Ground-Floor BPM

Scott Menter

Conquering Maturity Mountain

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Bloggers and BPM pundits tend to make a big deal about "maturity", the idea that organizations implement technology along a curve the runs from relatively unsophisticated to highly complex. To my knowledge, this idea was first formally described at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute in respect of software processes. But the concept has since been generalized to cover almost every area of technology, including BPM.

Maturity can be a useful notion for companies trying to better visualize how they might more thoroughly integrate their BPM solution across the enterprise. In her blog, BPM expert and all-around smart person Sandy Kemsley describes a recent talk by Paul Harmon, Founder of Business Process Trends:

[Harmon] walked us through the [...] business process maturity model from level 1, with no organized processes to level 5, where processes are continuously being improved. He pointed out (quite rightly) that most BPM technology vendors are selling the ability to implement level 5, yet most organizations are at level 1 or 2, and struggling to improve their process maturity.

Perhaps the message here is that vendors ought to make sure they are meeting the basic needs of their customers before selling them expensive and complicated extras--components that address problems their customers aren't yet close to facing.

That admonishment applies equally to customers. As I've said repeatedly in this space, the biggest bang for your buck is achieved as soon as you automate. Get that done and worry about the more subtle, complicated issues--integration with enterprise platforms, conformance with enterprise architecture standards--later.

Consultants like to imply that the higher you scale the maturity mountain, the more value you will receive. Perhaps that's true, but those slopes steepen sharply as you rise.  If you're not yet ready for the thin air near the summit, establish a base camp, toast your accomplishment, and gather yourself before pushing for the top. In a rush? Well, yeah: so were the folks whose frozen bodies you'll pass on the way up.

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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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