Last time I touched on the frequent (though, to my mind, inaccurate) observations about BPM's adoption and maturity in the marketplace. Today I'll zoom in on a specific part of that marketplace, the mid-sized organization.
Anyone taking the time to read this blog will probably have few quibbles with the idea that large enterprises can benefit from BPM deployment. In such businesses, the need to extend policy control and realize efficiency savings across a vast organization creates a clear driver for the introduction of a BPM solution. Often, these products represent seven-digit investments for the enterprise, implemented in a broad, top-down manner meant to embrace the widest possible variety of processes across multiple silos.
But what of mid-market firms? I'd argue that BPM is even more important to the mid-market than it is for larger firms. At the high end, BPM is about efficiency, compliance, and competitiveness: certainly important drivers. But in the mid-tier, BPM is essential for supporting growth and enabling the transition from a small to a large operation. In other words, BPM can make the difference between stagnation and success.
Even so, the CIO of such a company is unlikely to drop millions of dollars of hard-earned revenue on a comprehensive, even bloated solution whose implementation alone would require more resources--human, financial, and temporal--than the organization could ever muster. And perhaps the tendency of the press and analysts to focus on expensive, bloated solutions deployed on a grand scale in giant household-name brand companies has kept many CIOs of mid-range firms in the dark as to the potential benefits that BPM can offer them.
So let's change that here. Here are just 3 reasons why mid-sized businesses need to take a hard look at BPM:
- Compliance. While both large and medium businesses are subject to the same rules, and face similar consequences should they transgress them, the per-capita cost of compliance in a mid-sized firm can be much greater than that of a larger enterprise. BPM can offer the mid-sized business the audit trails, process documentation, and non-repudiatable approvals it needs to meet its regulatory responsibilities.
- Growth. Treading water is a great way to attract sharks. BPM helps mid-market firms grow by growing their ability to handle increasing volumes of transactions, including customer purchases, internal trouble tickets, new hire onboards, or any other vital, repeatable process.
- ROI. As I noted above, the business and technology press is obviously going to pay attention to big-name corporations and their million-dollar deployments. But sophisticated, fully-featured BPM solutions are indeed available at a price that's palatable to the mid-market CIO. Just as importantly, some of these packages can also be deployed at a very low cost, either inside the cloud, or on-premise, without the need to pay for programmers, process improvement belt-holders, or large project teams.
In my job, I work with some very smart and talented customers across a wide spectrum, from very small ventures to the largest enterprises. But, for me, the most satisfying projects have been in that middle tier, where the impact of a successful BPM solution deployment can be so striking.