In a piece on Clay Richardson's Forrester blog in November of last year, he predicted that 2015 would see the BPM industry disrupted by things like low-code vendors, improved dynamic case management, smart process apps and a stronger focus on the customer. While there is a lot to be said for the current, 'traditional' BPMS you have in place and the approaches and strategies you can use to get the full value from it, there are also some exciting elements to new BPM offerings. We take a look at how you can get more from your current BPMS and what to consider if you think it's time for a change.
BPMS as an Austerity Pill
Most BPMS implemented in the last decade were sold as a “pill” for the recession. They were focussed on short-term projects to do more with less, improve quality and reduce cost - all legitimate business goals and many successes have been recorded in these areas. Notably, most of these implementations were project focussed, lacking an overall vision, without links to business strategy, without BPM standards and sometimes without even an understanding of the full capability/functionality of the BPMS that was purchased. Also, because of the introspective nature of these projects, the customer was not at the heart or even the extremities of the BPMS initiative.
Now, that the recession is almost over and the projects are ending, this austerity pill is no longer needed and just like a patient needing to change their lifestyle, these BPMS implementations need a full health check and overhaul to make them relevant to expanding markets and to provide a real focus on improving customer centric processes.
The good news is that the BPMS continues to be as relevant, capable, extensible and valuable.
If this sounds like your organisation, you are in an enviable position. Think big. Go back to basics and take a more strategic approach to the BPMS.This will give you an opportunity to leverage the pre-existing investment – no need for a big capital intensive project and you are building on the BPM assets you have already built. Align the BPMS strategy with business strategy, understand the opportunities, threats and then establish priorities and get cracking! If you know who your customer is, map the Customer Journey as part of this exercise, ensuring that there is a proportionate focus on the Customer.
New Age BPM Suites
The term “new age BPM suites” refers to the explosion of Business Process Management (BPM) related solutions appearing on the market, promising fast fixes that plug gaps, provide workflow, light automation and can connect disjointed IT applications. These suites and solutions will extend or replace existing BPMS, moving business processes beyond documentation to execution.
Who can benefit?
The smug fit and healthy BPMS Implementers
Organisations that have implemented their BPMS strategically, who took the time to understand how processes can influence strategy and vice-versa are well positioned to benefit from the new age BPM suites and the “4 tier architecture” as described by Forrester. They understand where the emerging solutions fit in the jigsaw that is their future digital business, they have the structures, governance and standards (including data management) in place that allow them to rapidly deploy and get business value from these solutions - fast. They are also more likely to have resolved security and data protection risks associated with deployment in the cloud. I’m not coming across many organisations in this position.
The new BPM solutions can be used as short term solutions…new pills
Ironically, organisations that don’t have a BPMS or BPM but have a pain that needs a “pill”, can gain very fast benefits from these new and emerging BPM suites and applications, for example:
- Starting small by conducting experiments to evaluate BPM approaches – small cost, low risk and builds trust
- Gathering data from disparate sources to generate “Big Data” (customer centric analysis, of course)
- Plugging gaps to create end-to-end customer experiences
- Supplementing outmoded systems with workflow and new functionality, bolted on.
- Interim low cost solutions where big legacy apps require major development or ” plan B” for high risk developments
- Automation of electronic forms and checklists
- Case management
- Event based triggers (to email, SMS and other channels)
- Monitoring e.g. social media
- Automation of collaborative tasks e.g. shared excel files
- And lots more…
These solutions will take weeks to develop, rather than the months needed to develop using “traditional” application development methods. When delivered in the cloud, implementation time is also minimised, meaning that they genuinely deliver business value fast.
This is an exciting time for those wanting to gain advantage from BPM systems and solutions. Some of us working in this space for years foresee major benefits to our clients from these new and emerging solutions. As with all new technologies, take the time to understand the risk of an early stage market, understand how they fit with your business and IT strategy and choose carefully.
If you do decide it's time for a change, make sure it's approached correctly from the get-go. For some examples of how to implement a project well from the beginning, have a look at our Rapid System™ and TPSoP® methodologies, both created to ensure that business goals, governance and customers, are always taken into account, creating a real understanding of the heart of BPM.
If you need support for the changes you're implementing check out our BPM consultancy services.