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Baby Steps to BPM

An article by Shyamal Addanki, Director NA

The Business Process Management market has been recoding double-digit percentage growth over the last few years. While this is not new technology, it seems that adoption of BPM is at an all time high. As adoption of technology increases, so does the awareness of the technology, and we definitely see this in the emerging markets of the BPM space. Companies across various industries are sitting up and reaching out to BPM vendors, such as FireStart, to request demos and find out more about the benefits and how they can implement BPM.

Implementing BPM

Often, there is a healthy concern about the implementation of BPM. Technology is always great when everything is up and running smoothly – but how complex, and how expensive, is it to implement BPM in an organization? The answer, understandably, is “it depends.” But to get a better feeling for what you are up against, it might help to understand that there are two different ways to implement BPM; I like to simplify it by reducing it to two categories; system-level BPM and user-centric BPM.

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System-Level BPM

In system-level BPM, the technology fully connects and integrates all the enterprise software used in a company, and all the processes are digitized and interconnected. The end-goal is highly-efficient, fully digital, automated processes. This is a great end-goal, but requires massive up-front implementation efforts, costs, and time. Many legacy BPM providers, which are some of the largest companies in this space, fall into this category. However, a few of them are now slowly trying to transition to the second category, user-centric BPM.

User-Centric BPM

User-centric BPM, or lean BPM, turns the model around. Why connect all your systems and digitize all your processes in a heavy implementation cycle, when you can focus on the processes that matter, digitize them, automate them using no-code graphical modelling, and deploy the solution to the impacted business units? Whenever you’re ready, select the next important process and digitize it, and so on. As you surgically implement BPM in the organization you also get important user-feedback and fully understand the technological capability of the system before moving on to the next step.

Drive User Adoption

However, one of the most important differences lies in how you drive user-adoption. System-level BPM creates change that is thrust on end-users while user-centric BPM focuses on making the end-user a champion of the BPM system by putting them in the driver seat. Business process users are the best people to design their business processes and workflows, rather than using IT or external consultants to try to model processes they don’t understand. By empowering business users in this way, companies can do away with a large portion of overhead costs related to BPM implementation and consulting fees, while maintaining strong internal process quality.

Change Management

Another fact that often gets overlooked is that processes are only designed once. After the initial release, that process must be maintained and change-managed for its entire lifecycle until it is obsolete. User-centric BPM makes it easy for business units to administer their processes, implement changes, and manage their process governance. In the system-level BPM world, every change creates an IT request, either to an internal team or an external consultancy; and you don’t need to be a process-expert to see the inefficiency in that model.

So, if you are dipping your toes into the world of BPM and looking at all the different solutions out there, first try to understand which bucket they fall into; system-level or user-centric? Make sure you ask about the implementation process for the vendors you’re reviewing, and keep in mind that complex implementations often face delays and cost overruns.

But the real question is; why try to boil the ocean, when you can easily boil one cup at a time?

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