Risk and Cost

Peter Schooff: What are the costs or risks for ignoring BPM in a digitally transformed company?

Neil Ward-Dutton: Building on from the last question, there is a great opportunity for BPM technology to be used to create what I've heard called a digital thread that can run through an organization from the front office to the back office, from the customer through to supply chain if you like, to enable new kinds of experiences and products. The risks of not doing that, I think there's actually many, there's risks of increased cost. We'll see waste in it's kind of BPM methodology perspective, rework, work that doesn't need to be done, those kind of things. We'll see waste coming from people rebuilding capabilities that already exist but not all very well utilized.

The other kind of risks we'll see coming to the floor will be around lack of transparency. People building applications to support new channels and new products which aren't actually very transparent, they don't give you much visibility into behavior and performance. That in turn creates a difficulty in terms of how critique in change and how much you can change with confidence.

Actually there's risks to do with things like compliance, there's risks to do with agility and there's risks to do with just straight forward cost of building capabilities, so actually multi, various risks of not doing this. The challenge actually is how you lay this out in a step wise fashion so that an organization doesn't have to look at doing all of this all in one go, eating the elephant all at once. I think that's where we need to focus now.

Peter Schooff: Gotcha and that makes a lot of sense. I think what we can both say, market advantage is still the key differentiator. What would you say are your top three recommendations for a company today to gain market advantage?

Neil Ward-Dutton: For organizations looking to use this technology, I'd say top three recommendations, look to partner with companies that will really support you in their broader digital transformation journey. What I don't mean there, is look for somebody who will help you with everything you want to do but look for a vendor that will align with how you want to drive change.

If you're smart, you're already thinking about things like "How do I create agility so I can change quickly? How do I get visibility so I can get real data from what's working and what's not working? How can I drive this kind of collaborative way of working to create new systems and new capabilities quickly then change them quickly?" Look for working with a vendor who can help you get started on that change journey and do that quickly and cheaply because you want to be able to start small and scale what works and throw away what doesn't. Find a vendor who aligns with your approach there, that's the first thing.

The second thing is, don't necessarily feel that you only have to only work with one vendor for everything. The reason why I would advocate that is that although there are definite down sides to working with multiple vendors, in practicality, if you're trying to looking for one vendor to rule them all, if you like, it's going to be a long road. It's going to be a long road and it's going to be something that will take you a long time to really understand what the true opportunity is. If you want to move fast I think you have to be pragmatic and that means understanding that you probably will end up engaging more than one vendor, in more than one part of your business. Embrace that and accept it and work with it.

The third thing is to try and wrap this up in a broader governance framework. When I say that I don't mean we need to go back to a kind of heavy handed IT governance framework, the co-bit kind of thing which creates a department of No, as you sometimes hear it called, where everything is off limits, everything is controlled. What I mean there is, essentially a set of guidance principles that enable you to make smart decisions about how you use different technologies in different use cases to support different kinds of outcome. It sounds a bit high level but actually so often these organizations just trying to have when they have a hammer and everything looks like a nail.

We started to get a bit more maturity in this area. Some people are starting to talk about things like bi-modal IT, I'm not personally a massive fan of that because I think it's still very simplistic but you're starting to see a bit more maturity in that area. I think it's vital that companies get more sophistication and understand there are different approaches you need to take in different parts of the business, different tools you need to apply, different approaches you need to apply and create that framework that enables you to make those decisions in a sensible and cost effective way.

Those would be the three things I would say, a good way to kind of de-risk the work that you're going to need to do.

Peter Schooff
Author: Peter SchooffWebsite: bpm.com
Managing Editor
Peter Schooff is Managing Editor at BPM.com, where he oversees the BPM.com Forum as well as other content and social media initiatives. Peter has over 15 years experience in various enterprise IT fields, including serving as Director of Marketing for email security company Message Partners. Most recently he served as Managing Editor for ebizQ, for which he created and ran the ebizQ forum. Peter is known world-wide for his views and contributions to BPM, and was named among the Top 12 Influencers of Case Management through independent market research.

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