Asking the Wrong Question

  • October 17, 2011
  • Scott

William Band, of Forrester, asks: “Are CRM Solutions Soon to be Displaced by Dynamic BPM?”:

Increasingly, companies are using business process management suite (BPMS) or dynamic case management (DCM) solutions as the primary point of entry for strategic, cross-functional processes and view individual CRM functions as supporting administrative processes. However, taking advantage of these solutions may require a higher level of process management maturity and skills than is typically found in many organizations.

But really, if you’re asking yourself a question in the form of: “What systems can we replace with BPM?”, you’re probably asking the wrong question.  Of course, existing systems or software categories might get displaced by BPM in your organization.  But that isn’t the starting point – it is only a side-effect.  You start and end with a process, and focusing on the best way to start it, execute it, and finish it.

If your CRM system is the system of record, and you need to layer more process, or better process, or more dynamic process on top of it, so be it. But that typically doesn’t require ripping out the old CRM system.  But what about small or medium-sized businesses?  Are small businesses going to turn to BPM instead of SalesForce or SugarCRM or other similar tools?  I don’t the CRM space is in any danger, per se, from BPM  (or its variants).

On the other hand, if Mr. Band is really asking “is BPM where the action is in CRM?” – then he might be on to something. BPM is influencing traditional Enterprise Software and approaches to managing the silo-ed business functions that it supports.

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