Friday, March 04, 2011

Understanding management's hesitance towards BPM

Sometimes I get the feeling that BPM is a solution, still trying to find a problem to solve.
And I often hear BPM-specialists complain that "management does not support BPM".
Our research in the Dutch Market (this is a sneekpeek, watch this space, and Capgemini for more publications in a number of weeks!) suggests that BPM-specialists need to dare to apply a key BPM-principle on themselves: "Outside in thinking".
If management is the customer, why aren't they convinced of BPM?

In our research, we found a number of things, clarifying why management is not eagerly and happily jumping the BPM-train:

1. BPM is fairly complex and abstract

2. BPM takes time and requires a lot of energy from managers to fight the often dominant functional culture, existing in most organizations (and we all know: pick your fights carefully)

3. BPM has not delivered some of it's key promises (according to our findings):
- It has resulted at this stage in only limited increases in transparancy (process intelligence is mostly still a promise)
- Through BPM (as a discipline, with focus on maturity) organizations have not reached agility - changing processes is still hard and timeconsuming

4. Due to its history, BPM is often still viewed/confused as an IT-subject ("the new workflow")

5. The IT-promise of faster time to market of changes has not been delivered (and although our research does not give a cause, we suspect that many BPM-technology implementations are less flexible than expected and that many supporting IT-organisations still need to learn to increase speed, as they are likely caught in old-world "9 month" releasecycles, treating changes in processes and business rules as full fletched change requests)

Tricky situation. Even more if we see that research participants state that:
- The management of only a few organizations see and leverage processes as bridge between strategy and operations, using process interventions for change and improvements
- Management commitment is one of the key CSF's for BPM projects

My thoughts: for BPM to earn it's status as integral element in management and technology, we need to further develop BPM!
But.... We have some really interesting findings that suggest why BPM is already becoming an essential capability in best-in-class organizations - more on this later...

1 comment:

@pelujan said...

Clarify "management." What we're usually talking about is middle management and management within the lines of business. BPM at the enterprise level is usually initiated by an SVP or CxO who either a) came from somewhere else where they used platform "x" or, b) has been paying too much attention to industry analysts or trade magazines and believe BPM is a silver bullet which, potentially, it can be, but to the LOBs it's really an issue of organizational change. Folks really do get almost as attached to their processes as they do their paper. It's about knowing what you're doing, the "how" and "why" you do it and having confidence in that effort.

For each of your points it boils down to execution, as are most problems, business and technical both, and the solution is easy. Deliver a business solution that improves the bottom line, increases ROI or customer satisfaction and everybody shuts up. Again, execution.

Just my tuppence.

Cheers, P