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How Small is Too Small for a BPM Implementation in Terms of Users?

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This question comes from Brain Reale of Colosa: How Small is Too Small for a BPM Implementation in Terms of Users?

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  • Depends on who you are and what your business ultimately represents to the vendor. It also depends on whether your vendor offers user-based licensing, which would enable a much lower cost implementation than CPU-based pricing. I believe that most vendors today would be willing to work with you on a small scale. If you only need 25 users, they might require you to use their professional services for design/development/deployment.
    I recommend that you give a few BPM vendors a call to test the waters.

  • We work with AgilePoint and for them it is no problem to start with only 5 or 10 users, licenses start really small with them.

  • We recently implemented a BPM SaaS solution for a client with one user. This then expanded to 6. Cost for consulting was just under $ 25,000 and their monthly SaaS subscription is under $ 200. Hope this helps.

  • -1. After all, we have customers creating business processes that are fully automated, and thus have 0 users. As people get involved, there may be as little as one user, who is given tasks only for unusual cases within processes that are otherwise fully automated.
    If the question is really asking how big and important does a project have to be in order justify the cost of a BPMS, then when the cost of the BPM is low enough, the project can be pretty small.

  • At salesorder.com we see implementations from two upwards there is no pattern (globally). Customers like the 'free to use' during implementations and we do keep the rates low to suit our target market the small business. As NotSuite has moved out of our way we are seeing higher demand for more sophisticated needs and as a result we are looking at ways to find more good BPM folk in the US, Europe, Middle and Far East.

  • Obviously, there is no hard and fast rule. And lots of respectable BPM vendors will tell you that they have an "incredibly simple to use hosted/cloud/SaaS BPM solution that starts at $x per user." And therefore their sales guys will tell you that if you have 1 user - no problem, just sign up and build your process.

    I think they are missing the point. I can count on one hand the number of businesses I know with under 30 employees that are capable of drawing their processes with pen and paper much less putting those processes into a BPMN design tool. There is a reason that ISO certifications generally mandate a MINIMUM of 30 or more employees. The reason is that smaller businesses tend to favor more flexible approaches to business and have generally not yet defined their processes to the point of making them replicable by systems or other people. When they get to that point they usually have more than 30 people in the business. In fact, it is sort of a chicken and egg - you can't scale a business without processes and you won't have processes in your business until you scale. Anyone who is out in the field implementing BPM knows this despite what vendors and their sales guys will tell you, this is true.

    Of course, there are exceptions. However, these exceptions are few and far between. We get so many calls and emails from SMBs looking to implement BPM, that I've developed a simple set of questions that I ask to see if these companies are even candidates for BPM. If they aren't, I will quickly recommend some different software to them (wikis, collaboration, etc) and send them on their way. Everyone is busy these days, and we simply don't like selling software to someone who doesn't need it. So, here is a set of questions to size up your next small opportunity. Take the test to see if your biz under 30 employees needs BPM - http://bit.ly/1Ni2Q

  • I dont think you can have too small, as Michael said you can have processes that have 0 users.

    SaaS solutions can provide great savings, however, it depends on your requirements. What sort of integration will you require with other LOB applications? What level of security do you need to have? What content will be part of the process.

    At the end of the day, users are quite un-important when discussing BPM, its basically what are your requirements and can BPM save that business money in the long term and raise efficiency. If it can, then its viable. I have no doubt that vendors will be able to "price a model" for any type of solution no matter how few users there are.

  • depends on the business need - I've seen processes that had 2 users but the value of each instance and the time saved and the quality improvement resulted in massive ROI and on going cost reduction - atthe other end of the scale i've seen "trivial" processes with 100s of users - there's no hard and fast rule - from zero on up - business requirement comes first

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