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ActionWorks Business Interaction Model

The ActionWorks® Business Interaction Model

After years of studying human interaction, Action Technologies, Inc.'s founders, Terry Winograd, Ph.D. (Stanford) and Fernando Flores, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley), mapped every state and act in which people can work together. Based on exhaustive research, they developed the closed-loop Business Interaction Model (described in their 1983 book, Understanding Computers and Cognition) that is at the heart of ActionWorks Business Process Management software. Action Technologies holds 6 patents on its technology for Human Communication and Business Process Management, and has won 16 global or industry awards in the last seven years. The model coordinates interactions between an individual or group making a request (the Customer) and the individual or group who is the recipient of that request (the Performer) in four phases:
  1. Preparation: The Customer plans work to be completed by the Performer and issues a request.
  2. Negotiation: The Customer and Performer negotiate until they reach an agreement (commitment) about the work to be done.
  3. Performance: The Performer fulfills the agreement and reports completion.
  4. Acceptance: The Customer evaluates the work and either declares satisfaction or points out what remains to be done to fulfill the agreement.

Conditions of Satisfaction for Fulfilling Commitments of Who, What and When

Making and managing commitments requires a structure to ensure agreement between the Customer and Performer and the flexibility to negotiate, modify, and change complex agreements. The Customer–Performer agreement simply states that the person making a request takes on the role of Customer while the person(s) doing the work assumes the role of Performer. A business process designed using the Business Interaction Model becomes a series of loops, one main loop and potentially hundreds of sub-process loops representing interactions between the Customers and Performers involved at different stages of the overall process. Using the ActionWorks Business Interaction Model, process owners are able to assign roles (Customer–Performer) to the participants throughout the entire process. Because of the Model's basis in human interaction, our customers have been able to manage processes where mapping each potential variant was impossible. Customers have also redacted hundreds of apparently different processes into a handful of basic processes, accelerating their process transformation and greatly facilitating continuous improvement.

The benefits of using the model are speed, accountability, visibility, and customer satisfaction. The fact that participants negotiate and agree to do work creates critical accountability. Moreover, no step in a process is considered complete until the Customer is satisfied with the result of that step. When a step is satisfactorily completed, a loop is closed and the process continues. The methodology ensures that each step of a job leads to the desired end result. Finally, because there is clear accountability and visibility throughout the entire process, wait-time and rework are minimized, dramatically reducing overall process cycle time.

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ActionWorks, the Action Technologies business process analysis and redesign methodology, and the Business Interaction Model are protected under US Patents 6,073,109; 6,058,413; 5,734,837; 5,630,069; and 5,208,748