Saturday, December 09, 2006

BPM is a management discipline...

Ah, it's late, so you'll have to forgive me for being blunt.
I was reading a good article on BPM from Gartner, and felt better about BPM.
Why? Well, the hype of BPM is reminding me a lot of the CRM hype late 90's.
Remember? CRM suddenly was linked to technology - CRM = Siebel.
No no no. When I ask managers "what's financial management", nobody answers, "well, that's general ledger/accounting system XYZ". Thank you.
Financial management, if you ask managers and experts, is a management discipline. Through different tools, such as budgeting, accounting, reporting, planning, etc, a company tries to manage one of it's assets: money.
Well, CRM is another management discipline. It tries to manage another important asset: customers. It, again, uses different tools, such as target audience, customer needs, customer life cycle, customer scoring, and plans/monitors how the company deals with customer needs. How it communicates, what is gathers/stores and remembers about a customer, how it makes sure it serves the customer right. And a bit of cross-selling/up selling on the side..
Did you read Siebel in there? No. Technology (Siebel is part of it) can help these tools within this management discipline. If customer volumes and the amount of customer data and customer communication is getting high, technology can help... Not more, not less.
Back to BPM - Business process management. Again - it's NOT technology. It's a management discipline, focusing on managing processes as an asset. An asset? Yes - if you take the time with your people and (if you want) technology, you can develop a focused set of activies towards the objectives of your company. More - you can start thinking of improving those activities in a structured way. We are talking again about tools and concepts, such as process life cycle, process model, process data, process improvement frameworks.
Processes - a competitive edge. Look at the Toyota's, Dell's, Nike's, McDonalds of today. They really though about their processes (including flow, agility, cashflow, business model, sourcing, etc). And are improving it every day, staying ahead - their processes are assets!
And Technology? Well, sure, one can think of using tools, when volumes get higher, and efficiency needs speed. BPM-suites can help (when mature enough).

So, let's create a common statement: BPM? It's a management discipline. And technology is usefull, and can be used to help out BPM efforts.... So, let's get to work!

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