Friday, January 12, 2007

Gosh... (and talk about FM, CRM and BPM)

Gosh, someone linked to me (almost gives me a feeling of "Someone read my blog, therefore I exist). But Wolf, thanks for the kind words!
Wolf triggered me to write about something that is surprising me, even to the point of irritation (must be my preference for clear concepts)...
A newsgroup item triggered it before (as an example):

Let's do some history.

Many, many years ago, someone invented the term Financial Management. And if you talk to managers, they actually have quite a clear grasp of the concept: a school of thought, set of tools, processes, etc to keep control of your finance (aka, value, money, debts, etc). What type of tools? Well - budget, actuals, general ledger, bookkeeping, reporting, balance sheets, etc. What school of thought: well, that it is handy to keep control of finance (of value), to keep your business healthy.
Did anyone say "technology"? Well, sure, but I (happily) do not hear anyone saying: Our accounting system (GL, AP, AR) IS financial management. Maybe that it supports it (quite efficiently and correctly, hopefully).

Now, let go some years back (where things got confusing). Someone comes up with the term "Customer Relationship Management". Some research and some thinking gave me quickly the understanding that it refered to a school of thought, set of tools, processes etc to keep control of your customers. What school of thought? The one that said things like : it is handy to understand your customers, and know a lot about them. It's is good to support them through the lifecycle (or in human terms: the period that they are interested in doing (repeated) business with your. And tools and patterns appeared around front office, call centres, multi-channel services, etc. Did anyone say technology? Well yes, and there we lost it somehow - CRM suddenly became synonym with systems. CRM=Siebel. And the problem was: companies started thinking that implementing Siebel would give them CRM. Company happy, customer happy. Right.... I think the confusing wasted many investments, and it took us years to get back to the original school of thought: know thy customer (and implement thought, mentality, processes and (some) support technology).

Last but not least - BPM.
In many postings, and vendor presentations, I see the same thing happening: Our tool XYZ is BPM. We do BPM. By implementing our tool, you do BPM. BPM is an extension to workflow. BPM is system to system orchestration. BPM is SOA. BPM is BPEL.


Let's agree:
When we talk about BPM, we talking about stuff to get and keep control of our processes (like finance and customers important assets for a business).
And sure, technology can support our BPM efforts. And let's call this technology BPM Suites. Not more, not less....

Ok, I'm getting of my soapbox... ;-)

1 comment:

Wolf said...

Thanks Roeland for your positive response to my post about your post and commenting it on your site. That's a good example how professional communities evolve. I'll keep on reading your great blog and will keep on referring people to it. On another note; I noticed you've worked for Cambridge Technology Consultants in the past. A former colleague, Alfred Schuler, a German, used to work for them as a consulting manager too. Just in case you met him at Cambridge, you don't happen to know his whereabouts now?