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How would you define the core of BPM?

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Last week's forum seemed to generate near universal agreement that we need to get back to the core of BPM.  So how would you define the core of BPM?

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  • Considering the definition of a process as “explicitly-defined coordination of services to create a particular result”, the core BPM must support as much as possible explicit coordination techniques, as in http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2012/07/coordination-techniques-in-bpm-social.html

    Thanks,
    AS

  • The core is also in the name: Business - Process - Management. We have to remember to focus on the needs of the business. We must understand our job is to simply manage the business processes. Often this get lost in the technical wizardry that emerges with alerts, dashboards, system integration and all the other cool benefits of BPM. Successful BPM projects are measured in improved business performance and outcomes: it doesn't get any more core than that.

  • Automation, integration, continuous process improvement. No more, no less.

    Just my tuppence.

  • The original term was BPR (Business Process Reengineering) which encourage looking at what people do in the office as connected into an end-to-end process. From this, we move on to Business Process Management, which is management of business processes. That implies a cycle of improvement of those processes.

    BPM can be done on paper, with email, with training, and/or with sophisticated integration middleware, but the CORE is the idea that someone is going to take an active part in recognizing and improving those business processes -- and nothing else.

  • I am not sure that we are talking on the same thing, i.e. BPM. My "version" is that BPM = "use processes to better manage the business (enterprise)" or in French "gestion par processus". While I can see another "version" of BPM = management of business processes. The both versions must be considered but, please, let us be explicit which BPM is meant.

    Thanks,
    AS

  • I hope the original term was not BPR. What company was ever started to improve? Probably none. In the best case a company was started to do things well.

    And that is what BPM originated from; just doing things. Every company is doing a lot of things and I think the core of BPM is managing all these things as process. And as all these things (let's call them activities) allready happen, the processes are already there.

    BPM is about treating them as a process. That also means that a process is just one view on an organization. But as a process is 'a thing' that delivers a result, a good view I think. As long....as that result is really something essential to deliver. And that makes a process not a goal, just a means. A means to deliver what you promise as an organization.

    So the core is understanding what results in your organization need a process. The second question is about how much grip you need on that process. Will it be managed tayloristic, will it be managed case management style? DOesn't matter, as long as it delivers a result (product, service or a solved problem)that matters.


  • The core of BPM is the as-is model - a base for making improvements?

  • Interesting link to BPR which was a movement that recognised the value to seeking better ways for people to work to improve efficiency. BUT then "IT" took over and the focused moved to improving "processing power" with centralised systems the biggest "culprit" was ERP! BPM was recognition in IT terms that the original principles in BPR remained relevant bearing in mind people in any organisations are an asset. Likewise good processes are assets BUT only if they remain flexible and that's where IT over 30+ years has largely failed. So out came the spreadsheets access databases even post it motes.....!
    Early BPM started to help fill that gap but not at a strategic level. Now people supporting technologies with the required adaptive features to manage work and content have been created that could enhance this core to BPM - a discipline that puts people’s needs at work as the driver. Call it an “outside in” approach a shift away from both centralised command and control management and those inflexible legacy processing and records of historic activity. So BPM is back to core; back to the basics of how business really works as a discipline with new supporting technologies opening up interesting new opportunities for organisations to improve efficiency and encourage an empowered workforce?

  • Peter, once again replies seem to mix BPM and BPMS. I have often said that BPM is about automation and efficiency (aka cost cutting) and was flamed for blasphemy. It seems however that the majority here agrees with me. But ...

    Automation is good to perform simple repetive, mindless or dangerous tasks, but as it happens it is mostly used to MAKE WORK MINDLESS to make higher profits with less people. What this approach kills is the social network interaction inside and outside the business. It destroys the MINDFUL collaboration that business is all about.

    BPM is thus not about business improvement and it never was. Why? As the AS-IS model flow can't represent the real work, how much better can an improved one be? Social BPM is after all an oxymoron. Current BPMS aren't capable of doing BPM. BPM does not ensure outcomes it enforces execution. People could ensure outcomes but can't as they must follow the process. BPM kills employee motivation as there is no autonomy, a low skill requirement and thus no job security.

    Also most of the ACM or other case management approaches lack the only thing that would improve outcomes - explicit goal-orientation linked to business strategy. Something that BPM consultants talk about but is never done because the c-level expects ROI timeframes of 12 months or less.

    So the core of BPM is a big illusion.

  • Sorry Max you a wrong more than right. Yes current BPMS (and hence BPMN?) is not really delivering but "BPM" thinking is about both outcomes and execution. It is also about the formal and informal recognising value networks across the silos where required to support people. And believe it with the right tool the "model flow" represents the real work covering all such requirements and a lot more.
    The fact that the old "tools" fail to deliver is a reflection on poor over hyped technologies unable to support the unfettered thinking that BPM can create......?

  • The core? People.

    Whether you treat it as a method or as an automated system, it's always people.

    Employees, Consumers, damned Compliance Officers, all amounts to the same thing. Processes are weaved around them, processes are aligned to them, and processes have to educate them through change.

    You can have all the slickest processes in the world run by the fastest suite but without people to interact with them it's pretty pointless.

  • Some really interesting points above.

    I believe the core of BPM is defined by how connections from the BPM tool add real world value to the people who input and gain output from it.

    The core, therefore, of BPM should be to provide people, at all levels in the business, with the ability to understand how BPM improves knowledge gathering and why that is important (be it through saving time in the persons day or identifying bottlenecks) in addition to where operations are great and where more focus is required to drive best practice. The most important collaboration on this last point is directing changes to the BPM tool for improved performance and/or to the people within the business. It's not a kicking mechanism but a spotlight on areas that require better approaches.

    • Do you really think a lot of the people in the trenches care about understanding "how BPM improves knowledge gathering and why that is important?" They care about bottlenecks maybe, certainly about doing things easier (not necessarily quicker). Take what you can get, from the top (management) and bottom (in the trenches) both.

  • "unique process-centric and design-driven architecture"
    Process or the workflow for the core part of the BPM right from its evolution journey from BPR Workflows.
    So, in a nutshell the Process+People duo along with the surround systems and features (like identifying, defining, executing, controlling, monitoring, improving, optimizing and governing business processes) form an integral part of the BPM

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