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Process Patterns mean different things to different people. There is no holy grail list of process patterns but the quest to go along this path could be promising.In BPM, the line between business processes and process patterns are often blurred and interpreted in several ways depending on who’s looking at it. The business folks would refer to it as business processes whereas the IT folks consider it having scientific undertones. Phil Gilbert’s blog seemd to have an answer, ” a business process will inevitably follow a process pattern, but a process pattern is not, necessarily, a business process”.  

The real benefit is arriving at the process pattern irrespective of whichever way you look at, for example we could cut and dice process patterns occurring in enterprises along several dimensions like who will be using the process, how structured is it, is it within the company or inter-company, how granular is it and so on and so forth. 

In BPM there are several smaller repeatable patterns for various things like a “Approval” or “dynamic  number of processors” that we call design patterns that make up a complete solution which is applicable to any business model. I am not implying that one can pre-think all process patterns, for sure each process is unique to an organization and ‘the devil is in the details’ but irrespective of any vertical industry you will find all process workflows can be abstracted to patterns widely accepted with high reuse potential. In short, patterns are more template like building blocks to build end-end solutions with shorter learning curves. 

This series aims at identifying these patterns and how it can be implemented using SAP BPM.   As the wise adage in BPM goes, “Order to cash looks pretty much the same, the HR on-boarding process looks pretty much the same, inventory management looks pretty much the same. . .a process is a process is a process.” 

Lets do some pattern mining, shall we?

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