Takeaways from Driven 2009: Leadership and Talent are in Demand

Scott Francis
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During Day 1 of the conference, Lombardi confirmed their belief in something that I’ve believed for many years- that the key things holding back BPM adoption are Leadership and Talent.  Lombardi’s take on leadership was that executive leadership (C-level) is required to really foster BPM adoption in a broad way at an organization.  I think there was general agreement in the room that it is a lot easier when that is the case.  However, I wouldn’t let the rest of the organization off the hook so easily.  Obviously, as an outsider – as a vendor, or consulting firm- the people in the room need to focus on getting executive support for BPM, and even leadership of BPM initiatives.  But for insiders, within the organization, if your executives aren’t leading, and aren’t supporting, you have some work to do.  Leadership doesn’t always come from the top at organizations – it often comes from where the need is, which is a polite way of saying, it comes from people who are dealing with real problems (where the sh*t hits the fan). Often these leaders at lower levels of the organization need help – the data and tools (ammunition) to make their case to executives, the methods and tools to manage and measure their BPM projects, and a sounding board for their efforts.  And this is just why BP3 is in this space – we think Leadership is the critical element, and we think our job is to augment those leaders with expert advice, support, tools, and assistance. The second term Lombardi focused on was “talent”.  Of course, we’re really talking about “people who are expert enough in BPM to implement BPM.”  It isn’t truly talent (as in, the “born with it” kind) – its the combination of skill, experience, knowledge, and wisdom.  And when you’re sitting in a room full of BPM practitioners, one of the things you do is take stock of your own team and what your role in the ecosystem of partners should be. At BP3, we’re the most experienced team on the planet for Lombardi Teamworks BPM implementations.  We have quite literally brought together some of the best and brightest in the BPM universe into one team.  And I think we can be a keystone in the strategy of helping companies develop their own BPM teams:
  • A customer putting together their BPM Center of Excellence (CoE)
  • A consulting firm putting together their BPM practice, or needing help in a region outside their normal operating geography
  • A software company adding BPM to their portfolio, needing to augment their skills or team
  • A solutions company selling a solution based on BPM software, needing more weight or heft or reach behind their deployment team.
I was encouraged to see the quality and variety of partners in attendance as it tells me we have the seeds in place for really growing the number of BPM practitioners available to the marketplace. Update: In Day 2, Lombardi came back to the theme of the talent gap – specifically a very good chart showing the ramp of BPM projects relative to the ramp of talent to work in and on those projects, and how often customers (or partners) will hit the wall as the talent gap reaches a certain level of pain – causing delays in projects, or higher costs, or just stress for a team stretched too thin.  The more aggressive your BPM roll-out plan, the more acute the pain from this talent gap will be.  Recognizing that this can happen, of course, you can plan around it by establishing relationships with partners to help fill those staffing gaps or help accelerate knowledge acquisition in BPM.  See the above bullet list – if your firm is engaged in building a BPM competency, and your plans are aggressive, you’re going to need help from outside experts to bridge the gap – or else you’re going to have to accept a longer pipeline for delivery. There was also an extensive discussion of Lombardi University – Lombardi’s new approach to education and certifying individuals and partners.  That’s going to take a separate post to comment on, however.

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