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What is a company doing when it says it has implemented BPM?

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Suggested by Emiel Kelly, what is a company doing when it says it has implemented BPM?

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  • Kidding themselves :-)

    BPM is a journey not a destination, so if they think that they have "done it" they are either fooling themselves, or being fooled by others.

    The sad reality is that most likely they have picked a process or two, purchased a BPMS tool and implemented some automation and are now saying "that's done tick the box"

    Of course the process they automated might be valuable in reducing costs, increasing services and growing revenues - so we should applaud them for that.

    But, if they truly believe they have implemented BPM then maybe we can ask them for advice on a few points.

    1. What was it like transitioning to a process centric way of managing?
    2. How did you overcome the management silos and cross functional barriers?
    3. How did you get all process teams working together from the same hymn sheet?
    4. What di the auditors have to say about seeing those smarter controls in place and risk management better addressed?
    5. How have employees found their new involved ways of working?
    6. What techniques did you use to create communication plans and systems that got everyone on board?
    etc... etc...

    but more importantly

    a) How has it improved the top line of your business?
    b) How has it affected the bottom line of your business?
    c) How did customer satisfaction ratings change?

    So many questions to ask someone who thinks they have done it, rather than doing or working on it.

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    Their IT department just bought an enterprise license of ARIS.

  • IT 'implements' stuff, so they may be getting mixed up between BPM "the software", and BPM "the way you make a business run better (which might include software)".

    Either way, if it is showing positive improvements in points a, b, c of Marks comment, then their 'implementation' was probably good.

  • Taking psychotropic drugs.

    Depends on your definition of BPM and what it really means for you. I agree with the above in any case though and too many times I've seen a company implement either a software solution or conduct improvement in one area only and then move on to implement in another dept/ silo/ function in a completely different manner with a completely different solution with no regard to what has been done before, no lessons learnt and carried forward. Just a disjointed mess and not the 'holistic' approach everyone bangs on about.

    BPM is like the 'observer effect' or 'many worlds theory':

    Many-worlds posits the existence of multiple universes in which an observed system displays all possible states to all possible observers.

    Observer Effect posits the effect that the act of observation will make on the phenomenon being observed.

    In the case of BPM you try to nail it down or define it and it will change to suit the conditions you need it for. Hence, BPM will always be a continual endeavour not just a single implementable instance.

    Or in simple terms: B=PM²

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    From my Perspective we have implemented the BPM as the core Engine component in the work flow. This is part of the enterprise APP and the work Flow is totally based on the component that is part of the core part of the application. I am not able to understand the concept of the Question that "What is a company doing when it says it has implemented BPM?", This part of the Site wholly concentrates on the BPM to make the technology more matured by sharing the implementation knowledge that they have gained from implementing the Technology. The Question is not Sounding good.

    • Hi Mahesh,

      You're taking BPM as purely a system or application driven effort, it's not. BPM is both a Business and IT discipline and the question looks to understand what a person's perception of what it means for an organisation that considers its BPM effort completed. If you consider BPM as simply implementing a workflow component then I would consider this a very limited definition and vision of what it means for BPM.

      The forum is a mix of technology and business perspectives and conversation, I have to disagree on your comments about ebizQ solely concentrating on sharing implementation knowledge.

  • Wow, some harsh words in here. And it's hard to argue that companies aren't buying expensive 3-letter software suites, tossing them up on the shelf, and calling them "implemented".

    But as I have the benefit of having worked with a number of customers who have, indeed, "implemented BPM", allow me to dissent. After all, the question wasn't about companies who said they are "all done implementing BPM", it's about companies that say they have done such an implementation.

    It's like brushing your teeth. You brushed your teeth this morning. You'll brush them again tonight (I hope). You continue to eat, and the nasty little critters that cause cavities continue to do their thing, so you keep brushing. As long as a company is building new processes and improving old ones, it will have the opportunity to continue "implementing" BPM.

  • I asked this question hoping it finally should make clear that the BPM community will never agree on what BPM is (And maybe they want to stay it that way to keep on making money with advice, tooling, analyst reports, seminars etc).

    Wanting to define BPM seems like somebody wants to make it a goal in itself.

    But BPM (better call it managing by process) is just a mean to reach your organization mission, vision or whatever they like to call their reason for existence.

    So very simple said it is about making customers happy.

    So translating this in more process-slang: I think a company is really making the best use out of it’s processes when all their processes deliver what they promise and has the methods in hand to keep them delivering what they promise.

    So that also means you can never talk about BPM in general. At least it doesn’t make sense as the needed grip on processes might differ in each industry.

    And then you can think of certain actions to be taken that will make companies better in this. In my opinion these are at least:

    -They know very well what processes they have and are clear these are useful process
    -They know what processes really are important for the organization
    - They know what these processes must deliver (process results)
    - They know what the stakeholders of the process expect about these results (goals)
    - They are aware every process is unique so the characteristics of the processes (type of workflow, people, their empowerment, information supply, steering, agility etc) are suited to deliver these promises.


    This is quite high level, but I don’t want it to make it a lecture on BPM ;-)

    But to me organizations are good in MbP when they (and then I mean everybody in the organization) are fully aware of and really make use of their processes.

    That they also are aware that it is about executing their processes, not ending up in endless process improvement projects (with enterprise modeling licences, process centers of excellence etc). So they created processes that can cope with the needed level of adaptation (but that is again about the right characteristics as said above)

    So that states again that processes are never a goal; just a means. A means to deliver promises.


    So the pizzeria on the corner here; I think they are extremely good at BPM.

  • Enjoy the discussion, when BPM is sometimes misunderstood as micro-process automation, that probably the question come from, well, I agree with what folks pointed out, BPM is a journey, include process improvement, process innovation and process optimization, it may never get done, but tangible result can be measured and milestone can be set up. thanks.

  • LOL…cynical are we. I really like Emiel’s first response…I have to agree…they have to know what BPM is first…in the cynical mood…

    In reality if they have a clue, the company would be strategically re-engineering itself. Not necessarily developing new services/products more of aligning the execution of business and operation activities.

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