A common reason that I hear from companies, for embarking on the BPM journey is process visibility. The so needed knowledge about what's happening in the company, to be able to assess status, progress and strategic alignment.
In my opinion, visibility starts with events, and to begin with: the external events: situations where you as a company are contacted by an external stakeholder (customer, supplier), which triggers a series of activities.
A good start (which any secretary can tell you) is to have some type of incoming event recording system. Why?
1. To help customers trust you - it is so strong if you can tell the customer - "sure, we have received your order, change, complaint, at date XYZ". Events are integral information in your customer relations history.
2. As part of your record management system (compliance, auditing)
3. As major input for your KPI's & management information (how many order-requests have we received?)
4. As input for your inline simulation engine
The last option is a fairy new feature in BPM engines. It saves you enormous time if you don't have to dig up all kinds of events information, to be able to run simulations.
Inline simulation helps you to see what results would have been, based on your past actual history, if you change certain business rules or processes....
The good news is that you already probably have many event capturing systems. Unfortunately, the events are not seens as separate entities, but are translated and deeply burried in your ERP's, CRM's, Web logs, batch-audit & signal files, Document management systems, not to forget masses of emails and paper documents.
It would be good to see a new module in your enterprise architecture: your event capturing and recording system. Let's call it the Event-Friend :-)
A system that recognizes events, stores them and dispatches them based on business rules to people, BPM suites, ERP systems, SOA orchestration stacks, etc.
And in the future maybe even more intelligent - able to relate events (which one belong to another) and see patterns, trouble (new account opening, and directly a cancel?) or fraude...
An essential element in your future Event Driven Architecture.