BPM Survival Guide

July 4, 2004

It’s always easier to understand what you need to know after you know it. Especially when it comes to a broadly defined market such as Business Process Management (BPM). While trying to understand any new technology can be difficult, getting your hands around the differences in BPM solutions can be particularly troubling because so many vendors are coming into the market from very different perspectives-workflow, enterprise application integration, document management, and more. To help put the purchase decision in context, Upside Research created the BPM Survival Guide (available at www.upsideresearch.com) to provide business and technology managers with the overview needed to understand the benefits of BPM technologies and identify the characteristics of BPM solutions that are important for their particular needs.
As the Survival Guide details, BPM is all about making the processes that are core to your business run better. BPM solutions not only allow you to automate
processes-everything from customer returns to financial compliance-to make them more efficient and reduce costs and expenses, but they also provide visibility into your business so you can capitalize on market opportunities. Companies from all industries have started using BPM because, in short, it works. BPM can make a huge difference in how your company responds to market pressures and how it proactively tackles new business needs. Not only that, it changes the economics of managing the business through improved process performance.
Since BPM solutions cross application and system boundaries, they often need to be sanctioned and implemented by the IT organization, while at the same time BPM products are a business tool that business managers need to own. To make BPM succeed in your organization, the most important element is to understand that it is a collaboration of business and IT, and thus both parties need to be involved in evaluating, selecting, and implementing a BPM solution.
Upside Uptake
For maximum benefit, Upside Research believes that most organizations should evaluate BPM products from both a business and IT perspective to identify the most appropriate solution. Since there are many different products with a wide range of capabilities calling themselves BPM products, Upside Research believes that it’s important during the evaluation process to separate BPM products that provide dynamic, real-time process monitoring and management capabilities from solutions that simply provide business modeling capabilities to automate processes.
As with any technology solution, there are a number of different interpretations by software vendors as to the best combination of features to meet business needs. The BPM Survival Guide presents an overview of some of the top the business and technical criteria that organizations should consider when evaluating BPM solutions.
Some of the top business criteria to evaluate when looking at BPM solutions include:
– Active process management
– Fast response capabilities to meet changing business needs
– Ability to capture best practices for continuous process improvement.
In the end, the keys to a good BPM solution from a business perspective are providing the ability for the business owners to control and change business processes on-the-fly and providing business managers with the tools they need to make informed decisions and changes to existing processes.
The technical criteria include considerations such as:
– Limited code development
– Enterprise capable technology
– Support for optimization by the business user
– Fast time to deployment
As with the business criteria, the technical criteria highlight the importance of finding a BPM solution that will leverage your existing IT resources, both human and machine, as well as empower business users to handle business-level process changes, saving time and cycles in IT. BPM should be an enterprise strength solution, and it is important to “kick the tires” and find out from existing customers how they are stretching the limits of the tools to run their businesses.
If you’re the go-to person responsible for making recommendations on BPM to your company, the BPM Survival Guide by Upside Research provides you a few things to consider about BPM that will help you make the right choices. With the right information, surviving the BPM selection process is easy. And with the right BPM solution, your company and career can prosper.

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