Terry Schurter: Is BPM Right for Your Organization?

  • November 18, 2010
  • Scott

It isn’t a bad policy to just read everything Terry Schurter publishes (whether you agree or disagree with the positions).  This one starts out making the case for people and content in BPM:

In my view, BPM is really about people and content. In fact, content is the very heart of BPM, while people are its soul. I’ll go so far as to say that if people and content aren’t both in a given process, then it’s not a business process. Business processes are nothing more or less than the interactions that occur between people, and between people and content.

Now if we accept this definition of BPM, then it seems as if BPM should work for everyone. After all, every business has people and every business has content. But even that doesn’t necessarily mean that BPM applies to all. There has to be something more; there must be value to be gained.

(I’d say that if you don’t have people and content, what you have left is a “program” which is not the same thing as a business process)

And near the end, concluding arguments:

The takeaway here is that BPM is for everyone, though not everyone is ready for BPM. The reason: You can’t buy BPM in a box. You can buy BPM software, and depending on what you are doing, that may be a very important part of BPM for you, but the software you receive is not BPM.

So it’s up to you to start looking at what your desired outcomes are and begin documenting them. Then you can follow those outcomes back to see what the process behind them looks like. Or it may be easier to document certain processes and then figure out what outcome you really want from those processes.

I think Terry has laid out a couple of really important principles:

  1. You can’t buy BPM in a box.  Repeat that three times.
  2. Start with outcomes, and work your way back to process.  (And this is why I don’t understand why so many critics of BPM say BPM is all about cost efficiencies- it is only about that if you decide it is. BPM doesn’t decide business goals for you, you have to do that yourself)
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