Sunday, 26 June 2011

To BPM or not to BPM… When “2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad”

Just as Lady Gaga’s fame is seeing a meteoric rise, so too is that of BPM.  Whilst implementing BPM can transform an organization, there are also examples of failed BPM projects or even disasters.  How do you gain clarity around when to use BPM?  Your project should incorporate 2 out of 3 of these criteria:  control, management and visibility. 

Control:  Allowing the BPM solution to control your processes is fundamental to the success of BPM.  This can be a large cultural shift and means empowering a system to manage and run work processes previously controlled by staff.  If your organization doesn’t allow and embrace this change, BPM simply becomes a passive system and most of its value is destroyed.  A BPM solution could add value by simply providing overall visibility but you could use a Business Activity Monitoring Solution (BAM) or another reporting solution for this.

Management:  Controlling Business Process flows is key but the management of the flow is imperative.  There are often numerous debates within enterprises over who is the process owner.  The real question is, “Who in the organisation is ultimately responsible for the process and needs to manage that process?”.  BPM provides real time access to process flows, not just daily and weekly RAG charts.  Management needs to become proactive, agile, just in time management - changing people’s priorities on an ad-hoc basis and aligning those priorities to organizational needs. 

Operational Visibility:  By combining the disciplines of real time management and control, you gain true insight into business operations.  Managers can proactively change work patterns, review market and customer trends, aid capacity planning and ensure efficient use of resources.  Only by providing this visibility can you achieve the ultimate goal of BPM: business agility and efficiency. 

When I advise organizations about BPM solutions, I use the 2 out of 3 rule - control, management, visibility - to drive maximum value.  I’m not saying your BPM initiative will fail if you do not follow this concept.  It just may not prove to be as valuable as it could be.

This blog is based on my experience over the last 11 years in the BPM space. It's based on my experience directly working at client sites. The posts on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."

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