I’ve mentioned before that the world of process understanding is changing and we’re seeing both companies and analysts wake up to the new paradigm.
Firstly the realization goes something like this:
- The large majority of activities in businesses are not logged in any transactional system (ERP, CRM, BPMS etc)
- Processes are combinations of both automated (in the transactional systems) and non-automated activities
- To both delight customers and increase operational efficiency we need to understand, see and use both the automated and manual activities to allow us to manage holistic end-to-end processes
- Modern companies have spent millions on understanding, managing, standardizing, etc. the automated activities…
- … they have spent orders of magnitude less on the manual ones
- Thus there is a compelling need to apply the same level of rigor across the manual activities as well
- Business Process Management should be defined as managing the processes across the whole enterprise, both manual and automated, as shown below:
There are very few people who dispute this perspective (SAP, Microsoft etc agree with this picture) and there is also little doubt that increasing the number of automated activities is beneficial. However the vast majority, if not all of the BPM vendors and experts are exclusively focused ‘below the line’ ‘ i.e. increasing the number of activities that are automated, see Phil Gilbert of IBM talking recently.
However laudable and necessary, it’s absolutely fundamental to understand, as evidenced by the picture above, that the contemporary ‘BPM’ vendor’s view of BUSINESS Process Management is incomplete. In order to manage all of the company’s processes you will need a stack of technologies; any sales person peddling one software to manage all of your BPM needs is either lying or doesn’t understand.
So, what do we need to manage the ‘other 80%’?
- appropriate software
- implementation methodology
- a language