A lot of archival processing happens before an archival or manuscript collection can be made available for research use by patrons. It is central to the archival endeavor. This article looks at the role of business process management (BPM) in automating many of the workflows used to manage the manuscript and archival collections
BPM is a field of management focused on aligning organizations with the needs and wants of their customer bases. The Special Collections department identified its customer bases as its curatorial staff and its patrons. Enabling the curatorial staff to more efficiently prepare manuscript collections for research use would also enable better customer service. Several different BPM techniques were used to gain an understanding of the curatorial needs of the department as it automated the workflows. This enabled the department to successfully simplify and streamline its workflows during the course of automating them. The end result has been more efficient processing of archival collections and better service for our patrons.
A review of the requirements showed a need for two types of functionality:
- task management, and
- archival content management.
- Systematic management, measurement and improvement of all company processes through cross-functional teamwork and employee empowerment.
- Standardize activities and processes in order to improve organizational efficiency
- Business process: “a series of interrelated activities, crossing functional boundaries, with specific inputs and outputs.”
- The tools that will be examined are process mapping, process modeling, statements of work, and use cases. Processes are modeled using at least one of the following charts: general process charts, process flow diagrams, process activity charts, or flowcharts.
- Flowcharts are useful in identifying decision points and parallel activities in a process.gain an understanding of the sequence of activities in the process
- Statements of Work: A specific statement regarding the requirements needed in a service contract. The statement of work should include all aspects of job requirements, performance and assessment.
- Use cases also help identify the actors involved in various activities and what they want from those activities. For the purposes of use cases, actors are defined as “anything that interfaces with your system—for example, people, other software, hardware devices, data stores, or networks. Each actor defines a particular role.” Use cases typically include two components—a diagram featuring the actor(s) and how they interact with the system and a flow of events statement. The flow of events statement is “a series of declarative statements listing the steps of a use case from the actor’s point of view.”
- ProcessMaker provides a SOW template that aided the project in automating the workflow comprising the department’s implementation of the archival business process.
- The use of BPM tools and techniques in the Perry Special Collections provided the department with a methodology to examine and improve the workflow used to provide access to archival materials.
- Business processes enable leaders to make informed decisions that can improve library’s abilities to deliver their services.
- BPM tools are not difficult to use and provide a wide range of benefits. Library leaders should use BPM tools to lead successful change initiatives.