“What tools would you recommend for our BPM project?” The Gartner BPM team still receives a significant number of client inquiries that focus on implementing BPM as a technology and miss the wider benefits of BPM. Technology can certainly be a key enabler of BPM, but treating BPM just as a technology won’t help you succeed; in fact it could do quite the opposite!
A colleague of mine shared a nice horror story with me where a company implemented a BPM tool without first gaining a thorough understanding of how their processes were currently performing. As a result, they succeeded in not only doubling the time take to complete the whole process but also quadrupled the number of errors!!
Just in case you need further convincing, here’s 5 reasons why BPM should be viewed as a management discipline, not just a technology:
- A key obstacle to succeeding in BPM maturity is people and politics. Technology won’t help you overcome that (unless it involves brain-washing, which is not a recommended approach!).
- Technology won’t help you guide the organization from functional silos to a process-centric way of thinking and overcome natural resistance to change. Organizational change techniques such as Kotter’s 8-step change model will.
- Installing a BPM tool doesn’t necessarily give you full visibility of the most important end-to-end processes. What about parts of the process that happen outside the system, especially manual workarounds and shadow processes that might conceal process painpoints?
- Technology doesn’t give you accountability for end-to-end process performance; establishing the role of the business process owner does. If you don’t measure how your processes are performing, how do you know which ones are operating poorly? Installing a tool blindly could make things worse, not better (see the “horror story” example at the beginning of this blog)!
- BPM is about agility and a tool alone won’t deliver this. It requires the whole organization to shift from a “build-to-last” mentality to a “build-for-change” mentality when it comes to finding solutions for existing business problems. BPM is crucial to enabling an organization to respond to rapid change effectively.
This is why people, politics and process is the theme to our 2012 BPM Summits – why not come along and discuss your BPM efforts with us? We can help you avoid the pitfalls that trip up other organizations and you can hear firsthand from other companies who have succeeded in BPM.
Our sponsors will also be on hand to advise you on how technology can enable you to achieve your BPM goals. Follow the links below for more details and to register: