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What is success in Business Process Management?

May 21st, 2010 Posted in BPM implementation, Pragmatic BPM

This week I had a discussion about what BPM success is. The BPM project manager of a company was concerned about the future of BPM within the company, since they had been automating a number of processes but never really calculated the success of their projects. So they couldn’t demonstrate the value of BPM to the company and still had employees opposing every new process improvement. In the eyes of the BPM team, they hadn’t achieved anything close to the multimillion dollar savings that other companies were speaking about. While BPM does improve areas that have been left untouched by technology so far, it doesn’t come with surprise that great success is easy to achieve. This however doesn’t mean that improvements are always significant or measureable.

How do you measure the success of projects that change the way everyone thinks about the business? What if process improvement ideas start rising from every department – how much value do you associate? What if processes now provide transparency and accountability or even reallocate workload? Who measured process efficiency before defining what the process looked like?

A customer once automated a reporting process that gathers all data from different sources automatically and creates the reporting brief all by itself. The goal was to avoid the risk of including wrong information, since this might have caused significant impact on the investor’s reaction. Naturally the process worked flawlessly before implementing the solution. So where was the improvement? Not every company can name the exact risk and amount associated to the improvement.

Every company successfully implementing BPM substantially improves their business – if it can be measured or not. While pragmatic BPM might not achieve the single top hits for improvement, it exceeds any single BPM installation simply through the huge impact the quantity of automated processes have on the enterprise. My recommendation to the company was to hold an event and speak about the individual stories on how BPM improved the way they are doing business. This is a team effort and everyone will have something to tell.

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