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Is BPM the key to realizing business strategy?

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As this blog states, "The key to effective deployment of an intended strategy is creating an infrastructure that is process-centric." So would you say BPM is the key to realizing business strategy?

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  • Oh boy. I want to write a very long long response but will stop short for now, and just say Absolutely. As more and more parts of business become comoditized your processes how those are implemented, how they are managed and run is your real true differentiator. Obviously this assumes that your processes are alinged with your business strategy which can be considered part of BPM done right.

  • BPM is certainly critical to delivering a company's Operational Strategy, and this is part of an overall business strategy alongside IT strategy, HR strategy, finance and investment strategy.

    The problem is that BPM is often relegated to being a IT project solving a point problem. But that is changing. We are seeing more and more 'C' level executives, particularly the COO, who are developing a process-centric operational strategy. And these are Fortune 500 companies hence the scale of their BPM strategy is vast, with budgets greater than $10m for software alone.

    But why should that be surprising? The prize of a well run business is measured in $billions for these companies.

    Gartner recently estimated that "10 companies in the Global 2000 will FAIL (ie go out of business) due to detectable but unaddressed process issues".

    The stakes don't get higher than that.

  • If you mean BPM the methodology, then perhaps.

    If you mean BPMS the technology - then absolutely not. BPMS's automate routine processes, so unless your strategy revolves around providing standard processes with greater efficiency, a BPMS won't help you.

  • I usually advise that BPM is a great way to execute on your business strategy. To me it needs to be put in context of the overall business architecture, which often is a good translation and structural layer between the business strategy and actual operations. Having said that, for the realization of the strategy, I wholeheartedly agree.

  • The most visible part of an implemented strategy is the products or services (with their prices, quality etc) a company delivers.

    Products and services are delivered by processes. And that can be done well or worse.

    So designing, executing and improving your processes (bpm?) to deliver what you promise seems quite important to me.

    Some just call this work. We like to call this BPM, so yes.

  • I'm not sure BPM is THE KEY to realizing business strategy but it certainly is a significant lever to consistent, repeatable processes that provide the necessary information for continuous improvement. It is not the single key to business strategy success but can and will be a very important contributor. Getting started is hard. It requires management commitment, strong leadership and resource allocation. Most businesses will need to change how they develop their strategies. The business strategy has to be balanced to include the short term critical few to deliver value today to customers to satisfy shareholders but also needs to include those long term projects that will deliver the foundation for future growth. This is where BPM is a key to success.

  • Depending on who you ask business strategy is part or a precursor to business architecture, but they are certainly closely related. Defining which processes you need to execute in terms of end-to-end value streams is part of such an architecture. A BPMS can be used to implement some of them (maybe 20%) but nowhere near all. The problem is that BPM processes assume that they achieve goals and a complex monitoring and optimization bureucracy is needed to make sure they do. So a BPM mindset on a high-level is good, but implementing a BPMS will do the opposite. As most strategies are additionally shortlived (which they shouldn't be) encoded processes become a disabler to operational changes and thus to strategy execution. Business process must be focused on empowering people and innovation and nothing else.

    There are still too many who believe that consistent, repeatable, and standardized processes are good. What is important is consistent GOAL achievement, which hardcoded processes don't guarantee, except for manufacturing or similar.

    I would say that a business strategy that is focused on financials and worse shareholder value (illusionary stories that improve share price expectations) is kind of the worst strateg a business can have. Before Steve Jobs returned, Apple was run by bean counters who demanded profits over customer value. On his return the company was just three months away from bancruptcy. The rest we know ...

  • It would be nice, wouldn't it.

    Alas, there are usually several bits and pieces missing between business strategy and BPM:

    * How do you identify and translate the relevant strategy parts into a process management strategy, in fact,
    * What is a process management strategy?
    * To create any sort of operational process strategy, shouldn't you need to know what your processes actually are and what touchpoints they have towards (as well as against) the process and business strategy?
    * How can you follow a business strategy when your mindset is tuned to a one-off bpm (project) approach?
    * ...

    Peter's question goes to the heart of what BPM is. If you regard BPM as a fancy term for automation and reengineering projects, it couldn't possibly function as the linking pin.

    On the other hand, if you regard BPM as a dicipline to manage business processes in a way that the processes become and work as the visible means to 'live' the business strategy, you're probably on the right track. But in that case, forget all you've ever heard about quick-wins and low hanging fruit. It's more complex than creating models or hard-coding tasks and steps onto a machine...but ultimately much more rewarding. The payoff will be through brain power and competence and not BPMS functionality.

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