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

The BPM vs Politics Debate Continues at our BPM Summit in Sydney

by Samantha Searle  |  May 21, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

Image Credit: WikiCommons

Hold the date – Gartner’s next BPM summit in Sydney will be held on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st August at the Sheraton in the Park Hotel.

If you register before 22nd June you get a AUS$400 discount and the opportunity to attend a networking breakfast with four Gartner analysts!

The hot topics to be covered include:

  • How to deal with organizational politics and silos
  • Motivation, gamification and organizational change
  • BPM Roles, Skills, Metrics and Performance
  • Getting Started With BPM
  • Leveraging Investment in BPM Applications

Our guest keynote speaker will be Michael Rosemann who will present “Beyond Reactive Process Redesign: Innovating Processes with Emerging Technologies”. Full details of our agenda can be found on the event website.

If you’re not already a member, join our LinkedIn group for further updates and follow #gartnerbpm on Twitter!

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Gartner BPM Attendees Indulge in Topical Tweeting and Fruity Gamification

by Samantha Searle  |  April 30, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

The second day of the Gartner BPM summit in Baltimore has generated even more excitement around BPM. For highlights and attendees reactions view my Storify blog of Day 2 (Thursday 26th April) here . It is interesting to see that 60% of our attendees are from IT and 40% from the business. Even more encouraging is the number of intermediate and advanced BPM practitioners (40% intermediate and 30% advanced) with only 30% of attendees at beginner level.

If you’re wondering what all the topical tweeting is about, have a look at the tag cloud below that summarises what people have been talking about on #gartnerbpm.

As for the fruity gamification theme, I hear that there have been a lot of fruit-related word games going around in sessions…or maybe we’re all just going bananas (**groan**)?!! Either way it was great to see such a high level of interaction on #gartnerbpm as well as onsite and thanks to everyone who kept the conversation going on Twitter duruing the event. If you have any further comments/feedback please let me know, else we’ll look forward to seeing you next year in Baltimore!

In the meantime you can follow me on Twitter: @scsearle

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Day 1 of Gartner BPM Summit Links BPM, Social and Gamification with Avid Tweeters!

by Samantha Searle  |  April 26, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

750 BPM wannabees have descended on Baltimore this week to discover opportunities and acknowledge challenges relating to people, politics and process and work out how to manage them.

I’ve summarized the highlights of Day 1 using Storify (allow you to create a nice storyboard rather than a blog full of text!) which you can read here:

Day 1 of Gartner BPM Summit Links BPM, Social and Gamification

There were some great conversations going on #gartnerbpm via Twitter yesterday. Overall we had 195 tweeters who sent 662 tweets and reached 160,080 other Twitter accounts so big thanks to everyone who participated! Let’s keep the conversationg going on #gartnerbpm for Day 2!

We also had a good start to our competition to identify organizational politics challenges. Some of my favourite responses so far are:

  • Knowing whose egos you have to stroke to effect change in the organization
  • “COE mentality” – we cannot do anything until we establish a center of excellence and a shared services group
  • Greatest organizational challenge is remaining relevant to the business and expressing outcomes in financial terms
  • Source of #OPbpm is the constant battle between process standardization vs agility and people believing they’re mutually exclusive

Keep your organizational politics challenges coming either by posting them to the onsite board at the summit or tweeting them to #OPbpm #gartnerbpm.
For a reminder of all the competitions going on during the Gartner BPM summit, check out my previous blog “Don’t Miss our Onsite and #Gartnerbpm Competitions at the BPM Baltimore Summit” and Elise’s blog on the topic “Get your Game On at the Garter BPM Summit in Baltimore

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Don’t Miss our Onsite and #Gartnerbpm Competitions at the BPM Baltimore Summit!

by Samantha Searle  |  April 23, 2012  |  1 Comment

Our 2nd BPM summit in Baltimore begins on Wednesday and just to add some extra excitement to the event we’re running a few competitions onsite and via #gartnerbpm on Twitter.

Prizes include a free pass to next year’s BPM Summit in Baltimore and the chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate (or $100 charity donation) and are for end-users only (sorry!) .

Here are the details:

Competition #1: Crowdsourcing challenges in organizational politics

This is an opportunity to help us define organizational politics by identifying the issues and challenges that relate to organizational politics and can hinder BPM success. For example, one issue might be:

Organizational memory; we can’t seem to try something new because a similar effort to fix “X” failed in the past”.

There are two ways to enter:

  • Locate the physical board at the conference (its location will be revealed on #gartnerbpm and during the welcome address at 8:30am on Wednesday!) and write down your issue/challenge on a piece of paper. You must put your name and email address on the back so we know who you are!
  • Tweet your issue challenge using #OPbpm #gartnerbpm

This competition will run from Wednesday and close at 5pm ET on Thursday so make sure you enter before you forget!

Anyone can vote for their top two favourite entries either by going to the board and placing a dot sticker next to the challenge/issue or retweeting them on #OPbpm #gartnerbpm. The winner will be announced at on Friday by Elise Olding at the closing speech.

Competition #2: Fill in the blank

I will run two daily competitions on #gartnerbpm where I’ll post part of a statement and invite people the complete it by filling in the blank. Post your full response to #gartnerbpm and the best response of the day will win a free pass. Just to give an example of what to look out for, I’ll tweet a statement such as:

#gartnerbpm Intelligent processes should…

You then reply by retweeting and filling in the rest of the statement:

#gartnerbpm Intelligent processes should tell me when a process is broken!

Each day the competition will finish at 6pm ET and the winner will be announced the following morning on #gartnerbpm and via my blog.

Competition #3: WIN $100 Amazon Gift Certificate for completing our BPM research survey!

We will be inviting attendees to complete our annual BPM research survey via onsite kiosks. Your input is much appreciated and will be used in our research so as a thank you for doing the survey, you will be entered into a prize draw to win either a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate or $100 donation to the charity of your choice. In addition, everyone who fills out the survey will get a badge!

Look for out for other games onsite!

Elise Olding and other analysts will be handing out badges onsite for participating in various games; see Elise’s latest blog for details:

Get Your Game On at the Gartner BPM Summit in Baltimore

and follow #gartnerbpm and other BPM analyst blogs for further updates. Enjoy the conference and watch this space!

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Success at the BPM London Summit Sets the Stage for Baltimore and Sydney!

by Samantha Searle  |  March 30, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

We had a great couple of days at the London BPM Summit this month with over 350 attendees from not only the UK & Ireland, but Germany, the Nordics, the Middle East and even Egypt! A range of industries including financial services, government, manufacturing, technology, telecom and transportation were also well represented. Furthermore we had a 19% increase in attendance compared to last year which is fantastic, so a big thank you to those of you who made the time to attend the summit! The clients I spoke to certainly found it was worth their while.

As a Gartner analyst, you don’t get much (if any) time to sit in sessions as you are normally either presenting the session yourself or doing 1:1s with clients. However I was fortunate enough to introduce one of our case study speakers, Geir Dryan (Kredinor) who told a powerful and inspiring story of how BPM had saved their organization from potential bankruptcy. New government regulations severely impacted their profit margins, so they used process improvement and activity-based costing to remove non-revenue generating actions and produce a more profitable business model.

Finally thanks to those of you who tweeted your thoughts and comments during the conference and provided another dimension for interaction. We had a total of 494 tweets on #gartnerbpm over two days that reached an audience of 197,395 people! So I shall set a challenge to our US and AsiaPac audiences to beat this when they attend our upcoming BPM Summits in Baltimore and Sydney later this year. If you would like more information or to register for these summits, please follow the links below.

Gartner BPM Summit, Baltimore, 25th – 27th April

Our guest keynote speakers in Baltimore will be:

Patrick Lencioni (Author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and Founder and President of the Table Group) who will make the case for why healthy organizations win and how you can harness your organization’s full potential.

Gabe Zichermann (Entrepreneur and author of “Gamification by Design” and “Game-Based Marketing”) will discuss how to transform your business with gamification.

We will also have 3 of our own Gartner analysts providing further, thought-provoking keynotes on:

“”Driving Organizational Success by Combining Social Media and Business Process Transformation” Anthony Bradley

“Business Process Management 2020” Jim Sinur

“The Next Frontier – People, Process and Things – Taking BPI to the Internet of Everything” John Mahoney

Gartner BPM Summit, Sydney, 20th – 21st August – watch this space for further agenda announcements!

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Why You Can’t Afford to Miss our London BPM Summit This Week!

by Samantha Searle  |  March 12, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

This Wednesday sees the start of the BPM Summit in London – will you be there? Our theme is People, Politics and Process – Breaking Down Barriers to Enterprise Success. So what exactly are these barriers and how can attending the summit help you understand how to overcome them?

Barrier #1: No clear results from BPM projects

If you don’t show results and ROI from the first few BPM projects, why would the organization fund you? Building a business case can help you avoid this common pitfall, because it sets clear targets for BPM and helps you achieve results.

Attend Jim Sinur’s session on “Building the Business Case for BPM” on Wednesday 14th March 16:15 – 17:15 to find out more.

Barrier #2: Not measuring your processes properly!

If you don’t measure how your processes are currently performing, how do you know which ones are performing badly and in need of process improvement? Once you’re doing BPM, how do you know by how much you’ve improved them (if at all)? Finding the right metrics to measure your processes is a critical success factor for BPM.

Learn how to choose the right metrics for your processes at John Dixon’s session on “Metrics for Success” on Thursday 15th March 8:00 – 9:00

Barrier #3: Lacking the necessary skills to do BPM

Our recent surveys have shown that a shortage of good BPM skills is a recurring challenge for clients. This challenge is even greater when you consider that BPM is often not a full-time job for those involved. How can find the right skills within your organization and how do they relate to the roles required to support successful BPM projects and programs?

Three skill sets are required to succeed in BPM; find out more in Michele Cantara’s session on Operational, Transformational and Technical Roles for Successful BPM Projects and Programs on Thursday 15th March 14:00 – 15:00

Barrier #4: Ignoring process pain points or shadow processes

Often BPI projects that focus on implementing a new tool can end up misrepresenting the real process because they neglected to consider how users really interact with the process. Some of this information can be hard to capture, especially for knowledge-centric and unstructured processes.

However this is where Social BPM can help! To discover which processes would best benefit from Social BPM and how to apply it, attend our workshop on “Where to Start with Socially-Enabled Processes” with Teresa Jones and I, Thursday 15th March 8:00 – 9:45.

Even better, if you have your own BPM story and challenges to tell then come and meet me at the summit – I’d be extremely interested in hearing your viewpoint. Look forward to seeing you there!

I’ll also be tweeting from the event – follow me on Twitter (@scsearle) to follow the conference as it unfolds.

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Five Reasons Why BPM Isn’t Just About Technology

by Samantha Searle  |  February 23, 2012  |  8 Comments

“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:

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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)!
  5. 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:

Gartner BPM Summit, London, 14 – 15 March

Gartner BPM Summit, Baltimore, 25 – 27 April (N.B. $300 Earlybird discount ends March 2nd!)


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Ignore Process Pain Points at Your Peril!

by Samantha Searle  |  February 3, 2012  |  1 Comment

Where did you do most of the Christmas shopping this year? Like many people, I avoided the crowded high streets and placed orders online. Internet shoppers spent almost £8bn online in December (16.5% more than in December 2010) and a record £68bn was spent online overall in 2011. One of the key advantages of online shopping is having your purchases delivered to your door within a reasonable timeframe.

However, one item I ordered before Christmas finally arrived this week! I know what you’re thinking; fortunately it wasn’t a Christmas present or I’d be in big trouble! Though I was relieved that it had arrived, I couldn’t help wondering what had gone wrong from a process perspective! I had placed the order with an e-commerce site and the delivery was due before Christmas. The order went through fine and was dispatched shortly afterwards, but then something clearly went wrong, when the logistics company tried to deliver the product.

This is a classic example of process pain points occurring at “hand-offs” between a business and its supplier. When I chased up the supplier to find out where my purchase was, it turned out that my telephone number had not been passed on to the logistics company so they couldn’t phone me to arrange a delivery. However they did have my address so given I waited 6 weeks for the delivery, it would have been better to send me a letter via “snail mail”!

I can think of several ways in which the use of BPM could have avoided this scenario:

  • Visibility of the end-to-end process so that everyone understands the part they play, the key process inputs and outputs and the process and sub-processes they should follow
  • Accountability for the process outcomes – in this case two key process outcomes were passing on the customer details (from e-commerce site to supplier and then supplier to logistics) and the delivery of the purchase. Who should have been accountable for this – the supplier, the logistics company or the e-commerce site? Ultimately I ended up taking responsibility for it because I had to chase up the order! Business process governance can prevent this by clarifying role interactions and revealing who is responsible for deciding how the process should be improved and redesigned in the future.
  • Adaptability to changing circumstances, especially if something goes wrong like not having a customer’s phone number. Alternative options should be available via sub-processes to verify if other details were available and could be used e.g. email or delivery address, rather than nothing happening at all. If there are no contact details, or the given details are incorrect, an alert should be sent back so that someone can resolve the situation. This is where related areas like business activity monitoring and business rules management can also play a part in helping business to run smoothly.

Fortunately this e-commerce retailer was smart enough to reach out to me for feedback on the supplier and this is where the social BPM element comes into play. How many times does this situation arise without the retailer’s knowledge and consequently they might lose ? This is why it’s so important to invent ways to capture feedback from people who consume your processes, (especially external, customer-facing ones) so you can identify and eliminate any process painpoints or disconnects that could potentially damage your business.

I shall certainly help out by giving back my feedback to them this weekend, but I’m not sure if I would use that supplier or e-commerce site again…would you? On a more positive note, at least the delivery was free!

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BPM Summit 2012 Agenda Will Focus on People, Politics and Process

by Samantha Searle  |  December 7, 2011  |  Submit a Comment

The Gartner BPM team is busy working with the Gartner events team to prepare for the Business Process Management Summit 2012 to be held on:

14 – 15 March, London, UK

The theme of the summit is:

“People, Politics, Process:  Breaking Down the Barriers to Enterprise Success”

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.

Key topics

· Dealing with Politics and Silos

· Organizational Change Management

· BPM and Mobile

· Cloud Impact on BPM

· Intelligent Business Operations

The Summit will help you to advance your BPM projects, improve your own skills and deliver truly transformational BPM to your organization.

We look forward to seeing you there! For those of you who tweet, the hashtag for this event is #gartnerbpm and my Twitter username is @scsearle.

Ways to register

Web: Email:  Phone: +44 20 8879 2430

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BPM Maturity Assessment Reveals a Lack of Process Competency and Governance That Hinders Success

by Samantha Searle  |  November 25, 2011  |  Submit a Comment

How mature do you think your organization is at BPM? Though it might seem a daunting question to answer, understanding where your organization’s strengths and weaknesses in BPM can be the difference between success or failure.

The first set of results on BPM from Gartner’s maturity assessment ITScore were published last week. They revealed some interesting truths about how organizations are progressing with BPM:

  • Many organizations are still more functionally-orientated than process-orientated, and consequently they succeed at applying BPM to functional processes but stall when faced with cross-boundary processes.
  • This problem arises from how governance and metrics are set up – if the performance of people and processes isn’t measured by metrics that support process improvement and the performance of end-to-end processes then this will limit the success of BPM, especially once it tries to tackle cross-functional processes.
  • When applying BPM to cross-functional processes, conflict can arise between functional and cross-functional process performance metrics that requires the right governance in place to achieve resolution.
  • There is a lack of the right process competencies such as process modelling and change management techniques to ensure the success of BPM programs.
  • A significant number of organizations are successfully leveraging process improvement methodologies and appreciate the value of applying BPM technologies where appropriate.

The reports on Gartner’s ITScore for BPM maturity assessment provide a more detailed analysis and advice on how to address the issues highlighted by the assessment. Links to the reports are given below (please note that access is restricted to Gartner clients only):

Of course, you could always take the ITScore maturity assessment for BPM for yourself and discover how your organization is really doing at BPM! It only takes about 20 minutes, including the enteprise perspective assessment, which gives an evaluation of your overall enterprise IT maturity.

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