Best Practices in Business Process Management

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Business process management is a top priority for organizations today. The BPM market is hot and it is important to know what the basic steps of BPM strategy are and who the vendors are and what they offer. The scope of what BPM is and what it can do for your organization is changing. There is still a lot of hype, so everyone needs to know who is doing what, and how well it works. Every organization needs a BPM strategy and a comprehensive deployment plan.

Bill Chambers is a principal analyst at Doculabs.

Business process management is a top priority for organizations today. The BPM market is hot and it is important to know what the basic steps of BPM strategy are and who the vendors are and what they offer. The scope of what BPM is and what it can do for your organization is changing. There is still a lot of hype, so everyone needs to know who is doing what, and how well it works. Every organization needs a BPM strategy and a comprehensive deployment plan.

Bill Chambers is a principal analyst at Doculabs. Chambers has 20 years of experience providing analysis and consulting, with expertise in business process management, content management, customer service, marketing automation and other emerging business technologies. Chambers works with Fortune 1000 clients to identify the most appropriate technology solutions for their applications. He also designs and conducts evaluations of relevant solutions through Doculabs’ technology assessment evaluations.

The Doculab's definition of BPM is: "BPM solutions are frameworks used to develop, deploy`, monitor, and optimize multiple types of process automation applications, including processes that involve both systems and people."

Chambers quickly covered the evolution of the BPM market, then pointed out that the type of BPM workflow solutions being developed are increasingly complicated. In addition, they involve processes that cross various enterprise boundaries, all of them heavily defended against change by the stakeholders. The result is that not that many enterprise-wide BPM solutions are being implemented. The existing corporate makeup makes this level of change difficult.

The BPM strategy methodology includes:

  • Current state assessment
  • Enterprise requirements definition
  • Conceptual design, reference architecture
  • Deployment strategy
  • Assessment of candidate solutions
  • Selection process
  • Prototypes and pilots

The first objective for the current state assessment is to achieve consensus on a BPM definition and determine the business and IT goals for the project. The data needs to be collected for defining the requirements and documenting the current processes and problems. During this assessment process, identify the key BPM applications for each business unit. This is the time to get the BPM consultants in and have sessions with all the stakeholders and sponsors.

The key objectives for the second step, Enterprise Requirements Definition, are to identify the requirements for all types of BPM applications important to the company. Categorize the requirements into BPM components and prioritize the requirements with input from business and IT. Also identify what needs to be built and what needs to be bought at this time. At this point, the vendor requirements should be known.

The third step in the methodology is Conceptual Design and Reference Architecture which include the objectives of developing a conceptual design that identifies key components required to meet the enterprise BPM requirements. In addition, build a model for the enterprise current state. Develop use cases for high-priority BPM applications and an architectural model for these applications. The key design goals for this step are that it be service-oriented, event-based, have the ability to leverage existing technology investments, and be able to integrate with current systems.

For the Deployment Strategy, the objectives is to produce a phased strategy for deploying BPM across the enterprise by:

  • Identifying the pilot
  • Allow for phased application rollout
  • Set up affinity groups
  • Develop a BPM reference architecture governance process
  • Identify required organizational changes
  • Develop a communication plan

The pilot needs to be highly visible and have high value so that the decision makers can see the worth of BPM. It is best to create a "BPM Center of Excellence" that serves as an expert focus group for working with and helping to implement BPM throughout the organization. This helps access readiness and resources of each department and helps the phased introduction of deployments that help smooth the way for departments sharing common files, documents and processes.

It is important not to exclude any key business area from the deployment/planning process. It is also important not to develop a plan just for the pilot. Plan for the pilot and for the subsequent rollout. Key business and IT stakeholders need to be in the communication loop at all times at every stage of the strategy process. Start taking an enterprise view of BPM deployment planning.

Bill Chambers recently spoke on this topic at BrainStorm’s Business Process Management Conference in Chicago . For more information on this conference, visit www.BPMConference.com

To hear the archived audio file of this presentation, visit:

http://www.bpminstitute.org/archives/index.shtml

Jon Huntress

Special Events Correspondent

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