stage. However, while exploring
the software, we were able to build a view what are the main functionalities of the software and
how it is used.
Using the software clearly requires that the user if familiar with the concepts of Book, Story and
Identity (discussed more detail in chapter 3.1.4). User has to have some level of understanding what
an interaction diagram is and what it can be used for.




Figure 5. Screen shot of HumanEdj tool (1)
                                                26




Figure6. Screen shot of HumanEdj tool (2)

3.2.1 Comparing Humanedj with existing collaboration software
To compare the functionality Humanedj we compared its features with another state-of-the-art
collaboration software. Microsoft Outlook was selected for comparison, since it is in very
widespread business use and it contains many collaborative features.
Because the functionalities of the two applications are somewhat different, the comparison requires
choosing the features to compare. Thus the comparison is inevitably somewhat subjective.
The list of things to compare was derived from the list of main elements of HIM by Harrison-
Broninski (2005a). These elements are described in detail in chapter 2.2.4.


Him element                       Humanedj                          Microsoft Outlook
Connection visibility.            Dynamically updated               Collaboration features such ask
                                                                    task delegation and follow-up.
                                  interaction diagrams that
                                                                    More mechanistic view to
                                  describe the interaction          processes. Tasks and events
                                                                    have list of participating
                                  process.
                                                                    members, but their internal
                                                                    relations are ignored.
Structured messaging              Messages are always related to    Messages can be organized in
                                                                    discussion threads.
                                  a story, and they are organized
                                                 27

                                   by story in the user interface.
Support for mental work (work      Support for planning and          Task progression can be
                                                                     reported by the user. The
that doesn’t have a concrete       reporting mental work in
                                                                     mental work hours can be
output)                            interaction diagrams.             assigned to a separate task.
Supportive rather than             Some support by interaction
descriptive activity               diagrams
management.
Processes change processes.        Possibility to dynamically        Dynamic updating of tasks and
                                                                     events, but not really support
                                   update the interaction diagram.
                                                                     for changing processes.
Table 1. Comparison between Humanedj and Microsoft Outlook.


3.3 Propositions for further development of Humanedj
The following development ideas for the Humanedj software arose during the study:
    •   Relation to email. If Humanedj aims to replace an existing email client, considerable effort
        should be put into development of a streamlined messaging interface. Because very good
        email clients already exists, one approach would be to integrate the HIM functionality with
        an existing email client instead on creating a completely new application from scratch.
    •   The user interface of Humanedj is quite mechanical and contains lots of technical details
        that are unrelated to the actual collaboration.
                                                 28



4 Summary and Conclusions

4.1 Summary
In this report we have reviewed existing literature on the concepts of BPM and HIM and, based on
this, compared the fundamental ideas behind these two concepts.
The Humanedj software was tested and found rather incomplete at its current state. Humanedj is the
only software currently available based directly on HIM principles. To our knowledge, no other
such software is currently under development.

4.2 Validity of the Research
The following points were found as meaningful concerning the validity of this research:
    •   The literature review could have been more extensive, as business processes have been
        widely studied during the past decades and there is a significant amount of literature
        available on the topic. The scope of the research and the resources committed to it allowed
        the study of only a small part of the available literature, thus making it difficult to determine
        which sources of information were most relevant. In this type of situation where extensive
        literature exists, a bibliographical research method may be a valid approach.
    •   As HIM is a very new concept and only a few (mainly one) researcher(s) have so far
        contributed to the area, the literature study on HIM is rather subjective. Another issue worth
        mentioning is that as HIM has not yet established itself as a scientific field, some of the
        research in this area may not be termed research on HIM but on some other, similar concept
        (e.g. “knowledge intensive BPM). Had this been known in the beginning of the literature
        review, literature for this topic may have been searched more widely by using more
        keywords.
    •   The information of the Humanedj software used in this study was mainly written by the
        developers of the software, which makes it also somewhat subjective.

4.3 Suggestions for Further Research
The literature study showed that more research is required on HIM to establish it as a research field
and an area of BPM as well as to determine its practical implications for an organization. At the
moment the descriptions of HIM seem to be somewhat vague, there are no concrete examples
available for how it can be implemented in an organization and how organizations could benefit
from this implementation. A more concrete view on HIM would also help comparing it to BPM.
BPM is still a young field of research, at least in the third wave view, and has similar issues
                                               29

regarding the exact definition of BPM.
As for the Humanedj software, it was at a very early stage of development during this study. The
software could be retested and re-evaluated once its development has proceeded to a higher level of
completeness.
Also a larger, real-life case study with Humanedj could be conducted by choosing a work group or
project group and taking Humanedj into us as the main communication tool of the group.

4.4 Conclusions
HIM was found to be a concept that offers an alternative perspective to business processes, by
claiming that “humanistic” business processes that can not be managed by the traditional principles
and methods of BPM. Thus it can not be seen as completely separate from BPM, but rather
providing a complementary element to the same subject, process management. The view of the
relationship of BPM and HIM was also found to depend on the definition of BPM, which is seen
differently by different researchers. HIM emphasizes the human nature in communication and doing
work, and seeks ways to support the tasks that require human knowledge and judgment and that are
dynamic in nature.
The practical study showed that the Humanedj tool offers some features that do not exist in
currently available desktop communication software. Still, the overall concept of the software is
currently not developed to a stage where it could be implemented in an organization. Also the
implementation of the software is still very incomplete at the moment and it should be studied in
more detail when a more complete version of the software is available.
                                              30




5 References
Aronica, R. 2005. “Re-schooling the corporation for BPM”. Bpm.com. < URL:
http://www.bpm.com/FeatureRO.asp?Featureid=178>, Accessed 04-10-2006.

Davenport, T.H. and Short, J.E. 1990. “The new industrial engineering: information technology and
business process redesign”. The Sloan Management Review. Vol. 31, No. 4, Summer, pp. 11-27.

Davenport, T.H. 1993. Process Reengineering: Work through information technology. Harvard
Business School Press. Boston, MA.

Fingar, P. 2005. “The coming IT flip flop: and the emergence of human interaction management
systems”. Bptrends.com. <URL:
http://www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/12%2D05ART%2DComingITFlipFlop%2DFingar%2Ep
df>, Accessed 04-10-2006.

Fingar, P. 2006. ”BPM’s ”Missing Link””.
<URL: http://www.bpminstitute.org/articles/article/bpm-s-missing-link.html>, Accessed, 05-11-06.

Gulledge, T.R. Jr. and Sommer, R.A. 2002. “Business process management: public sector
implications”. Business Process Management Journal. Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 364-76.

Harrison-Broninski, K. 2005a. Human Interactions: The Heart and Soul of Business Process
Management. Meghan Kiffer Press, Tampa, FL.

Harrison-Broninski, K. 2005b. “Human Interaction: The Missing Link in BPM (Part I). <URL:
http://www.ebizq.net/topics/bpm/features/5779.html?page=1>, Accessed 03-11-06.

Harrison-Broninski, K. 2005c. “Human Interaction: The Missing Link in BPM (Part II). <URL:
http://www.ebizq.net/topics/bpm/features/5803.html?page=1>, Accessed 03-11-06.

Harrison-Broninski, K. 2005d. “Going to Sea in a Sieve?”
<URL:http://www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/12%2D05%2DART%2DSeaInaSieve%2DHarriso
n%2DBroninski%2Epdf >, Accessed 08-11-06.

Harrison-Broninski, K. 2005e. “A Theoretical Basis for Management of the Human-Driven
Processes”. Presentation at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Humanedj webpage, <URL:http://humanedj.com/> [referred 8.11.2006]

Humanedj:     Tour    of  the   humanedj      software.    Available        in     the    Internet
<URL:http://humanedj.com/Humanedj_Tour.ppt> [referred 12.11.2006]

Humanedj (version 1.0.6). Help pages, Chapter 3: Using the software.

Johnson, B.C., James M. M., and Lareina A.Y. 2005. “The next revolution in interactions”. The
McKinseyQuarterly. No. 4.
<URL:http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_page.aspx?ar=1690&L2=18&L3=30> (requires
registration) Accessed 09-11-06
                                               31



Lee, R.G. and Dale, B.G. 1998. “Business process management: a review and evaluation”. Business
Process Management Journal. Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 214-25.

Lindsay, A., Downs, D. and Lunn, K. 2006. “Business processes – attempts to find a definition”.
Information and Software Technology. No. 45, pp. 1015-19.

Pyke, J. 2006. “Beyond BPM”.
<URL: http://www.theprocessfactory.com/Knowledge%20Intensive%20BPM.pdf>, Accessed 05-
11-06.

Silver, B. 2005. “BPMS Watch: Is Visio Your Next BPMS Design Tool?”. <URL:
http://www.bpminstitute.org/articles/article/article/bpms-watch-is-visio-your-next-bpms-design-
tool.html>, Accessed 04-12-06.

Smith, H. and Fingar, P. 2003. Business Process Management: The Third Wave. Meghan-Kiffer
Press, Tampa, FL.

Smith, H. 2003. “BPM and MDA: Competitors, Alternatives or Complementary”. <URL:
http://www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/07-
03%20WP%20BPM%20and%20MDA%20Reply%20-%20Smith.pdf>, Accessed 10-01-07.

Tanzi, G. 2005. “BPEL: A service-oriented approach to BPM” (Presentation at Java Conference
2005).
<URL: http://it.sun.com/eventi/jc05/pdf/5-SeeBeyond.pdf>, Accessed 10-01-07.

Zairi, M. 1997. “Business process management: a boundaryless approach to modern
competitiveness.” Business Process Management. Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 64-80.

								
To top