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Should businesses not use BPM as a solution for a specific problem?

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From this Theo Priestley interview:  "They are still approaching BPM as a solution for a specific process or department. Some BPM gurus and BPMS vendors will argue that this is short-sighted." What are your thoughts?

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  • That depends on what you define as the problem. BPM in my opinion should be perceived as a solution for creating continues improvement and transformation capabilities. BPM provides both a management discipline and the tooling needed. If you consider the lack of adaptability or the absence of continues self-reflexion and improvement a specific problem than yes, the business should see BPM as a solution to cope with these problems.

  • Hi Peter - I'll take it further, we need to dis-aggregate process function from component middleware, process lives at a higher-level - the level of the network. Set your algorithms free - that's how you get true interoperability.


  • BPM (delivering what you promise) is daily work, so the only problem it can be a solution for is 'I am not doing anything at all'

  • I'm with Mac McConnel of Bonitasoft, who in reply to this question said, "I cringe when I hear about organizations undertaking monolithic BPM initiatives." Not only is BPM adaptable to a bottom up approach, knocking out specific problems as it grows; it actually works better that way.

    Big software companies, including large pure-play BPM vendors, know that CIOs are most comfortable with big top-down implementations. Many of these vendors sold the same CIOs their ERP, HRIS, or CMS systems, and of course those are all enormous strategic efforts. That's what CIOs are used to.

    But BPM becomes strategic not through a single giant earthquake but rather through a series of easily manageable tremors, each relieving a bit more of the pent-up pressure for organizational improvement. Make it through enough of these tremors and, voila, the Big One is avoided altogether.

    • I agree and blogged on this interview with Mac MacConnell previously.

      Here's the gist of that post:

      But, the problem with the centralised, enterprise-wide ‘Let’s Platform BPM technology’ approach is more fundamental than lack of evangelists with successful projects behind them. Simply put, it is almost impossible to roll out a global BPM platform and not have the project lead by IT.

      After all, they are the guys who platform technology.

      So, to make the same point more broadly, a global roll-out of BPM technology by IT is likely to look and feel like any other global technology rollout in your organisation.

      I have seen the global rollout approach go well and I have seen it go poorly.

      But, this approach doesn’t play to any of the strengths of BPM as a class of technology. Afterall, BPM should be about the business.

  • Agree with Scott its real effectiveness is bottom up where people are empowered and with good supporting technology the fear of change is removed to the point it is welcome. It is about people irrespective of department it just needs top management to endorse understanding it will deliver quick wins in smaller packages without the usual risks associated with the now unnecessary big vendor big sale. Think of it wrapping adaptive “green field” people apps around “brown field” legacy. Bureaucratic empires will tumble…..?

  • I have an agreement with all comments, in the organization I work for when we first started we used the concept of working on small chunks (quick wins) to prove the worthiness of the department and concept to the different businesses then we started to work on the radical changes.
    In my opinion BPM should be part of any problem that affects processes of the organization. We should be the experts that envision the end to end process. My experience has seen issues and problems been solved by business were the business only thinks of their individual role in the process and forgets that there are other stakeholders involved. This is where BPM should come in and identify this to the business.

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