BPM Best Practices - Increasing Your Odds of Success

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Remember all the hype given the things that were going to revolutionize IT and integrate everything? They never fulfilled their promise. There is good reason to think that BPM is not in the same category. The new integrated BPM suites really do work across the organization and the results companies are seeing are substantial.

Vollmer is a principal analyst in Forrester's Enterprise Applications research group. He covers trends, issues, and strategies for all forms of integration including application integration (AI), business process integration (BPI), business process management (BPM), enterprise application integration (EAI), and electronic data interchange (EDI). Ken came to Forrester through its acquisition of Giga Information Group and has 18 years of management-level experience in the IT industry.

The definition Forrester uses for BPM is, "…designing, executing, and optimizing of cross-functional business activities that incorporate people, processes, and systems." BPM is seen as a way to increase customer satisfaction with the customer being the real beneficiary.

BPM has evolved from integration technology that has been developing for the last ten years. It started with EAI, then moved to BPI, (Business Process Integration) then to what we call BPM today. The current BPM suites have a great deal of technology in integrated packages along with a whole range of functionalities in combined integrated suites with very strong capability.

Business process re-engineering, a popular concept several years ago, was a good idea, but the reality left much to be desired. The issues that caused problems were cultural roadblocks, a lack of organizational desire and inadequate tools. All three need to be in place for a BPM implementation to work. Vollmer said that it is necessary to find people responsive to change and give them incentives to make the changes, remove the roadblocks, then get out of their way and let the team come up with solutions.

The problem is the separate stovepipe applications within most organizations with process choke points that cross the stovepipes. The answer is to build and operate services at the intersections of the stovepipes to ease the process.

Vollmer covered two case studies in his talk to illustrate his conclusions. In both, the senior management team provided the direction but the people at the lowest level were also dedicated to moving these changes forward. Implementing change across all work groups is very difficult unless the entire culture is ready for change.

The early tools for BPM were not linked directly to the processes; they only provided guidance. The new BPM integrated tools are much better, automating along the entire process life cycle of defining, creating, executing, and monitoring processes, then optimizing the results and doing it again. Many of the tools support "round tripping" which is the tool feeding program changes back into the model so that all changes can be seen by everyone. The suites are so good and powerful now that it is better to buy than to try to build your own.

Vollmer asked the question, "Is BPM an alternative to outsourcing?" The driver for outsourcing has been the high cost of traditional development of IT and that IT could not respond fast enough to meet the needs of the organization. Today, BPM can deliver functionality much faster than in the past. The BPM suites can deliver major results in just a few months, better than any of the promises of previous solutions such as case tools. Vollmer cautioned however, that BPM will not eliminate the need for outsourcing nor will it save jobs.

The vendor landscape is confusing. The "pure play" BPM vendors are Savvion, Lombardi, Ultimus, PegaSystems, Intalio, Fuego, FileNet, Metastorm, and HandySoft.

The Application Integration vendors are TIBCO, webMethods, SeeBeyond, Vitria, and CommerceQuest.

The Enterprise Application vendors are SAP, Oracle/PeopleSoft, and Siebel.

The Application Platform vendors are IBM, BEA, Microsoft, Sybase, SUN, and Magic Software.

Traditional B2B vendors are Sterling Commerce, GXS, and Inovis.

The Business Service Hub vendors are Viacore, E2Open, and Grand Central.

The best practices for BPM to best ensure success include the following:

• Link human and application activity
• Manage the culture aspects
• Create a process design team
• Use process teams and turn users into players
• Aim high, but not too high
• Use a hub for external BPM efforts

Vollmer said the current BPM tools allow organizations to make strategic moves that positively impact the entire enterprise.
Ken Vollmer recently spoke on this topic at BrainStorm’s Business Process Management Conference in New York. For more information on this conference, visit www.BPMConference.com

To hear the archived audio file of this presentation, visit:
http://www.bpminstitute.org/presentations/

Jon Huntress
Special Events Correspondent

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