My view of BPM grew out of EDM [engineering document management] beginning in the late 80's at a company called Sherpa. Fortunately, the software had a workflow component. And, the workflow wasn't just 'bump and run' - it allowed a company to add if, then, else logic to the flow.
Our market was engineering, so they cared about engineering documents.
A little marketing history - Over the years, EDM software vendors that had a workflow component didn't want to be lumped in with EDM vendors that did not - so they created a new category called PDM [product data management] software. The PDM companies wanted to sell to departments other than engineering so they created a new category called PLM [product lifecycle management] software. This is where we are today.
Over the years, I learned that all engineering documents go through a formal or informal approval process. Drawings need approval signatures before they can be 'released'. And, companies that have implemented PLM software will likely put all documents through a process to become 'released'.
Some believe that documents can exist without process. I don't believe that is possible. As I write this blog, you could believe that it exists without process. Even thought I am the only person involved in the process, it does go through a process. Ok, so the process is informal - still...
I write a rough draft and leave it overnight. I edit it the next day removing grammatical errors that I see. I make sure to credit anything I might quote. I review it one more time and then I post it. It is definitely a process to write this blog.
Where BPM fits
When I map a process, a part of the analysis is to determine what information a person needs to perform their activity. I identify where that information is located and how I can provide it to that person. And, as a result of their activity did they create information? If they did, where does that information need to be stored so that it can be retrieved. Only then do you have a clear picture of a step [activity] in a process.
If you remove non value add activities from your process; if you have a computer perform an activity that a human doesn't need to perform; and if you have a person do what a computer cannot, you will reduce costs. While the economy is struggling to get back on track, now would be a good time to get more efficient.
What is holding up your BPM project?