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"The SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management (SAP NetWeaver BPM)
component helps you model, execute, and monitor your business processes based on a common process model.
It can help you improve the efficiency of business processes, reduce errors in complex repetitive tasks,
and lower exception-handling costs."
Learning from BPM Leaders: Benefits, Prerequisites, and the Impact of Successful BPM Initiatives
Business Process Management
is also known as :
Efficiency of BPM Initiatives
BPM Leaders Benefits
Managing Business Process
Purchases of BPM Software,
Successful BPM Initiatives,
Open Source Business Process Management,
Innovative BPM Organizations,
Experiences of BPM,
Business Process Management Suite,
Learning from BPM Leaders,
Applying BPM Software,
Global BPM Leaders,
Cross-functional BPM Expectations,
Business Process Management Software,
Business Process Manager,
Business Process Management Services,
Business Process Change Management,
SAP BPM Service.
Business process management (BPM) software
implementations are now moving into the mainstream,
according to a new IDG Research Services
global study. A significant majority of respondents report
they are in some phase of one.
More tellingly, a subset of early
adopters has already used BPM to
foster business innovation, implementing
projects whose business
value outstrips traditional success
measurements such as increased
productivity and service quality.
Through quantitative surveys
and in-depth interviews, IDG
Research has identified BPM leaders and innovators and
their prerequisites for BPM success, benefits to be gained
and the overall impact on the organization. These findings
serve as best-practices guidelines for BPM initiatives
that help CIOs avoid potential trouble spots and derive
maximum value from the investment.
Drivers for Success: Why BPM?
There is a growing realization among business and IT
executives that best practices delivered by standard software
used to manage stable core processes cannot effectively
accommodate unique and often changing
Enterprises must have flexibility to
quickly create innovative business
processes that can differentiate the
company for competitive advantage.
And to achieve that flexibility,
many companies have turned to
In addition, BPM delivers broad
cross-functional gains. For example, Colorado-based Pulte
Mortgage is applying BPM software to its end-to-end loan
origination process, from application to closing. By integrating
the process across multiple functions such as loan
counseling, underwriting and closing the company expects
to deliver mortgages more effectively and reap economies of
scale. "Since the mortgage origination process doesn't have
an assembly line, there's no conveyor belt carrying a product
through the factory," says Jean Schab, functional architect
at Pulte. "For us, BPM is the logical equivalent of that conveyor
belt. It manages this sort of
assembly line, this business process,
Pulte's cross-functional BPM
expectations mirror those of the
other IDG survey respondents, who
list broad-based processes as their top
priorities for BPM initiatives:
- IT management
- Knowledge management
- Customer service
- Product and service
development and management
BPM leaders rely on several techniques to achieve
- Cross-functional collaboration. They collaborate
across teams when making software purchasing
decisions and when determining where to apply
- Metrics. They develop comprehensive methods
of measuring and monitoring the results of BPM
- SOA. They put a service-oriented architecture
(SOA) in place before beginning a BPM
- Role and responsibility development. They create
new positions and functions designed to maximize
the value of the BPM initiatives.
Who Are BPM Leaders?
IDG Research Services recently surveyed 400 IT
executives: 100 in the U.S., 100 in Europe, and 200
in Asia-Pacific. Interestingly, when asked, "Which
business benefits did you derive by using BPM software
in your past and current BPM initiatives," most
worldwide respondents ranked reduced operating
costs and improved productivity as their top responses
and 26 percent of the global sample also reported
a higher innovation rate.
How did this subset of respondents, who were
distributed evenly across all survey regions, manage
to achieve business innovation with BPM? IDG compared
these innovators' responses with the global
sample to see how and where they differed from the
average sample. For example, BPM leaders reported
more cross-functional collaboration on BPM projects.
The ways in which these BPM leaders approached
their implementations and initiatives has led to a set
of best practices, detailed in this white paper.
Being able to achieve these BPM objectives will
ultimately result in significant organization-wide business
benefits. Many respondents cite value such as increased
productivity (46 percent), reduced operating costs (46
percent) and an improved quality of services or products
In addition, some of the respondents (26 percent)
say their BPM initiatives have delivered a higher business
innovation rate. For example, Sunbelt Rentals, a $2 billion
equipment rental business, is using BPM software to transform
the sales process for its 800 representatives. As they
move from a paper-based system to an Apple iPhone-based
solution, the company has streamlined and integrated the
sales and customer management process to give representatives
better access to vital sales and customer data.
Prerequisites: BPM Best Practices
BPM deployments are complex, and the IDG
respondents say they wrestle with the inherent changes.
It's clear that BPM leaders employ three key
strategies to make the most of their investments:
Plan for change management.
Nearly half (43 percent) cite change management and the
associated BPM user training costs as the most significant
hidden implementation costs. It is by anticipating
these costs and convincing the business that change management
is a vital investment that BPM leaders achieve
success. For example, Pulte has instituted a change management
board that governs and approves changes to
overall processes. "This is kind of an interesting evolution,
because prior to implementing BPM, we didn't have
our enterprise business process defined well enough,"
says Schab. "We didn't have a baseline understood well
enough to even manage change."
BPM leaders are also more likely to make purchases of
BPM software a cross-functional decision involving application
developers, business process analysts, change management
coordinators, technical/infrastructure architects,
process architects and outside consultants. "We organize
our projects around a business task and deliberately set up
cross-functional teams in the business," says Schab. "We
do a combination of focus sessions with people from a particular
department and then put people from multiple departments
into the same sessions with our business process
specialists. Thus, they can work this stuff out."
Broadly measure the efficiency of BPM initiatives.
BPM leaders view BPM initiatives as organization-wide
efforts that require a rigorous and comprehensive measurement
strategy. Whereas global survey respondents cite
commonly used metrics such as quality improvement, incident
reduction and reductions in customer service resolution
time, BPM leaders are more likely to use all types of
metrics to monitor the overall efficiency of business processes.
"We have refocused and actually added some folks
in a strategy management office where a large part of their
job is using the output of the BPM software to measure
the health of the business, to identify problems and then
to develop action plans to deal with those problems," says
Schab. "All of that is really made possible because of the
metrics we're able to get out of the BPM system."
BPM leaders are also more likely to look beyond standard
metrics and measure factors such as an improved
ability to audit decisions, the ability to shorten the sales
cycle, and a reduction in time it takes to respond to sales
Create a SOA-enabled packaged application landscape.
SOA is a vital piece of preparation for BPM initiatives;
93 percent of the global respondents rate SOA availability
as at least somewhat important, and 61 percent rate it as
extremely or very important for the reuse of process parts.
"Basically, SOA's ability to reuse process parts gives us an
immunity to change as the business tends to grow and
develop," says an IT manager at a European financial services
company. "Having the reusable process parts enables
us to move forward without having to completely restructure
and/or buy new technology at every step."
Many BPM leaders find it more advantageous to have a
higher proportion of service-enabled and SOA-ready standard
applications in the system infrastructure. It enables
them to incorporate existing enterprise services when creating
new processes as part of their BPM initiatives, thus
avoiding reinvention of process steps
while driving down costs.
When it comes to software purchases,
most of the survey respondents
try to extend process flexibility
with the help of BPM software.
Features and functions at the top of
their BPM software tool purchase
lists include process analysis, process
configuration, process documentation,
process and rules engines and
human workflow management.
Impact on the Organization
Results from the survey and from
in-depth interviews overwhelmingly
point to the broad impact that
BPM initiatives have on the entire
enterprise changing roles and
responsibilities and improving communication
and processes. BPM leaders are focusing
initiatives on multiple areas and multiple processes, and
creating broad cross-functional teams to support them.
They report higher involvement in all phases among business
process experts, application developers and change
BPM initiatives have improved business/IT communications;
according to BPM leaders, having the business
take ownership of business process analysis is significant.
"We have spent a lot of time over the last few years building
communication between IT and the business," says
John Stadick, vice president of IT at Sunbelt Rentals. "If
they get that sense that you understand the business and
that you're not talking in acronyms, they build that confidence
and will have that conversation with you. There's a
comfort level that you build."
BPM leaders are also more likely to involve business
process experts, subject matter experts and application
developers in identifying and defining the business processes
at their company. For example, the European financial
services company IT manager quoted earlier has assembled
teams to manage business process models and drive initiatives.
"We've got teams of 10 for specific business areas,
headed up by a general manager for one particular region
or area," he says. "Then the business process managers will
report to these teams. They meet at least once a month to
discuss the initiative, how it's progressing forward and if
there are any problems and to brainstorm."
This cross-functional approach extends to the software
itself, because innovative BPM organizations are more apt
to involve functional workers such as business process
experts, business analysts, change management coordinators,
technical/infrastructure architects and executive
sponsors in using BPM software (see chart on page 3).
Much of this cross-functional work has resulted in new
roles and responsibilities. An IT manager at an Asia-Pacific
bank says BPM led to the creation of a new position at his
company: business product owner (BPO). This individual
acts as a liaison between IT and the business. "We've got a
BPO managing processes such as data warehousing, business
intelligence and the extranet," he says.
The experiences of BPM leaders have created, for CIOs
just beginning the implementation process, a road map
to success: improved business and IT communication, an
overall refresh of roles and responsibilities and greater process
flexibility. Most importantly, those that do BPM right
reap the ultimate reward of business innovation: competitive
BPM leaders demonstrate that there is a need for and
value in cross-functional cooperation and collaboration
between business and IT. Their implementations show
the benefits of creating new skill sets and responsibilities
designed to fully exploit the potential of BPM while, at the
same time, recognizing the advantages of having a SOA in
place. Finally, these innovators look at BPM as an opportunity
for constant improvement and they carefully measure
and monitor it.
A Closer Look: BPM in the U.S.
Although global BPM leaders are more apt to view
BPM as a cross-functional effort that depends on business
involvement from start to finish, 67 percent of the
U.S. respondents say that cross-functional cooperation
is its most challenging aspect.
"A lot of turf wars tend to crop up in the BPM initiatives,"
says Richard Egger, vice president of Ling
Technologies, a Virginia-based computer programming
company. "To deal with this and get cross-functional
cooperation, you have to deal with it up front. You have
to have a major player's authorization and enthusiastic
For 66 percent of the U.S-based organizations, IT/
business communication is an obstacle to collaboration.
Again, top-level executive support makes a difference.
"We almost have a military mentality, and it really comes
from the top down in this organization," says Anthony
Perry, CIO of Illinois-based United Road Towing. "It's all
about the teamwork. We rise or we fall as a team."
Perhaps one of the underlying barriers is failing to
recognize that the entire enterprise will change. Most of
the U.S. respondents say that the IT organization is the
most affected, compared with their peers in Europe and
Asia, the majority of whom acknowledge that BPM affects
all areas of the business.
In spite of these challenges, U.S. respondents who
have initiated BPM implementations view them as a
success. Of those who were already able to comment
on the results, 87 percent were at least somewhat satisfied.
As these implementations continue to add business
value, the communications challenges should ease. "It
really comes down to how you engage the field and the
operational side of the business and how you are perceived,"
says John Stadick, vice president of IT for North
Carolina-based Sunbelt Rentals. "You always have the
focus on dealing with the business."