Business Process Management (BPM ) Best Practices
Doing BPM well: Anatoly Belychook on best practices and pitfalls
By Peter Schooff, Contributing Editor, ebizQ
Editor's Note: In this Q & A, ebizQ Contributing Editor Peter
Schooff talks with consultant Anatoly Belychook, who offers tips about some BPM mistakes to avoid
and BPM trends to watch. Belychook is president of Business Console, a BPM development
and consultancy firm in Moscow, Russia, as well as a frequent contributor to the
PS: In a recent BPM/ACM [advanced case management] debate, you said that
most of the criticisms of BPM are actually targeting not BPM itself, but BPM
done wrong. Can you tell me what constitutes BPM done right?
AB: First of all, there is a kind of a general understanding of how to
do BPM right. But the problem is that there are many small factors that can
dramatically affect your BPM initiative and actually ruin it.
One example of these I can give comes from the BPM
Common Body of Knowledge [(by the Association of Business Process Management
Professionals, CreateBooks, 2009)]. It's actually a great work. I especially
enjoyed the part devoted to enterprise BPM. But it presents implementation matters
in a very waterfall-oriented approach….This is one of the major points
that ACM pundits are attacking--and quite rightly, because if you do it in a
waterfall-like approach, then there is no room for agility, so it's not BPM,
PS: How can a single aspect of BPM done wrong kill an entire project?
AB: Well, if you approach it with the waterfall instead of agile, instead
of short development cycles, you will probably end up with a very rigid system,
which isn't a BPM system, but is, in essence, another corporate application.
Another factor: If you take the wrong process, if you try to make your project
safe and work on the process nobody cares about, then [ultimately] all your
initiatives will be ones that nobody cares about, and you will fail.
There was an interesting post from [BPM blogger and consultant] Gary Comerford
on exactly this matter quite recently. He said that there is always one key
factor for the success of your initiative. I would like to add that there may
key factor for success, but there are always several key factors for
failure. This is the problem. You must know a lot and be careful about many
things at once. This is why BPM professional services are in demand.
PS: What are some the most business critical process issues that a company
AB: We always try to find the processes that affect the company's performance.
I can see a big field for BPM initiatives in [enterprise] resource planning
[(ERP)]. I'm not sure that it can be stretched all over the globe, but here
in Russia, most of the ERP implementations are not about planning. The letter
'p' is misleading there. They cover just accounting and bookkeeping. But the
need for resource planning, for enterprise-wide resource planning is here; it
doesn't disappear. So I can see a big opportunity here for BPM because all this
stuff requires a lot of processes to be properly established and managed.
PS: Can you share your thoughts on BPM suites [BPMSs] or BPM software?
AB: My feeling on current BPMS technology is that we actually have a
great tool, but we don't have enough knowledge of how to use it, or how to use
it right, or how to use it best. It's like going back to 20 or 25 years ago
and having a great DBMS [database management system] and not having knowledge
about what the third normal form is.
We need to get more knowledge, more experience about how to use BPMS for real-world
processes. If you look at examples that BPMS vendors provide, the most popular
examples of processes they present are things like vacation requests and expense
reports, which, you'll probably agree, don't affect anything, really. This is
a shame, and we need more.
There are initiatives for presenting real-world BPM examples. It's a great
thing, but we're at the beginning of this road today.
PS: What do you see for BPM for the rest of this year?
AB: Well, I believe that this BPMS-ACM debate you referred to at the
beginning was very productive and, in the end, we will see most BPMSs enabled
by ACM capabilities. This is a great thing because there is really a full spectrum
of structured, half-structured and unstructured processes and cases. We need
to cover all of this spectrum.
Probably, we will see progress in integrating social things, [such as] Twitter-like
communications, within BPMSs. And, of course, mobile extensions to BPM are in
great demand because many possible process users are now equipped with iPhones
and iPads and this gives them a chance [to get involved]. People like to play
with [mobile devices], and it gives us a chance to get them involved in critical
business processes, which is a valuable target.
This Q & A was excerpted from a more in-depth ebizQ podcast on avoiding
common BPM mistakes. It has been edited for length, clarity and editorial
About the Author
Peter Schooff is a former contributing editor for ebizQ, where he also managed the ebizQ Forum for several years. Previously, Peter managed the database operations for a major cigar company, served as writer/editor of an early Internet entertainment site and developed a computer accounting system for several retail stores. Peter can be reached at email@example.com.More by Peter Schooff
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