Simulating future changes before going live with them
Change is always difficult, it means moving from the routine to the new. Dealing with new situations is taxing at the best of times, if the change has associated financial consequences like the release of new software or way of working then the stress (like interest) is compounded further.
This post then looks at ways where we can interactively simulate any number of possible futures and more deeply understand what the consequences of change might be so as to avoid costly mistakes. We put a BPMN diagram of a business process into a simulator, update the simulator with facts about the process and then execute the simulator to see how our process might look like under different circumstances.
Credit Card Application Process
In this process we can see that when the application is received tasks to check credit history and incomes sources are performed in parallel. When all the data has been verified then the application is assessed.
If the underwriter grants the application then an offer is made and the process ends. If it is declined then we need to let the customer know and wait for some feedback. It may also be that the customer requests that the application is reviewed again at which point the underwriter will have to spend some more time to review the data again. This also means that the amount of time to process each application can vary.
Reproduce the 'As-Is' Process
If we have some way of simulating this model, that’s to say assign some values to the model and then run the process multiple times, we could define a baseline that would approximate how that process looks like in real-life.
So we could define who does each task, how long it takes, how many applications are expected to be received in a week and how often they arrive then we could run the simulator with this data and the output would mimic what we have in real-life.
From this baseline we could then make changes to the process to see how it would look like before we actually went live with them.
BPMN Diagram Breakdown
The example process they have is (ahem, fortuitously) the credit card application. The first section is the scenario section which is where we specify some standard measures around the process, first off we can specify how often the process will be launched. The set value is 10 minutes with a exponential distribution of arrival, which means that most will arrive with around 10 minutes difference between them but some will arrive 30 seconds and others 10 hours, so as to mimic the real world.