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As Part I of this article explains, while the major benefit of the business process management (BPM) value proposition is its support for dynamic business processes which cross firewalls and span the globe, that does not mean that mundane accounting processes should be ignored. To understand how the two worlds intersect, think in terms of supply chain automation (SCA).

SCA typically is the process flow among finished goods manufacturers and parts suppliers through final assembly to consumers. But SCA also involves healthcare providers, banks, professional services firms, etcetera, where the consumer is known instead as a patient, a borrower, a client, and so forth. As explained in Part I of this article, where accounting intersects with supply chains, there exists a shadow supply chain of accounting transactions.

Its existence means that when you are choosing BPM-enabling technology, you need to consider technology that can automate both the real and the shadow supply chain. It also means the CFO has a major place in the BPM buying decision. In fact sometimes even your company's or organization's partners play a role in helping you make BPM-enabling technology decisions. That happens because the CFO (or CEO) thinks a customer or supplier is so important that he or she will accommodate any reasonable request the customer or supplier makes in terms of automating the chain.

Place of the CFO in the BPM buying decision

Although the CFO will be involved in the BPM buying decision, he or she is going to care about governance and accounting standards more than BPM or information technology (IT) standards. The extent to which other companies are involved in your BPM decision process increases the chances that suppliers that offer both accounting and BPM solutions will be involved. That means primarily Microsoft, Oracle and SAP and to a lesser extent Infor, Lawson and Sage. This research finding is not an endorsement of one of the above but is simply based on the law of averages. These six companies are heavily predominant in accounting process automation so considering them is a requirement even if you have never done business with them before.


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