Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Administrate the Process Improvement Activity?


The Feasibility of Technologically Supported Group Storytelling

The history of the Process Improvement field is a storied one with anchors in quality and risk management as well as in the lean movements which focus on efficiency. The evolution of the space has included the maturation of frameworks, methodologies, languages and notations. The complexities now prevalent in any process improvement activity are a clear indicator of the need for a democratizing solution – one that allows everyone to participate in the building of new processes without the need for technological savvy.

Storytelling plays a big role.

Knowledge recalling methods are not straightforward. They can be incomplete with information gaps and, as they are dependent on the memories of stakeholders, can be impacted by lapses of memory or the unavailability of key witnesses. The events in the episode in question could be true but not known or known but not reported. Researchers believe that an increase in contributors to the knowledge recall activity can support the increase in knowledge accuracy and completeness. Not only is there positive impact from storytelling, that impact is multiplied with the addition of participants – Group Storytelling

How do we manage the complexities introduced with group storytelling?

A lot of work is being done to explore ways to manage complex data points and business knowledge using AI. AI can support the administration of complex knowledge representation, reasoning and planning – All necessary components of a process improvement activity. Jim Sinur writes about how AI can help Process / Case managers to identify important conditions, signals and patterns. These would be necessary actions in the determination of process efficiency.

PuzzleIn a traditional improvement exercise, the facilitator gathers information from stakeholders in an effort to develop an “As-Is” model that shows the way the process currently works. This effort is more manageable if commonly agreed upon vocabulary is developed and is seen as a prerequisite for rule definitions. This predetermination of standard terms could also be beneficial when using AI to administrate the process improvement activity. Recent standardization efforts bringing semantics into business rules can benefit from AI’s knowledge representation ability according to Knut Hinkelmann.

This creates the opportunity for the use of many AI core competencies in the process improvement activity such as the use of natural language processing to accept the inputs of the group “stories” and transform them into a customized business process model. Another example of how AI could be used to administrate the process improvement activity would be the use of expert systems and advanced knowledge repositories of best practices to guide the development of optimal workflow.

In short, there is an exciting possibility for the use of AI to support a self-paced Business Process Management (BPM) tool. With a matured AI solution, once the conversation begins around the story of the process, the tool can do the rest.

Christine Custis
Author: Christine CustisWebsite: http://pearlo.co
Founder and CEO
Dr. Christine D. Custis is the Founder and CEO of NewPearl, Inc., a software development firm focusing on process improvement solutions. She is an assistant professor at Shenandoah University in the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business where she explores how enterprises should use information systems and technology to innovate and achieve organizational goals. Dr. Custis' distinguished career includes over 17 years experience with strategy, project management and enterprise architecture. This has resulted in a plethora of technical publications and awards. She has worked at IBM, BearingPoint,and The MITRE Corporation among others. Dr. Custis earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Florida A&M, M.S. in Computer Science from Howard University and a Ph.D in Business Administration from Morgan State University.