Samantha Searle

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Samantha Searle
Research Analyst
5 years with Gartner
5 years IT industry

Samantha Searle is a research analyst in the Business Process Management team, focusing on process governance and getting started in BPM. Previously, she worked as a research specialist for Gartner's Best Practices Council…Read Full Bio

And The Winners For the 2014 Gartner BPM Excellence Awards are…

by Samantha Searle  |  March 5, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Yes it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! We can now reveal the three winners of a 2014 Gartner BPM excellence award, who will be attending our BPM summit in London on 19 & 20 March are:

HML, a third party financial administration company in the UK and Ireland, focused on streamlining customer communications. It introduced greater flexibility and performance monitoring that enabled to meet strict service level agreements and serve individual customers more effectively. HML reached a customer satisfaction rating of 89 percent, and realised £400,000 in benefits and £150,000 in cost savings.

Ossur, a non invasive orthopaedic manufacturer and distributor headquartered in Iceland, emphasized on improving services, architecture and streamlining processes to increase profitability. Two of its key achievements for its customer feedback process included an increase in customer feedback capture by 100 percent, and a decrease in resolution time by 60 percent.

Vodafone Germany focused on optimizing the order-to-service-process for enterprise customers. BPM technology was chosen to introduce a platform that would enable Vodafone Germany to easily react to the turbulent telecommunications market by having a smarter and quicker way to introduce new products. As a result, it decreased time-to-market by over 50 percent and also reduced the effort involved in the total customer order handling process by 50 percent.

It was a tough decision this year, but these three organizations were chosen as the winners because they recognized the challenging complexity of their business operations and overcame them to achieve significant business outcomes, such as increased customer satisfaction and better time-to-market. The ability to do this is a competitive differentiator that enables organizations to survive constantly changing and disruptive business conditions.

At the Summit, each winner will participate in a roundtable discussion and the winner will be presented with a trophy during a short ceremony. Please note that the identification of a Gartner Award winner or finalist is not an endorsement by Gartner of any vendor, product or service.

If you’d like to attend our Summit to find out more about our winners, and how best to prepare your organization for digital business disruption, you can register on the summit website:

Thanks and I look forward to seeing you at the summit! :-)

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A beautiful example of how NOT to do BPM!

by Samantha Searle  |  December 19, 2013  |  Submit a Comment

Currently there’s a blog from a Scandinavian BPM consultant “doing the rounds” on the internet at the moment, because it describes a supermarket chain’s journey to BPM failure. As I read it, it struck me as a great case study for how NOT to do BPM! Here’s why….

On closer inspection of the unfortunate company’s BPM journey (captured on this blog, “Are You on a Path Into a Process Wilderness?“), several things become immediately apparent. Firstly, they weren’t really doing proper BPM as we define it at Gartner. by which I mean treating processes as assets and aiming to achieve continuous improvement by establishing the necessary visibility of processes and how they perform, true accountability for improving process performance (i.e. effective process ownership) and the ability to adapt to changing business conditions. The supermarket chain was just beginning its process improvement journey by embarking on process standardization and automation, as many organizations do. To give them credit, they realized the disadvantage of having their processes implicit in an ERP system and sought to make them more explicit and visible.

Howevver, they still managed to fall for all the other classic traps:

  • Let’s go the ERP route so we don’t have to figure out what our best practice processes are
  • Oh no, now our processes are implicit, undocumented and we have no idea what they are…
  • SO now we need to do BPM to figure out what our processes should be…
  • Only we haven’t got the right skills and expertise in house, so let’s get some consultants in to do it for us…
  • They’ve told us that we have to invest in a nice shiny modelling tool to map our processes so let’s use that to map 500 processes…

BUT they didn’t think about how to support end-to-end processes in ERP and it’s likely that all they succeeded in doing was reinforcing functional silos! Consequently they missed a huge opportunity to improve cross-functional processes key to strategy execution and eliminate the white space between boundaries that usually damages business performance but remains invisible to the organization due to the functional silos. There are some very revealing sentences under the section on “Eight months into the journey: processes are mapped and presented”; they mention dividing functional areas into processes and that they presented the functional processes to the functional heads. It’s also interesting that they state that some activities were to be done inside the ERP system and other manually – shame there’s no further explanation of why these manual tasks were left outside the ERP system.

At some point the CFO/Board of Management must have gone “Hang on a sec.. you’ve spent how much money on an ERP system implementation + maintenance, external consultants and a process modelling tool?!!!! What value (financial and otherwise) has this generated for the business?”

At no point whatsoever does the supermarket in question appear to have considered the following aspects:

  • Why are we doing BPM, or deciding to standardize and automate our processes?
  • What business outcomes and objectives are we supporting or hoping to achieve?
  • What is our desired future state?
  • What’s the business case and desired benefits?
  • How we will deliver quick-win business results?
  • How we will demonstrate real business value from the investments in ERP, consultants and modelling tools?
  • How will we know if we’ve succeeded?

This is why we put such a strong emphasis on achieving business results for the BPM excellence awards – to encourage people to adopt the mentality that regardless of the type of project you’re doing, you must think about how you will deliver value back to the business in return for the technology investment. Implementing ERP just because everyone else appears to be doing it just isn’t good enough – do you really think your business is the same as everyone else’s organization? How will you survive as a company if you have no competitive differentiation or ability to innovate?

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Launching the Gartner BPM Excellence Awards 2014 – find out how to apply here!

by Samantha Searle  |  October 3, 2013  |  Submit a Comment

I’m excited to announce that we will be running the Gartner BPM Excellence awards again for 2014! Please visit the Gartner BPM Excellence Awards website for full details and to download an application form. We will be looking again for winners in winners from EMEA, APAC and the Americas to share their success stories at our upcoming BPM summits in 2014:

  • EMEA: March 19-20, 2014, at the Park Plaza Westminster, London, U.K.
  • APAC: May 19-20, 2014 at the Hilton Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • Americas: December 10-12, 2014 at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, US.

What are we looking for in potential winners?

Improved business results is the most important critical success factor for any BPM effort This year we are particularly interested in business results beyond cost reduction, such as increased revenue, competitive advantage, reduced risk, increased customer satisfaction, time-to-market improvements, improved process visibility and a more proactive response to business disruptions. We are particularly interested in your success in improving cross-boundary process performance at a strategic level. Your case study must include specific, quantified business results and a detailed description of the business objectives and metrics used to measure improved business results, along with baselines prior to process change.

When is the deadline?

Deadlines are by region, so please note the appropriate deadline for your region:

  • EMEA Deadline: Monday 2nd December, 2013
  • APAC Deadline: Monday 3rd February, 2014
  • Americas Deadline: Tuesday 1st July, 2014

If you have any questions, please download our FAQ document from the website.
Please email any further questions not covered by our FAQ document to:

Good luck and we look forward to receiving your application!

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Announcing the Global Winner of the 2013 Gartner BPM Excellence Awards

by Samantha Searle  |  August 9, 2013  |  Submit a Comment

After the excitement of selecting our regional winners for the Gartner BPM Excellence Awards, we were faced with the challenging task of deciding which of our regional winners would chosen as the overall global winner for Best BPM Initiative.

It is our pleasure to announce that the Global Winner of the Gartner 2013 BPM Excellence Awards, for Best BPM Initiative, goes to Bayer Material Science. They succeeded achieving an average BPM project ROI of 462% (over an average payback period of 1.56 years) and launched their own internal excellence award scheme called “ICE” (Innovation-Cost-Efficiency), which recognized those projects that generated either tangible benefits such as cost reduction and efficiency or delivered intangible benefits in an innovative way.

Winners of Gartner’s Global Award for Best BPM Initiative, Charles Nie and Barry Cheung, collect their trophy from Gartner analysts Samantha Searle and Bruce Robertson

We also thought we would share the full list of winners from each region here (including links to the relevant press releases) and take the opportunity to congratulate them again and thank them for their participation in our BPM summits.

Global Winner for Best BPM Initiative: Bayer Material Science

Winner for Best Business Outcome Driven by BPM: BT Global Services
Winner for Best BPM Organization: The Lego Group
Winner for Most Effective Use of BPM Technology: Verti

Press Release: “Gartner Announces Winners of 2013’s Business Process Management Excellence Awards in EMEA

Winner for Best Business Outcome Driven by BPM: Banco Supervielle
Winner for Best BPM Organization: San Joaquin County Information Systems Division
Winner for Most Effective Use of BPM Technology: Intel

Press Release: “Gartner Announces Winners of 2013’s Business Process Management Excellence Awards in North America”

Winner for Best Business Outcome Driven by BPM: Colonial First State (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Winner for Best BPM Organization: Bayer Material Science
Winner for Most Effective Use of BPM Technology: New South Wales Transport Management

Press Release: “Gartner Announces Winners of 2013’s Business Process Management Excellence Awards in Asia Pacific

We would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your submissions for the Gartner 2013 BPM Excellence Awards – we genuinely enjoyed reading each application we received and appreciate the time you took to write your application. It is thrilling to see how such a broad range of organizations are leveraging the benefits of BPM to meet their business requirements.

Finally please note that we will be running the awards again in 2014. To those of you who unfortunately weren’t lucky enough to win, we do encourage you to apply again. We will make an announcement in September when the 2014 awards are launched, so please watch out for the email and blog post. We recommend that you start thinking about your application now if you would like to apply; for the 2014 awards we will still be looking for evidence of significant business results driven by BPM and compelling stories of how your organization has benefited from BPM. N.B. If you are a 2013 winner, your reward is to take a rest from the awards in 2014 but we would welcome you to apply again in 2015!

In the meantime, we look forward to hearing your BPM success stories when we launch the 2014 Gartner BPM Excellence Awards Program!

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10 New Year Resolutions for BPM Practitioners #2: Don’t Mention the “P-word”; Instead Talk About Driving Key Business Outcomes

by Samantha Searle  |  February 8, 2013  |  1 Comment

An interesting critical success factor for BPM emerged from some of our research last year. Those who succeed at BPM don’t mention the “P-word” (what…process?!!) or even talk about six sigma! Why I hear you ask? Well anyone outside IT, or who isn’t an engineer or working in manufacturing finds the concept of process about as clear as mud! In fact talking to the business about process can be one of the quickest ways to get them to switch off and stop listening. So how can you get round this?

I think you could learn something from an old board game called “Taboo”. You might recall that the aim of this game was to prompt your teammates to guess a certain word but without using 5 “taboo” words. In our case, if you’re talking about BPM, the 5 taboo words might be “process”, six sigma” “BPMN”, “models” and “standardization”.

The point of this exercise is not to deprive your BPM team of a useful vocabulary, but to teach them to use a different vocabulary, a more business-orientated one. Encourage them to speak a language that the business understands and will resonate with them, then you will have their attention. This means talking about business outcomes. The minute you start talking about process, business users think back to that ERP implementation a few years back…that was about process…and it brought about disruption and unwanted change! Not a good association….

However, if instead you talk to the business about driving key business outcomes such as improving product/service quality, increasing customer satisfaction, growing the business THAT is something that will make them sit up and take notice. It’s their business, they can relate to it and it’s no doubt what they are measured on in their performance objectives. If you can help them improve their business and their chances of meeting/exceeding their performance objectices, then you’ll be their new best friend! So…

DON’T talk about process standardization or automation; DO talk about improving quality and efficiency
DON’T talk about implementing a new call center or CRM system, DO talk about delivering an excellent customer experience
DON’T talk about using a BPMS; do talk about business transformation and innovation to gain competitive advantage in your market/industry

After all, given that organizational politics was voted as the top barrier to BPM success in a recent Gartner survey, revolutionizing the way we talk about BPM is the key to breaking down this barrier. I’d love to hear your stories of how you’ve engaged with the business during your BPM program – how have you tried to engage the business in BPM and overcome organizational politics?

If you’re a Gartner seatholder and subscribe to our research then you can read more on this topic in the following note: Gain Business Buy-in for BPM or Consign Your BPM Program to Oblivion.

You’re also most welcome to attend one of our upcoming regional Gartner BPM Summits:

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10 New Year Resolutions for BPM Practitioners: #1 Attend our BPM Summits in London, DC or Sydney!

by Samantha Searle  |  January 29, 2013  |  1 Comment

Ok this is obviously a “tongue-in-cheek” suggestion to start – the remaining 9 will be serious I promise! Every year we carry out a survey as part of our BPM summit planning to determine the latest hot topics and challenges facing BPM practitioners. One key question we asked was “Which of the following business priorities are driving your development in BPM?”. Here are the top 5 answers:

  • Reducing enterprise costs
  • Business agility
  • Governance and transparency
  • Quality and consistency
  • Improving profitability

The common aim for all of them is to improve business performance and BPM is the enabler to help you achieve this. This is why we have chosen our theme for our 2013 BPM summits to be:

Aspire, Challenge, Transform: Driving Breakthrough Business Performance

For those new to BPM, the Summit will help you to take the first steps, establish the skills required, and identify the right technologies. For those who are more experienced, the Summit will provide visibility into the future, identify the next generation of BPM and help you leverage new approaches such as Social BPM, Pace Layering and Intelligent Business Operations. For more information, check out this video of our Managing VP John Dixon talking about the BPM summit in more detail (available on our Gartner YouTube channel).

Hot topics to be covered include:

  • Making BPM part of your strategic plan
  • How BPM can enable transformational change
  • The convergence of cloud, mobile, social and information with BPM
  • How to establish process ownership and effective governance
  • Process intelligence and the role of the iBPMS

Our 2013 BPM Summits will be held in three regions:

EMEA: March 13 – 14, 2013, at the Park Plaza Westminster, London, U.K.
NA: April 2-4, 2013 at the Gaylord National, National Harbour, Maryland.
APAC: May 13-14 2013 at the Hilton Sydney, Sydney, Australia

This year you also have the opportunity to meet with our Gartner BPM Excellence award winners who will be involved in the summit and sharing their BPM success stories with you. See my previous blog announcing the Gartner BPM Excellence awards for more details. It’s an opportunity not to be missed! :-)

Watch this space for New Year Resolution #2 for BPM Practitioners…coming soon!

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Announcing the Gartner BPM Excellence Awards for 2013!

by Samantha Searle  |  November 12, 2012  |  1 Comment

I’m pleased to say that the Gartner BPM team will be launching our BPM Excellence Awards again, in time for our BPM summits in 2013. We want to hear about your success in driving BPM excellence!

A summary of the main details is given below. For full details including how to apply, please go to the Gartner BPM excellence awards webpage, where you can also download an FAQ and application form.

What are the Gartner Business Process Management Excellence Awards?

Gartner Business Process Management (BPM) Excellence Awards program is all about highlighting world-class BPM programs and projects that deliver business results, and broadly sharing their successes, challenges and insights.

If you have recently implemented a successful BPM program or project with resulting business impact, don’t miss out on the opportunity to publicize this accomplishment and honor those responsible for its success. Whatever your industry, or government sector and no matter the focus of your BPM program or project we want to hear your story. Apply today!

Gartner is now accepting nominations for the 2013 BPM Awards program globally and the winners will be selected by region (US, EMEA, Australia). Each set of regional winners will be announced at the corresponding regional Gartner Business Process Management Summit:

  • March 13–15, 2013, at the Park Plaza Westminster, London, U.K.
  • April 2-4, 2013 at the Gaylord National, National Harbour, Maryland.
  • May 13-14 2013 at the (venue TBD), Sydney, Australia

One overall winner will be selected for the “Best BPM Initiative” based on the compelling business results achieved with their BPM program. They should also demonstrating how organization and technology have been used to support the BPM program. Awards in these other three categories (described below) will also be made to award finalists in each region.

Evaluation Criteria

Business results are the first requirement for any successful BPM program. The preferred threshold is that the resultant net benefits should be at least twice the costs. Costs include: resources, technology, training, etc. Your case study must include specific results and a detailed list of the project/program costs. Baseline metrics for the before process will also be helpful. Submissions that highlight competitive advantage or future benefit can also be submitted and should include projections.

Applications will be evaluated on:

Category 1 – Best Business Outcome Driven by BPM
This award will go to the organization who can clearly demonstrate (and quantify) how a particular BPM project has positively impacted a key business outcome (e.g. Carphone Warehouse – a previous 2011 Gartner BPM Excellence Award winner achieved 120% increase in sales)

Category 2 – Best BPM Organization
This award will go to the organization that has best demonstrated how to (reorganize itself to) better support BPM and process centricity. We are looking for evidence of key BPM roles, presence of a BPCC, effective governance and process ownership, a cross-functional BPM focus and a strong collaboration with the business who understand BPM and embrace it as the way they do business.

Category 3 – Most Effective Use of BPM Technology
This award will go to the organization that shows the best example of how they have leveraged BPM technology to solve a particular business problem. We’re particularly looking for agility and use of model-driven BPMS, BRMS, iBPMS/IBO, case management or automated business process discovery (ABPD) (i.e. clear shift away from traditional application development).

Category 4 – Best BPM Initiative (The Overall Global Award)
This award will go to an organization that has already won one of the previous three categories regionally. The nine regional winners from those three categories will be judged on how their BPM Program has solved (one or several) particular business challenges and delivered compelling business. Evidence of the BPM objectives, vision, roles, governance, skills, clear quantitative results and effective use of technology are required.

Who Can Participate?

All organizations that are not vendors or service providers are eligible and encouraged to apply including:

  • Large enterprises, and small to midsize businesses
  • All vertical industries, including private sector, government and non-profit
  • International organizations or those based in EMEA, US or Australia
  • All business models: business-B2B, B2C, B2B2C…

Note: Although vendors and service providers are not eligible, we encourage them to assist their customers in submitting an application.

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Drummin’ up a buzz at the Gartner BPM Summit in Sydney

by Samantha Searle  |  August 23, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

What do drums and BPM have in common? Well you had to be at the opening keynote at Gartner’s BPM Summit in Sydney to find out! Puzzled attendees entered to find bongo drums and maraccas on their seats and were left wondering what on earth was about to happen!

Attendees arrive to find bongo drums have stolen their seats

Well the drums not only served as a form of entertainment, but also illustrated the key messages in the Process Improvement 2020 keynote. Jim Sinur and Nick Gall persuaded organizations to become “culturally savvy” and “unleash the power of mass collaboration”. BPM brings the discomfort of change, change impacts culture but if the culture can be convinced to embrace the change then their combined cognitive surplus can drive creative collaboration. This kind of approach is becoming increasingly important to overcome problems in a world of unpredictable events and information overload, but is also fundamental to enabling BPM to drive successful business outcomes.

Attendees of the Process Improvement 2020 keynote must have felt a similar level of discomfort when they entered the room and realized they were in for a free drum lesson! This was certainly a change from the usual keynote speech. However once people saw the value (or should I say fun?!) of a change from the normal keynote format and understood its purpose, they all joined in. What started as a one-man solo on a bongo drum grew into an impromptu orchestra of drums, maraccas and even hand claps. As our drumming group Human Rhythms changed pace and pattern, the audience adapted their responeses accordingly. Through sensing and responding to these changes, our attendees sustained a musical mish-mash of complex rhythms despite the unforeseen disruptions. It was a striking example of mass collaboration; each individual may not have thought they were doing any particular special on their own, but their combined efforts produced a pretty spectacular display of improvization!

The collaboration wasn’t just limited to the keynote either. A number of you shared your thoughts and takeways from the conference on Twitter and got some great conversations going! As a thank you to all of you who participated (we generated 342 tweets in 2 days that reached 161, 645 Twitter accounts!), here’s an Oz-shaped summary of your contributions:

Here are the most popular words tweeted on #gartnerbpm during the event

In the meantime, I’ll look forward to seeing you at our next BPM Summit in Sydney on May 13 & 14 2013!

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WANTED: Your Input on Current BPM Challenges…

by Samantha Searle  |  August 3, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

While the countdown begins to our BPM Sydney Summit on Augst 20 & 21, the planning has already begun for our London 2013 BPM Summit!

This is where we need your help to shape our agenda for the London 2013 BPM Summit. What topics and challenges would you like to see covered?

We’ve set up a convenient online survey for you to fill in. You can access it here:

Gartner BPM Pre-Summit Survey

The survey closes next Friday 10th August so do it now before you forget ;-)
We look forward to receiving your input!

For anyone in Asia Pac reading this, it’s not too late to register for our BPM Sydney Summit. Full registration details and agenda can be found on the event website:

Gartner Business Process Management Summit, Sydney Australia, 20 & 21 August

We hope to see you there! In the meantime follow us on #gartnerbpm for regular updates on our BPM Sydney Summit. I will also be tweeting on @scsearle.

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The Secret of Successful BPM Projects? Define and Measure Your Goals Upfront!

by Samantha Searle  |  June 19, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Yet results from this year’s BPM Summit Survey have revealed a stark disconnect between the perceived importance of the initial goals of a BPM project and how successful organizations believed they had been in achieving those goals. It appears that once the project has got going, those involved get so involved in the details that they lose sight of the original goal. However sometimes that’s because no one identified the goals and decided how they would be measured before the project got going. Only 52% of respondents identified the project goals upfront; the remainder either did it after the project started or didn’t have a formal measurement program in place. It is hardly surprising then that the survey revealed a staggering 64% of organizations didn’t know what the average ROI was on their BPM projects!

Fortunately some encouraging results also emerged from the survey data. Those organizations that identified measurement criteria at the beginning of a BPM project were more successful at meeting the original goals. So the message is clear: invest time in building a business case for your BPM project and it will pay off when it comes to doing benefits realization. This could make the difference between getting or not getting the funds and resources for your next BPM project! Those organizations that know how to advertise quick wins in BPM and can demonstrate clear results are the ones we see succeeding at BPM in the long term.

FYI for those of you planning to attend the Gartner BPM Summit in Sydney (to be held on 20th and 21st August at the Sheridan on the Park Hotel), John Dixon and I will be running a workshop on “Building a Business Case for BPM Projects” which you might find useful.

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