Service-based organizations, particularly those centering around knowledge workers, are discovering that business process improvement (BPI) is an imperative in the effort to reduce costs. Popular philosophies such as Lean Six Sigma and the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) are catching on as important guides to optimizing quality and efficiency in nonmanufacturing based industries, but BPI projects based on those methodologies are only as good as the data available.

Without objective, real-time data, an organization has to rely on conjecture to evaluate its processes; in other words, no one really knows how efficiently the processes are working, and it's hard to make sound decisions about how to improve them. Business process management (BPM) software makes it possible to collect real-time data that can shed significant light on the issue and aid the task of decision-makers. It's all about transparency - how do we calculate efficiency, how do we measure progress and how do we provide maximum customer satisfaction?

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