Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

BPM and the CIO's Dilemma

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Mike Gammage took a close look at IBM's latest study of 3,000 CIOs from around the world and noticed something about their commitment to business process management: It's not as strong as it was before -- down by four percentage points.

A statistical fluke? Often, variations in data from year to year need to exceed at least five percentage points or so to be considered a statistically significant change. Or is there something else afoot?  CIOs are actually heavily committed to process improvements, Mike observes:

"In leading organizations 99% of CIOs say they would personally lead initiatives to simplify process. So process is on pretty much every CIO's agenda, and in many cases it's even a personal involvement.   And yet - the study reports that CIOs do not see Business Process Management as their highest priority. In fact, BPM has slipped back as a priority - from 64% to 60% - since the last CIO Study in 2009. Which doesn't seem to stack up - unless you read it as a sign of how canny CIOs can be."

Canniness indeed. What's at issue, Mike says, is the business isn't buying into IT's version of BPM -- it often will simply go its own way, with its own tools, such as Visio. 

Once again, we see examples of the disconnect between IT and the business -- as well as between the IT and the BPM teams in action.  BPM has to be brought home to solving real business problems, not throwing a bunch of technology over the wall and hoping it will help somebody.  As Mike puts it: "The breakthrough comes when BPM is extended to become an holistic view of the enterprise, not just what's automated."

So true, so true.

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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