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How do you make sure BPM stays relevant across the business strategy?

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This question was raised at Gartner's BPM summit, which Anne Stuart is covering here: How do you make sure BPM stays relevant across the business strategy and does not just become the "program of the day" or part of the IT function?
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  • How do you make sure BPM stays relevant across the business strategy? -- network architecture. In the 21st century we need open and virtually unified environments, not closed / silo'd ones.

  • The question seems to assume that there needs to be a corporate business strategy for BPM to happen. Corporate initiatives to improve core business processes are valuable, but should not be a prerequisite for BPM. In my opinion, every manager should be able to automate his own processes without requiring a corporate business strategy or blessing. In BPM, both top down and bottom up should be able to coexist.

  • OK, I'll jump in here. I agree with Dave that network architecture is necessary. I also agree with Tom that corporate strategy is essential. However, I see both of their responses as partial answers to the question of continued BPM relevancy with business strategy.

    Perhaps, it's all my conversations with JV about silos, but I see the issue requiring a multipronged approach. There is the network architecture, or more appropriately enterprise architecture challenge. I think that enterprise architecture can be designed such that a certain amount of flexibility is inherent.

    Although, the other two challenges are people-related. Tom mentioned the necessity of corporate strategy, but how often have we observed an organization developing a strategy that was truly integrated, and not siloed? If we support the notion of managers automating without adherence to corporate strategy, we're increasing the silo challenge. I think JV has a point when he discusses siloes in terms of how people think initially and that thought pattern being reflected in organizations and their processes.

    The final challenge is leadership. In most organizations, sad to say, leaders don't lead. They come to work and firefight. Consequently a BPM enabled corporate strategy becomes the flavor of the day or week. This is no different than any other technology enabled initiative that we've observed over the last 20 years. I've siad this before.

    So the short answer, Peter, IMHO is: An organization needs three things to ensure continued BPM relevancy with corporate strategy -- flexible enterprise architecture, reduction of siloed thinking and silos, and strong leadership.

  • There are several factors which will keep BPM relevant:

    a) Answering the basic need: if a BPM system is solving a company's problem day in day out, saving costs, improving procedures, etc. then it will continue to be relevant, just like any of the company's mission critical systems.

    b) Ability to consolidate, connect or extend systems: if BPM can unify disparate systems, connect up silos of information or extend the functionality of existing systems its relevance will blossom.

    c) User accessibility: BPM processes need to be accessible to the greatest number of employees, if possible via a company portal such as SharePoint. The BPM team must promote these processes well within the company, and conduct ongoing training.

    d) Social Features: BPM processes should have social features which facilitate collaboration on processes, such as questions and answers, commments, and involving other members of the company in the process. Processes with links to other relevant process will also help.
    More on that here: http://www.pnmsoft.com/technology/white-paper-social-bpm/

    Those are just some of the factors, but I think, some of the main ones.

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