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Should BPM be disruptive?

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Recently read a statement saying that a certain company's BPM suit can bring innovation without disruption, but for BPM to be truly revolutionary and unleash a company's full competitive potential, should it be disruptive?

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  • Why shouldn't it be allowed to shake the enterprise foundations and inspire creativity and innovation ?

    For the most part BPM can provide process stability as a core offering and benefit but as we are moving to a more connected and adaptive world then BPM needs to be allowed to innovate and be flexible enough to introduce disruptive influences.

    Think of BPM like a catalyst, it can be the spark that sets off a chain reaction that changes the way you work....if you let it.

  • Depends on how it is done...if the following steps are done, you can minimize the disruption significantly:

    - Document the as-is in workshops with experts and owners
    - Don't automatically convert the PowerPoints and Visios...dig in and understand
    - Assign ownership to every set of processes and resources to the execution of all activities
    - Communicate the draft of all processes before making anything final. If you have ownership assigned and resources visible, agreement should be relatively easy.
    - Be sure to capture process at the handoffs and 'edges' so that you have an end-to-end picture and not fragments of process
    - Promote approved processes and immediately expect and allow for change to begin occuring

    If you follow these steps, you'll have far less disruption than not doing so. My answer: It doesn't have to be disruptive.

  • Aren't there different layers to this?
    BPM - be it technology or leadership stype - can be disruptive if it's used in an unprepared environment or an environment unable to deal with it.
    If you do that intentionally, you should be certain that the environment is able to adapt to BPM.
    If you do that unintentionally - shame on you for starting something without a proper (change) strategy. (I can just about hear Anne Robinson: BPM-Owner, You are the weakest link)

    Should BPM be disruptive? Depends on company culture, the actual processes....

  • My preferable mix: disruptive for the IT and innovative for the business. A properly architected BPM (discipline, technology and solution – all together) can deliver usual projects in N times fasterXcheaper thus be very disruptive to the IT establishment. At the same time, it allows the business to implement their “dreams” quicker and lighter.


  • Disruptive innovations change the fabric of an organization. They shift, or pivot, a business by changing the very business they are in into something new, usually adjacent, and usually more profitable. Enterprise inertia is often as a result of restrictive systems that enforce mediocrity and stifle innovation.

    If through modifying systems and processes, overhauling organizational structure and thinking; a business is able access new markets with new products, achieve profitable organic growth: we've done something right.

    If that comes out of a BPM activity: great! If it doesn't: great too! But if it doesn't come from a BPM project it should be followed one to ensure sustained process improvement and innovation.

    Innovation without disruption ... that's like trying to make an omelet without cracking the eggs.

  • It depends what type of change the organisation needs. If you are in the publishing (books, magazines, newspapers) then, yes. BPM should support you as you find a new business model. If you are in the oil industry which clearly has a business model that worls well, then an evolution to continue to improve safety and exploration is required.

    But at the same time, BPM shouldn't be viewed as the "bad guy". Why not make change fun? http://iangotts.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/how-to-change-behaviour-make-it-fun-inspirational-volkswagen/

    • I think Ian has it right - transformation or disruption may not be required by the organization in question - but BPM can always be reduced to improving existing processes if disruption isn't required.

  • BPM is all about improvement. Improvement means something that is happening needs to be changed in order to get a different outcome. This necessary change is what causes "disruption." The majority of people are creatures of habit and establish patterns of behavior. Once this change or improvement occurs, people must think consciously about it which interrupts their pattern. In some cases this disruption can cause fear. The degree of change, agreement about the change and understanding are keys to reducing the amount of disruption that occurs. So by definition BPM is and should be disruptive. In my opinion, disruption is good if it is managed properly.

  • BPM causes disruption but should not be disruptive.

    By definition a Process is cross-functional. As an organization moves through an improvement initiative there will be ripple effects felt throughout the system; it's a natural result of introducing "stressors" to a Process.

    We should not see BPM as disruptive but instead ask, "At what intensity will the disruption be?"

  • Playing devils advocate to Marbeys and Toms comments:

    Are disruptive and invasive effects a sign that BPM is successful?
    If someone's asleep do you really need BPM as a wake-up tool?

    (in semi-serious mood)

  • Thomas, I like this call out.

    My response: depends on the perspective?

    Question: What version of Google's search engine is currently in production?

    We know that Google is constantly improving this product and we users are using some iteration of the product. Yet we have not felt a disruption when we view it from a search user's perspective. Therefore, I submit that "no effect" is just as good an indicator that BPM is successful as a exponential change on a Dashboard metric.

    On the same token the recent change in Google's ranking algorithm has affected a number of websites' rankings. From a web developer's perspective the effects were both visible AND provided a "wake up" call.

  • Absolutely. How do you eat an elephant?

    BPM is all about change, how you manage that change..."in small pieces"; the answer to the above question. Chew slowly it will help with digestion.

  • Like Thomas; in a semi-serious mood.

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