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BPM in the Cloud(s)

Michael Dortch

Moving to the Cloud? Leave Your Bad Processes Behind!

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Make sure to avoid moving bad or pointless processes to the cloud. Here's how. But first, music, dance, spiders and the unintended consequences of inadequate processes.

I learned recently that the tarantella, a form of music and dance popular worldwide, traces parts of its origins through Taranto, Italy. There, the bite of a local spider, the one we now know as a tarantula, caused an hysterical condition ("tarantism") that could only be cured by frenzied dancing. For which music and a dance style were both created and promulgated across the region. The tarantella.

So basically, great music and dance might not exist at all were it not for bad or absent processes for accurate medical diagnosis or, if you will/must, root cause analysis.

I once worked at a publisher of media focused on information technology (IT). The expense reimbursement forms and processes in place at that company at the time harkened back to a much earlier, less technology-enabled period. The 1950s, say. Turns out those forms and processes had been designed by and for a supply purchasing manager who'd retired long before I got there and had to face the results of his work.

How best to avoid taking bad processes with you into the cloud (or wherever the future of your business lies)? Assess current processes in parallel with the assessment of current needs, goals and solutions I'm sure you and your colleagues are doing to inform your decisions about moving to the cloud. That process assessment should at minimum answer the following questions.
  • Do we know how effective this process is?
  • Do we know its costs and benefits?
  • Do we know how well it is supported and enforced?
  • Do we know that this process is kept current with changing needs and conditions?

Great places to start: inventory management and IT infrastructure management. Each has immediate and sustained effect on business agility, responsiveness and success. Each offers multiple premise-based, cloud-based and cloud-enhanced alternatives worthy of your consideration. Each requires integration of and harmonious transition between premise- and cloud-based resources. And each requires solid, collaboratively developed and well-enforced processes to be done successfully.

A hint: ensure that all of your processes enable and support the ability of each management solution in your company's "CROP" to do all four of the following tasks.
  • Collect all relevant data about all technologies and user activities.
  • Refine that data into actionable information.
  • Optimize that information based on business-specific goals and processes.
  • Promulgate that information to all who need it, in forms they can understand and use.

The cloud, however you define it for your business, offers great potential benefit as well as significant challenges to success. How well you triage and refresh your incumbent processes could determine how well that move to the cloud goes for you and your business.

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Michael Dortch blogs about the rapidly evolving synergies (and possible challenges) linking BPM and cloud computing business strategies at all types of businesses -- including yours!

Michael Dortch

Michael Dortch is a veteran information entrepreneur and information technology (IT) industry analyst, consultant, speaker, writer, evangelist and provocateur. He has been striving to empower buyers, sellers and users of IT solutions since 1979. Seriously! ;-)

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