Executive Briefings

A Data-driven, Widely Supported, and Collaborative Approach to Successful Business Process Management

Analyst Insight: Though there is no question that modern business process management (BPM) applications have the potential to solve many technical aspects of business processes challenges, the productive consolidation and integration of this evolution into the corporate culture requires that the management of business processes shift toward an approach that is data-driven, widely supported, and better communicated at the organizational level. - Jorge García, research analyst, Technology Evaluation Centers

Although the BPM space has evolved technologically to a level that allows organizations to create, deploy and execute process management tasks with more efficiency and better performance, challenges still remain owing to the complex nature of successful business processes, particularly at the development and execution levels. Organizations should consider working on at least three management areas in order to improve process management efficiency:

1. The data-driven approach

One of the more important challenges that still needs to be addressed in the near future is for organizations to shift from the old functional paradigm (which views processes as occurring in silos, within specific departments), to viewing them as impacting multiple functional areas within an organization. Dependencies and synergies within an organization must encourage a cross-functional culture where work units, tasks and processes are part of the corporate strategy, rather than independent elements of the overall strategy.

2. Support

All phases of process management (development, deployment and execution) require leadership and support in order to increase the likelihood of an accurate and objective view of goals, needs, constraints and issues. This is crucial to achieving a state of continuous improvement, and ultimately, to achieving BPM success. It's also imperative that the support extend beyond the executive sponsorship level to a demonstrable level of commitment from all impacted areas.

3. Collaboration

Collaboration is an important issue to take into consideration when attempting to close the virtuous cycle of BPM. Within the data-driven approach, collaboration plays a basic role in providing the proper communication of goals and needs, while enabling the coordination of tasks between all process stakeholders. Effective collaboration essentially guarantees that the appropriate communication, negotiation and data-sharing activities are in place to promote agile decision making. Collaboration also reduces the "time to informed decision" in the process management cycle. Integral to this process are analysis and decision making at the appropriate organizational level (strategic, tactical and operational).

Analytical functionality in BPM applications is more than a "nice to have." It's an organic tool for any process management initiative. Compliance with business process standards (both internal and external to the organization) is required for effective process development and execution discipline. Stronger monitoring and analysis strategies must be deployed to monitor all aspects of a business process in action. In essence, the art of BPM needs to consider the aforementioned technological and organizational aspects in order to be effective, agile and (most importantly) profitable.

                                    The Outlook

In 2012, we can expect to see applications continue to be more data-driven and user-oriented, as ease of use is a basic necessity in helping users gain control over business process complexity. BPM applications are providing users with the means to collaborate in better ways as well as analyze and monitor processes more effectively. Giving the user the data, support and collaboration needed to properly address business processes will help ensure BPM success.

Keywords: Complexity, Functionality, Business Process Management, Customer Relationship Mgmt., All Technology, Business Strategy Alignment, Quality & Metrics, Global Supply Chain Management, Technology Evaluation Centers

Although the BPM space has evolved technologically to a level that allows organizations to create, deploy and execute process management tasks with more efficiency and better performance, challenges still remain owing to the complex nature of successful business processes, particularly at the development and execution levels. Organizations should consider working on at least three management areas in order to improve process management efficiency:

1. The data-driven approach

One of the more important challenges that still needs to be addressed in the near future is for organizations to shift from the old functional paradigm (which views processes as occurring in silos, within specific departments), to viewing them as impacting multiple functional areas within an organization. Dependencies and synergies within an organization must encourage a cross-functional culture where work units, tasks and processes are part of the corporate strategy, rather than independent elements of the overall strategy.

2. Support

All phases of process management (development, deployment and execution) require leadership and support in order to increase the likelihood of an accurate and objective view of goals, needs, constraints and issues. This is crucial to achieving a state of continuous improvement, and ultimately, to achieving BPM success. It's also imperative that the support extend beyond the executive sponsorship level to a demonstrable level of commitment from all impacted areas.

3. Collaboration

Collaboration is an important issue to take into consideration when attempting to close the virtuous cycle of BPM. Within the data-driven approach, collaboration plays a basic role in providing the proper communication of goals and needs, while enabling the coordination of tasks between all process stakeholders. Effective collaboration essentially guarantees that the appropriate communication, negotiation and data-sharing activities are in place to promote agile decision making. Collaboration also reduces the "time to informed decision" in the process management cycle. Integral to this process are analysis and decision making at the appropriate organizational level (strategic, tactical and operational).

Analytical functionality in BPM applications is more than a "nice to have." It's an organic tool for any process management initiative. Compliance with business process standards (both internal and external to the organization) is required for effective process development and execution discipline. Stronger monitoring and analysis strategies must be deployed to monitor all aspects of a business process in action. In essence, the art of BPM needs to consider the aforementioned technological and organizational aspects in order to be effective, agile and (most importantly) profitable.

                                    The Outlook

In 2012, we can expect to see applications continue to be more data-driven and user-oriented, as ease of use is a basic necessity in helping users gain control over business process complexity. BPM applications are providing users with the means to collaborate in better ways as well as analyze and monitor processes more effectively. Giving the user the data, support and collaboration needed to properly address business processes will help ensure BPM success.

Keywords: Complexity, Functionality, Business Process Management, Customer Relationship Mgmt., All Technology, Business Strategy Alignment, Quality & Metrics, Global Supply Chain Management, Technology Evaluation Centers