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As businesses continue to turn to BPM and SOA for increased efficiency and effectiveness of their business processes, many are still missing the mark. There are various approaches that can either make or break an engagement.

Many organizations often make common mistakes such as buying software first or trying to solve all of their problems with one product. At the same time, some organizations are getting it right the first time by starting with process discovery and taking a holistic approach to optimizing their business challenges.

Successful execution of any BPM project ultimately comes down to a number of factors and the market has matured to a point where we can learn from past mistakes and institute best practices. Let's explore some of the best and worst practices in BPM and SOA.

Worst practices

1. Buying software first

The worst mistake any organization can make is to start a BPM/SOA initiative by evaluating and purchasing software first. Avoid this at all costs, as very few organizations actually know what type of software they need and fewer still are able to properly implement the software they ultimately purchase.

In fact, most initiatives that start with a product purchase are owned by the IT group and result in bottom-up advocacy and implementation strategy. This causes a disconnect from the strategic goals of the business, because the tendency is to be more focused on the technology than the process or business need. Taking the software-focused approach could also lead to potential failure of the project and reduce the ROI benefits of the product.

IT groups at most organizations are necessarily technology centric. As such, their worldview is influenced by the lenses of the glasses they are currently wearing. The result is that IT will purchase what they consider to be the best software and then will shoe-horn the business processes into that technology.

Making processes match off-the-shelf software is tantamount to letting someone else run your business. The correct approach is to properly design and architect a BPM/SOA solution that matches your business and process needs. This cannot be done if you purchase software before completing a comprehensive analysis and discovery effort.


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