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Which is more important to a business: BPM methodology or BPM technology?

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Several blogs have recently discussed the importance of BPM methodology, which gives rise to the question, Which is more important to a business: BPM methodology or BPM technology?

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  • All the IT budget in the world will not prevent the failure of implementing the technology without the methodology as the foundation. Garbage in, garbage out. Automating a broken process doesn't fix the problem.

    You can't dance the tango on your own. BPM is a partnership but IT must learn to trust the Business to lead this dance. But as a result, the Business must display the maturity and strength to lead in the first place.

  • That is a really good question. I am going to have to vote for "methodology". Why? If you have the BPM technology, but no proper method, you can easily waste your time and achieve nothing. However, if you have the right method, you can cobble together something to support it, and be successful. Clearly you will be more effective if you have both, but if you have to choose, knowing the method is more important.

    http://social-biz.org/2007/12/31/a-methodology-for-human-processes/

  • I've cautioned before and, no doubt, will again: analysis paralysis delays a Business Process Automation project and loses the momentum and enthusiasm.

    There is a happy medium between "don't procrastinate, just automate" and "detailed cogitation, before detailed automation".

    The ideal is to have an methodology savvy, implementation technology expert, navigate between these complementary opposites and get something done.

  • Both of them are part of Business success Indicators. In any BPM implementation project, you have first, to set up the enterprise PPP(policies,processes, and procedures), based on this enterprise culture and take account of the enterprise entire Business strategy, to design Enterprise Business Processes Model. All that are done through out a Methodology(unique), supported by the technology(multiple).
    Technology without Methodology, worth nothing!

  • This may sound very strange coming from a BPMS vendor, but technology without methodology is like building a house without proper foundations.

    I agree with Theo, IT needs to learn to trust the business to take the lead and on the other side the business needs to display the maturity and strength to take the lead.

  • As managing by process doesn't automatically mean automation, it has to be methodology.

    It looks like a lot of people think BPM is some technology thing (Theo, I will not start the Business vs IT movie here ;-) while processes also are executed, managed and improved in non IT areas.

    So process always first, then see how technology can enable process performance.

    Did I tell you about the nuclear powered chainsaw I bought. Great tool. Actually they never taught me how to cut a tree with it.....

  • Thumbs down for both alternatives :-)
    I would vote for the third one:
    3. Technology that helps people to run their so called work process(without bothering to make them optimal which what BPM is about)

  • The BPM methodology versus technology discussion uses an outdated perspective.

    BPM methodology and process/content technology must go hand-in-hand as proposed in Strategic-ACM. Adequate technology must support the enter- prise effort and thus implement the methodology, even if it might only be used in the small at first. It is not necessary to create an expansive business process architecture using substantial methodology effort for the first implementations. But to define a process without an understanding where it is positioned within a capability map and what objectives, targets and goals drive its outcomes is to ask for failure.

    That is the only way that the business can be empowered in reality because it is guided by top-down transparency, which is the prerequisite for bottom-up transparency. Without goals you don't know where to go and when you are there. Technology also has to balance outside-in value perceptions (user ratings) with inside-out operational management (SLAs).

  • Whenever I hear "methodology" I want to lie down and take a nap. Process improvement methodologies in particular seem to have been developed in a technology vacuum; as a result, in my experience, experts in disciplines like Six Sigma or OpEx are rarely well acquainted with technical solutions to process challenges.

    Look, if I'm sending a manned mission to Titan, then yeah, I want to write a few things down on paper before I start building processes. But if you're just trying to get your arms around vacation requests, or capital expense approvals, or regulatory review... save yourself some time and money and just get on with it.

  • I agree with Max this is old thinking! The technology used should be intuitive for build and use by business people and as such there in no interpretation gap. There should be no barriers to thinking in the best way to do the job coming from users. Having a mentor to encourage ideas based upon the fact the art of the possible has changed from the old "IT" ways will help until the point is reached where users no longer fear making change requests and it is in their control not IT.
    I see methodologies such as “agile” are treating the symptoms they rarely address the real underlying problems.

  • Again, I am in agreement with Max and also David but I'll put my thoughts into different words. I believe what is important to the business is ... business results - not technology nor methodology. This is why I am a proponent of ACM because these solutions are implemented by business people, for business people and focus exclusively on fast results. I believe concepts like 'what is the underlying technology and methodology' are (and should be) imperceptible to the business.

  • Even I totally agree with Theo, BPM Technology and Methodology go hand in hand. BPM technology without the methodology will often lead to project failures or lack of direction and vice versa, using only BPM methodology while not taking advantage of the technology sounds handicapped.

    Just like in an orchestra group playing music, Without a concert master or a director, it will be a chaos with everyone playing their tunes, though everyone is an expert in the instrument they play. The Director plays a vital role, in waving his hands and establishing a tempo to create a smooth transition of music which is pleasing to our ears.

    In this analogy :
    The Concert Master/Director = Methodology Expert
    The individual musicians = Technology Experts

    In a nutshell, a perfect handshake between Methodology and Technology is very important.

  • Technology is what it is….hardware and software. Methodology is inclusive of technology, people,processes principals and rules; without methodology technology is useless or an expense out of control. Software is going to do only what you tell it to do – the guidance is going to come from methodology. Hardware should be procured on need, again driven by principles, and rules of the organization – methodology.

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