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Knowledge Gap on Business Process Management Hampers IT/Business Alignment

By Steve Lee and Lane F. Cooper, BizTechReports.Com

As far as jargon goes, business process management may be on the lips of many, but it is being actively pursued as a dedicated discipline by relatively few in the corporate environment. This is one conclusion of a critical study on BPM from the folks at AIIM. The non-profit organization says that 57 percent of over 300 respondents surveyed reported the absence of a specific group responsible for BPM initiatives in their organizations. As a result, many IT managers are confused and potentially misinformed about the actual state of business process effectiveness in their organizations.

“Whether processes are documented or undocumented, manual or automated, optimized or sub-par, [knowing this status is] the core of any functioning organization,” states AIIM Vice President Carl Frappaolo. “The spread of process excellence, from the manufacturing industry into the world of ‘knowledge workers,’ across all industries, has been a long, slow journey. And many have yet to embark on the journey.”

Determining the state of these business processes has been complicated by accelerating globalization trends, the expansion of the mobile workforce, and the growing importance of inter-corporate collaboration, among other things. It is difficult to imagine how most organizations have escaped changing their business processes significantly. And yet, few enterprises, have allocated specific resources to analyzing and managing these dynamic business processes.

That explains why almost half (48 percent) of respondents to AIIM’s survey place their organization at Level 1 of the Business Process Maturity Model. This level is reserved for enterprises that lack consistent practices and management, have little to no BPM strategy, and in which process redesign is described as “ad-hoc” at best. Only 3 percent of the respondents described themselves as being at Level 5 (optimizing process excellence, and re-engineering is fully integrated into the organization.)

Hopefully, however, the momentum will build. Certainly on the software front, IT managers appear to be elevating their level of interest in BPM. According to Gartner research, the worldwide market for BPM software exceeded $1 billion in 2007 in total software revenues and will more than double to reach $2.6 billion in annual sales by 2011.

Goal: Continuous BPM Improvement

Perhaps the biggest shift that must take place is in the minds of IT managers. Rather than thinking of BPM as a project that has a beginning middle and an end, it should be conceived as an ongoing activity that is tied to all technology and business activities that are critical to enterprise operations.

“Business Process Management solutions, allow enterprises to continuously fine-tune business processes in response to rapidly changing conditions,” says Daniel Hauenstein, Program Director for Lotus Software Marketing at IBM.

“What’s more, BPM allows enterprise executives and IT managers to implement effective business process changes rapidly—and cheaply. An ideal BPM solution comprises software, services and industry expertise to support all aspects of process change and optimization,” he says.

The BPM Waltz

There are three principal steps that enterprises considering BPM solutions should take.

Expected Outcomes of BPM

Once in place, BPM enterprises allow leaders to quickly model, simulate, deploy, and monitor business processes to continuously optimize operational capabilities. It can provide a real-time operational view and enable executives to intervene quickly when conditions change. This enables business users to drive process change and innovation while rapidly delivering new and differentiated products and services to customers.

For more information on how experts at IBM can help your organizations develop an optimized Business Process Management strategy, please contact IBM.

  • SOA-enabled Business Process Transformation

    Achieving sustainable agility for the globally integrated enterprise


  • ROI of your BPM investment

    Discover the impact of disorganized processes, and ways to save time and money


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