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In this Q & A, Peter Schooff speaks with ebizQ contributor Alexander Samarin, who offers tips about corporate BPM strategies. Samarin, chief enterprise architect of the African Development Bank, is author of "Improving Enterprise Business Process Management Systems" (Trafford Publishing, October 2009).

PS: Why should a company consider BPM?



AS: For me, BPM is three complementary things. First, there's the BPM discipline, how to use processes to better manage an enterprise. Second, there's BPM software and technology from many, many vendors. And third, there's the architecture of a BPM enterprise system that is built to manage, to govern, execution of the processes within enterprises.

Together, they're very powerful tools and a primary force to make an understandable, explicit and executable coordination between systems, employees, customers and partners. With such coordination, it becomes possible to monitor the dynamic of various indicators, values and risks, and it helps people for better decision-making. In addition, it helps with the evaluation of feasibility and impact of future changes.

PS: What are some problems that companies face when they go to BPM?

AS: Typical problems at first [involve questions about] "What is it?" A lot of efforts are spent to explain BPM. Usually within a company, there is a mixture of opinions from the Internet. So a commonly agreed-upon understanding about BPM is a must.

Second [question]: "What does it do for me?" [It's necessary to explain] to everyone how BPM will address his or her concerns and how his or her current working practices will be changed for the better. Of course, it's not necessary to talk to each of the thousand people within a company; instead, be prepared for talks with about 20 groups of people.

[A third question involves project size.] BPM projects usually start small, without a bigger view or understanding of how to grow. I recommend considering BPM as an enterprise-wide initiative from the very beginning.

The last typical [question] is: "How do we change it?" By definition, any BPM solution will be changedůSo [my recommended] approach is to architect flexibility because many, many changes will be carried out.

PS: Is an enterprise architecture approach important for companies that are considering BPM?

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