Business process management: more of the same

Read time 3min 00sec

There has not been much change in the business process management market over the past 10 years, according to the sixth bi-annual BPM Trends Market Survey, which has been conducted by BPTrends since 2005. The report summarises the responses of participants from around the world and compares them with the responses from the previous surveys.

Although the respondents had changed, had included more business people and then more IT people, and the number of respondents had grown and/or declined in each survey, the same questions had been asked and the all the answers to these questions had remained pretty much the same.

An interesting finding was how differently organisations understand the term "business process management" and what drives it within their organisation.

Not only did respondents used the term BPM in different ways - some referred to it as business performance management - but their approach to it also differed. So, for example, while some used BPM to refer to a general approach to the management of process change, others - albeit a smaller group - used it simply to refer to the use of software techniques to control the runtime management of business processes.

Over the years that the survey has been conducted, the definition of BPM as "A top-down methodology designed to organise, manage and measure the organisation based on the organisation's core processes" has consistently been the choice of the largest group of respondents. However, this number has declined from 40% in 2005 and 2007 to 33% in the latest survey.

The second most popular definition, chosen by 25% of respondents in the latest survey down from 36% in the 2005 survey, was "a systematic approach to analysing, redesigning, improving and managing a specific process".

Interestingly, the definition "a cost-saving initiative focused on increasing productivity of specific processes" has consistently been the third most popular definition for the term BPM over the years, albeit a long way behind (14% in the latest survey). A group that defines BPM is "a set of new software technologies that make it easier for IT to manage and measure the execution of process workflow and process software applications" has generally been the smallest in every survey apart from those opting for "other".

However, in the latest survey, the "other" group rose to 17% of respondents, overtaking both the software technology and cost-savings groups.

Despite the fact that only a few respondents defined BPM in terms of its cost-saving role, most respondents in every survey over the years indicated that the major driver of BPM in their organisation was the "need to save money by reducing costs and/or improving productivity." More than half of the respondents in the latest survey (53%) chose this option.

The second most important driver, in the latest survey - as in the previous survey - was the "Need to improve customer satisfaction to remain competitive." The "need to improve existing products" slipped into third place followed by governance considerations and the need to improve management of IT resources.

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