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Ground-Floor BPM

Scott Menter

Bottoms up!

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Your business has a problem. Customer service inquiries are slipping through the cracks, leading to complaints. Worse, the unhappy customers have taken to social media to share their experiences, threatening new business.

As the guy in charge of service, you have two choices: fix this, or start rehearsing the phrase would you like fries with that? You've heard whispers about an IT-driven project that might help, so you call the CIO, who tells you about the BPM rollout she's been planning for months. And, good news! Once the architecture committee has approved the plans—which will definitely be by the end of next quarter—your group is third on the list! With any luck, you'll have a solution by mid next year, latest. Or the end of next year, but that's definitely worst-case.

Oh dear. By then, you're going to be wearing a paper hat and a polyester shirt, so it's pretty obvious that the corporate top-down BPM roll-out isn't going to be an option for you. In desperation, you reach for the keyboard and Google around for BPM. You discover that a number of vendors offer BPM in the cloud—could that be a shortcut to solving your problem?

Fast-forward four months. IT's BPM RFQ is in its final evaluation round: they're down to seven vendors. Meanwhile, your department's cloud-based BPM customer inquiry application is up and running. In the first 30 days, complaints have dropped by 80%, and negative mentions of your company on Twitter have also fallen off. Your boss has started hinting around about a raise; even your wife has mentioned that you seem different, somehow—younger-looking, even.

Of course, word spreads about your success. Within a year, five departments have deployed cloud-based BPM solutions. The COO has chosen you to chair a committee looking at how these various solutions can be leveraged across the company. He hints at the possibility of additional stock options.

You have lunch with the CIO; apparently, the RFP is complete, and a vendor has been selected, but things have stalled in the negotiations phase. It seems that the CIO is having difficulty developing an ROI case for the $2 million price tag. "Maybe top-down wasn't really the way to go with BPM," she observes as the waiter arrives with your wine. You raise your glass. "Bottoms up!"

For some reason, the CIO doesn't even smile.

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Quick note: Comments are moderated. My preference is to publish all comments. Then again, some comments I receive are really just blatant advertisements for somebody's product. After some consideration, I've decided to filter those out.

I welcome your comments, even those that vehemently disagree with my position. But out of respect for my readers and their time, I will screen out anything that looks like it should include the phrase "but wait, there's more!". So please plan your remarks accordingly.


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Scott covers ground-level BPM issues of interest to enterprise users who are tasked to do more with less while improving business processes.

Scott Menter

E. Scott Menter is the VP of Business Solutions for BP Logix, a provider of business process management (BPM) solutions to corporate, non-profit, and government organizations. In addition to technology leadership positions in financial services and higher education, Scott also spent over a decade leading his own identity management software firm. Contact Scott at Scott.Menter@bplogix.com
or http://twitter.com/ESMatBPL.

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