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What is the biggest barrier to companies starting a BPM project?

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What is the biggest barrier to companies starting a BPM project?

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  • Knowing how to start it in the first place and where they want to go with it !
    Knowing you have the right people with the right attitudes is critical for supporting that first step.

    If you don't understand why you need BPM, who you need or what to do with it then you've failed already.

  • To expand on Theo's point, was, is, will always be subject matter expertise, business and technical both. This is not unique to BPM.

  • Theo is right in that you have to know what you're looking at and why you need it. But you also have to be able to tease apart a lot of overlapping claims by vendors who are somehow able to make their very different products sound remarkably similar.

    As I've mentioned before, there is also a psychological barrier to overcome. The initial dive into BPM can start from the side of the pool, rather than the edge of the 10-meter platform. BPM doesn't require—indeed, is often better off without—the top-down driven implementation cycle common to other three-letter software solutions like CRM and ERP. The benefits of deploying BPM tactically, and then allowing it grow organically throughout the enterprise, are not always obvious to the BPM n00b.

  • The biggest barrier is really not technology, vendor, product, SI or that consultant or anything else outside the firm. They could become barriers, yes and they well might. But that's really not your biggest problem.

    The biggest barrier is not acknowledging the fact that the biggest barrier could be something other than technology, vendor, product, SI or that consultant or anything else outside the firm.

  • Perhaps it is the wrong question. The question really might be, what stops IT teams from proving to business managers that BPM technology can help solve their problems?

    I don't hear many Senior execs or managers screaming that they need a BPM project. I do hear them screaming that they need to increase revenues or drive out waste. So in the first instance let's help them with the organisational change issues, let's help them tidy up or cut down their processes and then if needed we can then help them apply BPM technology to help automate, monitor and manage their work in order to provide them with the ability to better mange their performance.

    BUT, it all starts with us accepting that it is their pain and we are only their to help if requested or if we wish to suggest it.

    For more on what IT needs to do to be taken more seriously the check my my recent blog piece http://bit.ly/LGpldu

  • Probably a lack of tangible ROI. With cloud computing it becomes easier, in some cases giving an RBI (Return Before Investment).

    But the challenge is explaining to senior people why BPM is important. At a recent Gartner Symposium I heard a discussion about how to get the CEO to talk to the CIO about processes. As my blog 'Doh! wrong person' explains http://wp.me/pLuvX-9B that is the wrong approach. BPM is about business benefits.

    I keynoted the BPM Europe conference and my topic was "What shall I tell the CEO about BPM?" The answer - NOTHING. Talk about business outcomes and benefits.

    • This is the key... BPM has to be about business outcomes and benefits.

      Perhaps the first thing that any organization needs to address is "what does BPM mean to us?"

      For many organizations their answer to that question depends on who answers first: the IT folks will say that it means automation, systems implementation, etc.; the six sigma/lean folks will say that it means documentation and continuous improvement.

      Executive leadership should look at process management as the set of capabilities that enable all levels of the organization to effectively manage processes. This includes governance, change management, process models, performance and maturity, strategic alignment, process improvement, and tools and technology.

      If they're not already thinking that's what process management is, then the first step is getting them on that page. The business results of using this definition: you're looking at the whole picture and making educated decisions about the entire cost, not just talking about the cost to implement a BPMS, or manage a process improvement project.

  • I think it is called "IT"........

  • Knowing how to get started, where to start etc. But also fear of the unknown. They dont understand BPM, what it entails and are scared away from BPM out of fear its too much or too complicated or it will disrupt the culture too much.

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    The biggest barrier is organizational management not even realizing there is a barrier and attempting to throw more bodies or technology at a problem they do not fully understand. Need to understand the business problem(s) then determine how BPM can help solve the problem(s) and contribute to the value of the organization.

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    The assumption that seems to be implied by the OP is that BPM is a technology solution (i.e. BPMS) and not that BPM includes process ownership and governance. I can often tell when a BPM engagement is going to be successful when I see the right level of process ownership, definition of the problem in measurable terms (it takes us 3 times as long to open an account as our competitors versus "it takes too long"), and a commitment to communicate and implement change.

  • There are 2 barriers I see and they work together.

    1. The organization does not see the need for improvement in a new way- they do not realize that by continuing to work in functional and divisional silos instead of cross functionally they will not make the progress they need.
    2. An IT group or BPM practitioner is trying to force this realization and getting no where pushing the string uphill. You don't have to start BPM at the C-suite level but you need to start with a real business need and urgency.

  • Nice discussion viewpoints.
    Some of the biggest barrier to companies starting a BPM project are :
    - lack of familiarity with current BPM functionality
    - historical concerns over high cost
    - the perceived need to “rip out” existing systems
    - fears of lengthy development & deployment cycles
    - the conflict story-line : IT vs Business or Technology vs RoI
    - multiple product vendors in the market and which one to go with
    - limited groundwork done to justify if there is a real need of BPM in the landscape

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