BPM Can Enable Process Agility Which Can Enable Enterprise Agility

Rate this:
Total votes: 0

The BPM value proposition is the best way to achieve process and enterprise agility while creating a sustained competitive advantage. The right BPM platform, when implemented in the right way, has proven to transparently integrate people, processes, knowledge and technology across the extended enterprise.

Brian Cooper is one of the early thought leaders in the BPM space, having founded Lombardi Software, a leading BPM software vendor in 1998. Lombardi Software was born from the desire to have a platform to address the inefficiencies in business processes and enterprise collaboration. Cooper was also the high-level architect behind the company’s Business Process Management product, TeamWorks. Teamworks won consecutive BPM Product of the Year awards in 2002 and 2003. Cooper is a Partner in Live Oak BPM Solutions, a consulting firm assisting both BPM vendors with their market and product strategies and end-user organizations with their BPM initiatives.

According to Cooper, BPM is a proven value proposition because it is proactive, easy to implement and change, leverages existing investments, creates process and business metrics visibility, and transparently integrates people, processes, knowledge and technology organization-wide.

The business drivers for change include:

  • Need to reduce costs
  • Increased regulation
  • Competition
  • Shrinking business cycles
  • Growth

Businesses have to become agile in order to meet market needs. The constraints to change include:

  • Stovepipe structures
  • Legacy applications and technology
  • Legacy processes
  • Legacy skills
  • Legacy mind sets

The constraints to process agility are:

  • People and organization
  • Knowledge and information
  • Technology and applications
  • Process

People and organizations need to facilitate smarter yet faster decision-making. Problems need to be resolved faster and communication needs to be more effective. Organizations tend to be fragmented making enterprise-wide change difficult.

The challenges to process improvement in knowledge and information include:

  • Poorly documented practices, processes and procedures
  • Undocumented exception processes and workarounds
  • Fragmented information
  • Uncaptured best practices
  • Turnover
  • Unclear process ownership
  • No vehicle for change management

Fragmentation in technology and applications are due to poorly integrated task-oriented, legacy applications with inadequate metrics that can't keep up with change. They are reactive and menu-driven instead of proactive and event-driven. The business rules are all over the place. Manual intervention details are often missed in report and inquiry-based applications.

Processes are fragmented across functional areas and applications, creating errors and inefficiencies. Inefficient communication methods include memos, faxes, email and phone, which leads to many manual, redundant steps and wasted time and effort. There is no visibility in this process and approvals take too long because of difficulty in accessing information. There is too much paper and too little automation creating a lack of consistency, bottlenecks, and workarounds.

The BPM value proposition is that the right BPM platform is implemented in the right way, BPM can be the primary enabler for both process and enterprise agility, according to Cooper. BPM is a major opportunity for creating a sustainable competitive advantage. It has been proven to transparently integrate people, processes, knowledge and technology across the extended enterprise. BPM creates process and business metrics visibility and the ability to analyze the information to find the root cause of the problems.

Cooper says that with the proper implementation of BPM, you should never have to replace anything. It should be that open. The BPM solution is laid over whatever you have. In order to do this, the following tips should be followed.

  • IT and business must collaborate on BPM initiatives
  • IT needs to be very involved during the first phase of each process implementation
  • Business can take responsibility for ongoing streamlining and process improvement only calling on IT as needed
  • This can prove to be a major win for IT
  • Phase the projects
  • Don't do major reengineering

Implementing BPM requires that first the existing processes be defined, then automated and orchestrated. Following this is a continuous improvement cycle that includes measuring, streamlining, and education. When mapping the processes, they should be filtered through a set of criteria into phases for implementation.

In choosing processes for improvement, the factors for greatest success should be those processes with high value, visibility, impact and ROI. Areas of the business that are causing revenue or profit leakage represent opportunities. Gains in these areas build momentum and support. The ROI from the first projects can fund the next.

BPM delivers goals and addresses constraints. Processes can:

  • Integrate across fragmented environments
  • Handle complex and people-intensive processes
  • Capture and communicate best practices
  • Spot exceptions before they become expensive
  • Slash cycle time and latency
  • Create faster, smarter B2B transactions

The value that BPM can deliver includes:

  • Rapid time to value
  • Improved process visibility and control
  • Improved business metrics visibility and control
  • Leverage existing technology and infrastructure
  • Facilitate change management

BPM can create flexibility by:

  • Creating enterprise agility
  • Having the ability to change processes on the fly
  • Fostering rapid evolutionary approach
  • Being able to easily customize: functional changes don't require IT
  • Being application and standards agnostic

It is important to insist on a proof of concept. Workflow vendors include Filenet, Metastorm, and Staffware. Infrastructure vendors include BEA, IBM, and Microsoft. Large Application vendors include SAP, Siebel, and Oracle. The EAI vendors include SeeBeyond, TIBCO, Vitria, and webMethods. The pure-play vendors are Fuego, Intalio, Lombardi, and Savvion. The marketplace in this space is crowded and very confusing. All vendors' advertising says the same thing, according to Cooper. So, pick three vendors and insist on a proof of concept using your systems and your people. The vendors people can always make their software work, but find out how easy it is for your people to do it. Once you find the vendor you like, do a project with them and see how the solution works. Make sure that process can be changed 'on the fly' without bringing the process down to make the change.

The advantages of a good Business Process Management solution are too many to be ignored. The case studies show that when embraced, BPM really does create positive company-wide change and a very good ROI.


Join the Discussion

Remind me later

If you wish to make a purchase today and experience an error with the shopping cart, you can place your order over the phone. Please contact us at (508) 475 0475 x15 or toll-free within the U.S. at (855) 300-2686 x15.