To give you some context my exposure with BPM as a management approach goes back to 1992 when I co-founded the precursor to the ‘not for profit’ BP Group with a group of senior executives in the US and Europe. As part of that initiative I wrote a book in 1993/4 – ‘BPR – A Practical Handbook for Executives’, (http://tinyurl.com/6y2t9s ) in the course of the associated seminars coined the term – Business Process Management. Before that we had ‘process management’, ‘business processes’ and of course ‘business management’ but not the phrase BPM. Since then I have authored and contributed to several books so naturally I have a passion over our collective understanding!
Firstly BPM is not (just) a technology. It’s a management approach that includes strategy, people, processes and technology. As such its scope, to quote Andrew Spanyi, ‘stretches from the board room to the lunch room’. The effective deployment of a BPM strategy transforms business, and in fact organisations like Virgin, South West, Capital One and Best Buy embrace a wide definition and will indeed deploy several technologies to help them achieve their objectives.
It is a fact of life that some people hijack definitions such as BPM and market their narrow interpretation as the real thing. Then as those things fail or underperform people say ‘tried that and it didn’t work – what’s next?’. Hence through the BP Group we undertake research to track progress, and in 2008 published that research (http://tinyurl.com/al5qg6).
Subsequently we have further defined Advanced Process Management as the evolution of BPM. Some of those advanced ideas were discussed in the co-authored book ‘Customer Expectation Management’ in 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/6cdo6e).
For those people wishing to understand and deploy this broad view of business process management we offer a range of hands-on courses which provide certification. The agenda pretty much covers the current ‘state of the nation’ and provides method, approach and toolkits for the successful deployment of BPM. The certification allows people from different disciplines and understandings to include their thinking and technologies to help them and their organisation achieve success. At the advanced levels we include ‘beyond BPM’ and articulate the emerging best practices that are redefining industries. You can review the content at http://tinyurl.com/6hzysh.
As part of our broader endeavour we work closely with senior management and continue to develop and refine our understanding of BPM in its many forms. Through the BP Group this understanding is shared with the community and collectively we can all ensure a focus on practical success and delivery. That will more than anything else underline the value of effective BPM.
I think our collective quest is an excellent one and will potentially gain greater traction if the ‘technology’ appears as part of a broader solution. Finally take with a large pinch of salt the commentary of the Analysts, who are after all paid by the players and tend to publish less than impartial views.
About the Author
Steve Towers, Co-founder and Chair of BP Group (www.bpgroup.org), is an expert on process and performance transformation. Steve founded the first community focused on business process management in 1992.
Steve has bases in Europe (UK), New York and Colorado.