When should you invest in a Business Process Management Suite (BPMS) and why?

Posted by Tom Dwyer on Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 12:27

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Do you need a BPMS or can you use a BPA modeling tool with a backend platform such as SAP?

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Frank Castellucci
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posted 4 years 10 weeks ago
While I tend to agree with the scenario Steve spoke of, I had trouble with the lynchpin line "once the BPM Program is matured and fully supported". This quote speaks to a text-book top down utopia that only the most rigorous organizations take that approach. No disrespect Steve. The reality and majority of situations is more along the lines that William said. Notice I didn't say "William suggests"! As a consultant we do try encourage a more management oriented approach but economics, culture, need and TTM driving influences rule the day for the most part. Once something is in place there is a possibility (considering the real risks that William pointed out) that it will start a grass-roots adoption. Frank http://www.axiom1inc.com
willem feijen
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posted 4 years 21 weeks ago
As a consultant I prefer a situation where the BPM-mindset is built first including some process optimization before a BPMS is installed, but that's not always possible. In my experience BPMS are often used to force users to follow a standardized process. This is because a lot of organizations are dependent on knowledge workers who cling to a high level of independence. This may impede adoption of a shared process. Some tooling is very well suited to be introduced without constraining the end user to much. The business advantage here is that, as Tom states, valuable data is collected. Then later on the process may be optimized and enforced a little stricter. End users generally do not like to be constrained. However when at the same time improvements are made that are visible to them they may even welcome it. An example is the generation of standard letters. This takes boring time consuming work out of their hands. To my experience however this approach is not without risk. Possible problems are: 1 - No acceptance by end users because of extra system interaction which initially will occur because integration may be poor at first, 2 - No acceptance by end users because they feel to constricted. 3 - Standstill after initial implementation because a real BPM mindset is lacking
Tom Dwyer
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posted 4 years 21 weeks ago
I agree with Steve's point of view, however, I also have witnessed that folks don't often understand the value that a BPMS can bring to the BPM discipline. For example, it captures the important process metrics at low cost. It can actually help introduce and spread the BPM discipline throughout the enterprise more quickly as the technology is designed around the discipline. It supports the notion of continuous process improvement and without a BPMS it is much more difficult to achieve true "roundtripping". Lastly, it can radically improve the methodology for collaborating between business and IT.
Frank Millar
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posted 4 years 21 weeks ago
Interesting! I just had this same discussion with an Enterprise Architect at a Fortune 50 company, over the last several days. From my point of view, Steve nails it. Slam/dunk. Business agility rules. There's a couple of additional, related dimensions here regarding investing in the referenced "back end platforms": Utilization - In my experience exposed to many companies operations, whole application modules end up not being used. In some cases, it's most modules in the suite. This is less true of BPMS-based solutions. Again, business agility gains the advantage. Process and information ownership- Back end systems are the traditional model in this regard. Using a BPMS fosters opportunities for governance that are starkly missing from the traditional ways of managing information. With BPMS-based solutions, there's a higher likelihood of -a business Subject Matter Expert being assigned; frequently, higher levels of the business team are involved -there being an active, structured information management governance activity (supporting Steve's reference to continuous improvement changes) Expanding what Steve said so well: There's much greater motivation for the business silo to translate concerns about existing automated processes into implementation updates. Frank Millar Millar Consultants, LLC
Steve Nimmo
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posted 4 years 22 weeks ago
I believe first, BPM does not equate only to a technology tool or initiative for business processes. BPM is a management discipline that provides visibility, accountability and adaptability of process. There is significant business process improvement that can be achieved without technology. An organization can find tremendous value early in their BPM journey with basic analysis and improved communication through lower technology "paper-based" solutions. Before an organization should even consider investing in a BPMS, they should first ensure their BPM Program is fully established and supported at all levels. With that said, once the BPM Program is matured and fully supported, the investment in a BPMS will take the organization to new levels of efficiency not available in a "paper-based" solution. To address the question, of BPMS vs. a backend platform such as SAP, the advantage a BPMS offers is cost effective agility. In my experience, to implement a BPM solution with a backend platform requires a tremendous amount of time, resources and cost. A BPMS solution allows the organization to quickly and cost effectively implement solutions and still maintain integration with backend platforms such as SAP. I believe the true strength of a BPMS comes from the iterative nature of their utilization. Once a process is implemented, it is very easy to make continuous improvement changes to the solution without incurring heavy costs and resource time. Steve Nimmo Business Process Management Champion stevenimmo@comcast.net http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenimmo Enabling Business through Process – In Less Time

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