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BPM from a Business Point of View

Scott Cleveland

BPM Mistakes

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I attended a BPM webinar recently where the topic was BPM mistakes. A few of those mistakes are important enough to rehash...

You can't solve business process problems with technology alone.

I have been saying this for years. Business Process Management software does what you tell it to do. If you don't implement improved processes, you will continue to make errors - only faster. Useful steps:

  • Document the current process
  • Confirm that you have it documented properly;
  • Measure it
  • Improve the process
  • Measure it - Repeat

Don't implement an expense report process [for example].

Choose a meaningful process - something that isn't too complex but has some value to the company.

Don't over customize the software.

Customization of the software costs more. And, it gets worse over time - upgrades are more difficult and expensive. And, if you should choose to change software the migration costs will go up.

Don't take too long implementing that first process.

A typical BPM project requires some upfront selling. A 'champion' should be fanning the flames of interest, getting people excited about their new process [and software]. If that project takes too long, people will lose interest. Choose a project that can be completed in 6 months or less and there will still be enthusiasm for the next project.

Why manage your business processes? Managing processes more efficiently will increase revenues, lower costs and improve customer relationships. It can differentiate you from your competitors. It can be the key that allows your company to break out as the market leader.

Your Thoughts...

What steps has your company taken to be a market leader?

Keeping it Real!


The biggest mistake I see made (oddly enough encouraged by the BPMS / workflow vendors) is to automate before they have mapped.

"The only place process automation is ahead of process mapping is in the dictionary."

Discover - simplify - automate .... in that order

Hi Scott

History has shown that the biggest mistake made in BPM is modeling what is currently done!

What is currently being done is obviously not right, otherwise there would not be a problem and it would not need to be changed.

The only successful starting point for all BPM is BFM - Business Function Management - which defines WHAT the enterprise OUGHT to be doing.

The second most common mistake is tuning what is already there in the belief that it will bring business benefits! There is an old programming axiom - before you make sure that the code (process) is right, make sure it is the right code (process).

Tuning processes before you have done BFM is a waste of time, money and hard pressed peoples times.

For more on BFM look at http://www.integrated-modeling-method.com

You are quite right about technology not not solving the problem. In most current solutions it merely brings accelerated chaos.

Thanks for raising these issues.


Scott --

Thanks for raising these issues. I don't think potential BPM software customers can be reminded too frequently about these mistakes that are made by so many organizations.

I would add two considerations for any organization attempting BPM.

1. Improving business processes is about better customer interactions first, along with increased efficiency, and improved decision making. It is NOT about software.

2. A process that is defined poorly with little or no "buy in" from affected stakeholders cannot be automated.

Kindest regards,

Faun deHenry

Unfortunately as technology surrounds our lives more and more people will tend to rely on software and tools for their personal and professional lives. A quick example - think about how many people would be lost without their cell phones. There was a commercial several months ago, perhaps it was by Verizon but I don't recall, where a group of people were walking in a city and a man was getting directions from his cell phone. Someone from his group was interested in his phone and took it from him to see it. The guy just stood there clueless not knowing which way to go. People really depend on technology to get through the day but I do agree we should go back to the basics every once in a while.

Scott Cleveland blogs about BPM from a business point of view.

Scott Cleveland

Scott Cleveland is a technical, innovative and creative marketing manager with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, marketing management, sales, sales management and business process consulting aimed at high-tech companies. His areas of expertise include: product marketing, solutions marketing, solution selling, sales maangement, business process management, business process improvement and process optimization. Reach him at RScottCleveland[at]gmail.com.


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