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A quick search on Google for BPM got exactly 15,900,000 hits. There are a huge range of definitions or perspectives on what those three letters mean. Business Process Management, Business Process Modeling (with 1 or 2 Ls), Business Process Mapping. A couple of interesting finds were that BPM is the national time clock in China, and possibly more relevant, BPM-Focus is an energy drink sold exclusively in Ireland by Coca Cola.

These different interpretations of BPM are not wrong they are just different. This could account for some miscommunication and ambiguity between people who genuinely mean the same thing. But there are very different interpretations based on the need or use of the 'process model.' Incidentally, the term 'process model' means just as many different things to different people.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Processes are clearly critical to the running of an operation so it is important that end users, IT developers, systems integrators as well as risk & compliance managers have a consistent, aligned view of how the business operates. To achieve that alignment it would be ideal if these stakeholders could collaborate over a single source of the truth as regards process. The way to achieve that would presumably be to have one integrated process model, which includes all of their requirements. Is this possible? A short conversation with each of them will quickly reveal that their interpretations of what should be in a process model and how theyd use it are quite divergent.

The risk is that when these individuals discuss processes and process models they naturally assume that the others in the conversation have exactly the same understanding. Everyone leaves the meeting thinking that they are in complete agreement, but then are horribly confused when they act differently.

Im reminded of the HSBC different points of view advertising at airports:

"The more you look at the world, the more you realize that people look at things from a different perspective."

These confused and confusing conversations occur frequently at organizations large and small, with process efficiency, process governance and adoption suffering as a result. Its vital therefore, to take the time to understand the root cause of the confusion and help people understand the needs and perspective of the other stakeholder groups.


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