Business sees value in BPM

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 16 May 2013

Business is starting to see the value of business process management (BPM) - something that is long overdue, says Craig Leppan, associate director at Ovations.

Leppan, who has just returned from the IBM Impact event in Las Vegas, says enterprise focus is swinging back to BPM.

"BPM has been sidelined in recent years, as enterprises looked at ERP [enterprise resource planning] and CRM [customer relationship management]. However, now that ERP and CRM have become more established, they are focusing on BPM again," he says.

Leppan believes it's high time they did. "Without understood, mature processes, businesses will fail. For us, BPM is as important as business itself," he says.

"Business must get involved in setting the strategy up - after all, it is a business improvement mandate. This may sound like a clich'e, but it has been slow to happen."

Now, Leppan says, businesses are realising that BPM delivers real business value, and that the biggest benefits are realised when it is driven by business.

People often come at it from the bottom with a platform or tool promising a new era, whereas modelling and building for change are more important. However, business and IT are getting closer now. BPM is becoming less about building applications, and more about understanding and modelling our processes."

Leppan says business is starting to see the value of BPM, and is becoming more involved in the process. At the IBM Impact event, he heard several case studies illustrating the positive impact effective BPM has had on major global enterprises.

Leppan notes that an increasingly competitive business environment means companies have to respond quickly to change.

"Whether it is a process, product or pricing change, you must be able to respond almost immediately. The race is on in numerous areas, such as enterprise mobility, where businesses have to move quickly. The first and fastest captures the market. With effective BPM, you know what you're doing, so you can change it, and improve it."

He points out that small enterprises may manage without a formal BPM strategy for some time, but as soon as their business or staff numbers grow, manual processes do not scale out. This is when an effective BPM strategy becomes critical, he says. Not only does it enable efficiencies; businesses cannot innovate or improve without it, he says.

"Other major focus areas emerging in the BPM space are mobility and integration layers," he says.

"Now enterprises are looking to systems of engagement, rather than systems of records - customers want to really transact and interact, rather than just doing queries and reports."

Social media and consumerisation are also impacting BPM, Leppan says.

"Customers now are used to the interactivity and functionality they get from social media, instant messaging and mobile apps, and they expect the same from the enterprise, although, obviously, it needs to be delivered in a secure and managed way."

Leppan will deliver an overview of the trends that emerged at IBM Impact when he addresses the upcoming ITWeb BPM Summit. For more information about this event, click here.