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How big does a company have to be to benefit from a BPMS?

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From this ebizQ feature, how big does a company have to be to benefit from a BPMS?

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    But this is the problem with BPMS. Whether open source or stack-heavy dinosaur, you require expertise to deploy it, learn it, automate with it.

    There are a mass of workflow and task management tools out there now that are leaner, faster, require little patience to adopt, don't need business analysts to help define and deploy.

    If you're a SMB there are more avenues to handling process now beyond those lumbering around in Jurassic Park.

  • Agree with Theo the good supporting tools are business friendly and quick to build any business process. I would put a size in terms of cost of a first simple project should have a budget of c £12,000 ($20,000). Once quick payback achieved should quickly be self financing for next project.

  • I like David's budget number. I would say that once you go below that you are best served by collaboration tools. Collaboration tools have a lot of overlap with BPMS but they are not the same. Bug tracking tools, basecamp, trello, etc. - these tools tend to serve the SMB better than BPMS and at a lower budget in terms of time to learn and $ to implement.

  • Any organization big enough to have a process is big enough for a BPM solution. And thanks to subscription-based SaaS models, you can get into one for as little as $1k/month. So no excuses.

  • We all know that money and time are tight for SMBs. So too is the self-awareness to see that there are better ways to operate.

    A small business can go as cheap as it likes with the tool (Scott's $1k may still be higher than some SaaS tools out there), or try to avoid the expense of using an experience analyst as Theo suggests. The reality is that only an external view of an organization and the way it runs can achieve a better result than an online version of an existing mess.

    I would answer the question "How big does a company have to be to benefit from a BPMS?" in this way:

    as soon as the company in question is willing to invest in a professional analyst to identify ways to improve a major business process.

    A company that wants to skimp on the analysis, design or deployment of big process and operational problems is unlikely to ever get the best from a BPMS. Or any business improvement tool.

  • Choosing a BPMS has nothing to do with size, SMB or not. The only thing that is relevant is how the business capabilities are organized and if there might be a benefit in making them transparent. From my perspective NO BUSINESS NEEDS A BPMS. There is nothing that HAS TO BE DONE in a BPMS. Nothing must be defined as flowcharted process as they do not deliver anything sensical except an illusionary process quality that have no benefit except in straight mass manufacturing.

    The claim that only external consultants will know better how a company should work is utter nonsense. It is however true that without the substantial effort of process analysis and design you wont get anything from a BPMS, which is why you shouldn't be using them -- Cloud or not. The cost will kill an SMB.

    Clearly it makes sense for any business in any size to think about strategic objectives, define operational targets, make process goals and handovers transparent to process owners, ensure compliance rules are in place, and monitor defined customer outcomes and perceived value in real-time (=satisfaction). I do not see flowcharts!

    There are no BPMS on the market that do the above!!!

    So yes, collaboration tools will work a lot better for anyone (including large businesses) than a BPMS. Which is why I see the ACM approach that defines the above elements and maps them into cases for people to collaborate towards the above as much more real world and effective than any current BPMS.

  • Cost should not be seen as an absolute to aim for - it should be related to the business value generated.

    If I can save you £1million (and most of our projects save at least this) then does it matter if it costs £12k or £120k?

    There are also multiple ways to achieve success. We have, for example, small businesses where they do the process modelling in BlueworksLive, which creates a fully BPMN compliant model which we then pull into IBM BPM and do the development work for them. Thus companies can choose the levels and types of skills they have in house, with us providing the back-stop, with mentoring, process audit and development.

    Our smallest engagement this year was a Building Merchant who needed standardised processes - 3 days later they were enabled with BlueworksLive and achieved exactly what they needed for a thousand pounds. They are now working towards automation of the key processes.

    Every business, however small, can benefit from defined processes. Once you have those processes, there are almost certainly some which would benefit from automation, not merely to reduce costs but to give process visibility, enable employees and reduce risk.

    All of those benefits are quantifiable and usually easily cover the cost of the software. Once up and running, the costs of support are small compared to the benefits generated.

    I'll bet any company of 50 employees or £10m turnover would more than justify the cost. But far too many focus on the cost and thus end up with cut-down products or low quality consultants who won't realise the benefits possible.

  • Size doesn't matter... Its not the size of the organization that determines wether it should use a BPMS. Its the business case of the tool and the usage. A small size company might start to use a free BPMS but then its the implementation, usage and maintenance that determines the cost of it all. In this case the question is does the benefit of the usage validate the costs? So I personally think that an organization should determine the business case of BPM as a whole (Method, knowledge, BPMS, implementation, etc. vs optimization, cost-cutting, employee benefits etc) in order to determine if it should start. A BPMS alone (without method, usage etc.) certainly does not deliver the benefits.

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