Misc

Business process management systems and tools for CIOs

Business process management (BPM) is an approach that focuses on optimizing processes to help make the enterprise more effective and efficient. Adopting a BPM outlook can be difficult for organizations that have typically focused on the data, however, rather than the processes. CIOs can learn how to incorporate BPM into their IT departments with the news and tips in this CIO Briefing.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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  BPM's future: Dynamic services, not pre-canned logic
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LAS VEGAS -- Companies that did not use the Y2K deadline to get a grip on the morass of redundant, unconnected, surreptitious applications that run their businesses might want to start now.

According to Gartner Inc. analyst Yvonne Genovese, the frenzy in the business application market over the next three years will equal or surpass that of Y2K.

"The role of business applications is going to change significantly, and business process management plays a very important role in how you make the right decisions long term in applications," Genovese said.

Genovese, who covers business application strategies at the Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy, was one of a parade of experts at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit in Las Vegas. About 1,000 people from 30 countries, nearly evenly split between business and IT professionals, are attending the event. Many of them are just starting to consider BPM, judging from a show of hands at Genovese's and other sessions.

Learn more how BPM can help navigate change in "BPM's future: Dynamic services, not pre-canned logic." Also:

  Business process management: Avoiding the pitfalls
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LAS VEGAS -- Process improvement touches many parts of an organization -- from infrastructure and business strategy to organizational redesign -- which means missteps can abound. A panel of been-there, done-thats at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit in Las Vegas offered practical advice on how to avoid common risks.

The highest correlation between business process management (BPM) projects and failure is lack of support from top management, said Richard Welke, a former CIO and now director and professor of the Center for Process Innovation at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

"Fundamentally, people hate change," Welke said, citing findings based on three decades of systems development research.

"What you need to offset this is continuous, visible, top-level management support, not just a rah-rah speech at the beginning of the project, never to be heard again," he said.

Find out more in "Business Process Management: Avoiding the pitfalls." Also:

  BPM focus shifts to people, change
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LAS VEGAS -- It's not your daddy's BPM. A new economic reality is forcing some companies to look more broadly at their business processes and move from a "build-to-last" approach toward designing business processes that are built for change.

That was one of the take-home messages in the opening keynote at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, where some 1,000 business and IT leaders from 30 countries can sample the slot machines along with the latest offerings from the likes of IBM, Oracle, BEA Systems Inc., Lombardi Software Inc. and Savvion Inc.

When it comes to business processes, "People are again taking center stage," said keynote speaker Janelle Hill, a Gartner analyst who heads the Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy's BPM practice.

Modern software miracles often have involved taking humans out of the equation, and, in doing so, improving the accuracy and efficiency of rote chores. Today, BPM initiatives need to look at enhancing human activity, not eliminating it, Hill said. In a knowledge economy, people are the power and, more than ever, she said, they affect business outcomes.

Find out more in "Business process management focus shifts to people, change." Also:

  • People skills outrank tech skills
    At Gartner's Business Process Management Summit, research VP Diane Morello said tech skills will always be needed, but they'll take a back seat to relationship management.
  • Shadow processes, the ghost in the BPM machine
    When employees fail to follow business process, it can kill efficiency and hurt the bottom line. Don't assume your BPM solution is a cure-all.
  BP decisions require executive involvement
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Business process changes should be made with the collaboration of IT, line managers and the executive team -- as any of these types of changes can affect the company's strategy. However, many executives today don't realize the importance of partnering with IT in business process planning.

Who says IT doesn't matter?

A few years ago, The Harvard Business Review published an article suggesting that IT was no longer strategic. IT was now ubiquitous, the article argued, and every company has access to such technology. IT, therefore, could not be a competitive differentiator. Executives shouldn't waste time on IT, just leave the work to IT professionals, the article went on to argue.

Several of us who work in the area of IT management and strategy shouted "Wrong!" because it was dangerous advice. IT is more strategic than ever. It is the ubiquity of information technology that now allows a company to change its business processes, radically.

Learn more about business processes in "Business process decisions require executive involvement, not just support." Also:

  BPO can be key for survival, say CIOs
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Outsourcing business processes that are an integral part of a company is rarely well received by the rank and file for obvious reasons: job insecurity, threat of lower wages and the risks that go along with handing key aspects of your day-to-day business to outsiders.

However, two technology executives who have been there and done just that -- outsourced core business processes -- say attitudes can and do change when a company is fighting for its life.

"When it is a matter of survival, you tend to sign up," said Vasant Bennett, president of engineering services at Barry-Wehmiller Cos., a St. Louis holding company that makes packaging equipment.

Bennett, who spoke at IDC's recent business process outsourcing conference, pioneered an offshore outsourcing strategy for Barry-Wehmiller in 2000 when the company was having trouble filling IT jobs at MarquipWardUnited, a newly acquired business in Phillips, Wis.

Learn more in "Business process outsourcing can be key for survival, say CIOs." Also:

  More BPM resources for CIOs
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This was first published in March 2008

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