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Editor's Note: In this two-part interview, ebizQ Contributing Editor Peter Schooff has a wide-ranging conversation about BPM issues with Neil Ward-Dutton, co-founder and research director of MWD Advisors. Dutton, a regular contributor to the ebizQ Forum, is among Europe's best-known IT industry analysts. Here, in Part I, Schooff and Ward-Dutton discuss BPM value propositions and the status of BPM software. In Part II, Ward-Dutton shares insights and tips about process-improvement success, along with a few BPM predictions.

PS: To jump right in: What's the value proposition for BPM today?

NWD: It's kind of multi-sided. Many people, when they look at BPM, think primarily in terms of the things we're taught to think about, specifically through methodologies like Lean or Six Sigma. So they focus primarily on [the idea that] BPM can help you become more efficient and improve the quality of the work that gets done in your organization. And that's absolutely true—as far as it goes.

But we do a lot of research that's based around case studies, going in and interviewing adopters of this stuff, and figuring out what works and what doesn't work and why. What we've found is: That's not the end of the value proposition. Yes, quality and efficiency absolutely [are important goals], and we've got loads of good examples of organizations that have done really, really significant things in those areas.

But there are other levels of value that organizations can get from doing this. One is around what some people might call "innovation"—really improving how you deliver products and services to customers, and how you make promises to customers around those.

So in an environment where we have globalization driving extreme competition in many markets, and driving faster and faster change cycles, [it's important to have] the ability to compete not just on cost, but also on delivering a great customer experience, giving people interesting new ways of interacting with products and services, [offering] new kinds of service bundles, being able to enter the market quickly with new concepts and new ways of presenting services and products, and so on. Those things are fundamentally important for many companies.


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