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Gartner Inc.'s BPM specialists aren't mincing words in their predictions about the methodology's growing importance, especially for the world's largest public companies.

Over the next few years, "BPM competencies will separate the 'haves' from the 'have-nots,'" researchers wrote in a recent report. "Those who embrace BPM can do things that others cannot. While this is true in 2010, by 2014, BPM will clearly deliver benefits to those who have the competencies and deny a peaceful sleep to those who do not."

The Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy sounded that warning again in releasing its most recent BPM forecasts for 2011 and beyond. Specifically, Gartner Research Director John Dixon predicts that "an intensifying focus on process-related skills, competencies and competitive differentiators will increasingly separate process excellence leaders from the laggards among the Global 2000."

In fact, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2014, "overlooked but easily detectable business process defects will topple 10 Global 2000 companies." By "toppling," the researchers mean that a company will be hit with one or more of the following crises:

  • Irreparable harm to its corporate reputation
  • Massive backlash from customers
  • Significant intervention or sanctions from regulators
  • And, in extreme cases, "destruction of the company as a going concern"

Gartner called its 10-company damage estimate "conservative." The report didn't speculate about specific organizations or industries that might be affected.

Process defects and corporate crises

"Broken business processes underpin major business debacles, snafus and embarrassments," Gartner vice presidents David McCoy and Jim Sinur wrote in the report. In many cases, problems such as process or compliance gaps could have been corrected early onóif someone had detected them. But too often, they go undiagnosed, "even though today's state-of-the-art BPM practices and technologies could spot many of these issues before the damage is done," the analysts note.

At the same time, many organizations lack such "early-warning process capabilities," according to a related Gartner survey of nearly 600 business and IT professionals at large companies in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Among other things, researchers asked respondents to identify their top five priorities for BPM projects and programs. Among those surveyed:

  • Nearly 60 % didnít place a high priority on process modeling (which Gartner views critical for achieving process visibility)
  • About 64 % didnít place a high priority on business rule management (which the report describes as "key to fostering compliance and consistency")
  • More than two-thirds didn't place a high priority on process optimization or simulation (which the report calls "key to discovering process problems and performing 'what if' scenarios")
  • Seventy-five percent didn't place high priority on process visibility and business activity monitoring (which the analysts describe as important for increasing awareness of process-related problems.


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