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Competitive advantage is key in today's hyper-competitive marketplace. So how big of a role does BPM play?
Tuesday, November 05 2013, 09:46 AM
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 10:05 AM - #Permalink
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    As BPM is daily business, I would say a big role. This doesn't mean you have the most optimal or efficient processes in the world; it means that your processes do what you promise (they are effective). And that can differ from industry to industry, from country to country, from product to product. If you operate in a red ocean where you can only compete on price you probably will try to make your processes as cheap as possible and run into lean and opex projects. If you choose to compete on service, grip on the processes that do that, might look very different. If you sell a product nobody has, maybe you don't care about your processes at all. Processes are a means, not a goal. So they must support the way you do business. So at first it's a strategic question in which markets, with which products or services you want to operate (or define what you will do not). Then processes are the things that make this happen. And if they do better than your competitors, the answer to the question is yes. If they don't the answer is also yes.
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 10:29 AM - #Permalink
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    You can have all the data you want, analyze it to death and shove it into an events engine and spit out the result. But at the end of the day if you don't have a process for acting on that information (whether structured or unstructured) then all that effort is for nothing. Like Emiel said (paraphrased) processes are the things that make it happen. It's the backbone. The trick is to make sure that the processes are as shiny and slick as the all the other solutions in your organization, otherwise you have a weak link in your competitive strategy.
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 10:52 AM - #Permalink
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    Many BPM potentials, which can help companies to gain the competitive advantage, are not yet fully realised. Just a few examples: BPM, with its explicit and executable processes, helps to address some information security concerns because the security “an internal job”. BPM, as a trio of discipline, architecture/practices and COTS BPMs, penetrates 2,5 levels of the enterprise architecture (business, application, data, technology) and becomes a business-system-forming factor. This considerable simplifies the implementation of agile and flexible business systems. Although the core business processes in each enterprise are unique, they are “constructed” from typical business working practices. Majority of these practices can be expressed as executable BPMN fragments to become actionable patterns in BPMs. The use of actionable patterns liberates enterprise’s business potential. Thanks, AS
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 12:13 PM - #Permalink
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    Companies like Apple, Amazon and First Direct are often praised for their customer experience leadership. In reality they execute their business processes more effecitively than their competitors: Apple = R&D and Supply Chain processes, Amazon = Logistics processes, First Direct = Customer Service processes. So yes BPM can deliver competitive advantage.
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 12:19 PM - #Permalink
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    BPM can and should be a key enabler to Competitive advantage. If you look at Porters Competitive strategies There are two main approaches Cost Focus or differentiation. Cost differentiation is all about having the most efficient and effective processes whether it be in production sales, marketing or product development. Differentiation means that a firm seeks to be unique in it’s industry by some variable that is important to it’s target customer segment. However Porter says that even when pursuing this approach the firm cannot ignore it’s cost position and in fact in all areas that do not affect it’s differentiation there should be a focus on reducing / managing costs. Hence the need for efficient processes again. The focus strategy then further subdivides into two sub strategies Cost Focus or a differentiation focus as we have already noted cost focus is about process efficiency and effectiveness, while differentiation uses cost focus in all areas that do not affect differentiation. Even when you look at innovation, studies have shown that innovation doesn't just happen, it comes as part of a structured analysis process. A process that can be documented and repeated and improved.
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 12:50 PM - #Permalink
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    Your business is comprised of people, products, and processes. Improve any of them and you've got an advantage.To the extent that BPM enables your processes to run more efficiently, more securely, at lower cost and reduced risk, well... all that's left to worry about are your people and your products.
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    Tuesday, November 05 2013, 02:49 PM - #Permalink
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    It is well proven the BPM capability for maintenance of competitive advantages through the use of Technology for process excellence and execution. But, since what we actually know, cannot hurt our organization, I think there is still a larger field when we consider the other two legs of the BPM stool (Processes and Persons), avoiding the use of BPM with the only purpose of automation or the development of "Killer-Process-Based-Applications" of existing processes. In this battelfield, where we engage the process discovery, improvement and innovation, it is where we realize about the odds and how good BPM is to search for NEW competitive advantages, making more relevant and profitable what we don´t know than what we know about our actual processes.
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    Wednesday, November 06 2013, 04:33 AM - #Permalink
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    A consensus on importance of BPM leading competitive advantage but let me add one important aspect. I believe it was Peter Keen in his excellent book The Process Edge that made the point that good processes are assets but must remain flexible otherwise may become liabilities. Sadly this is where old IT failed miserably indeed the lack of dynamic human interaction capability contributed to the financial meltdown as the unscrupulous drove their personal agendas! The message is clear the digitisation of BPM activity can make a significant difference but be smart understand just how it supports and adapts to your people in their dynamic workplace.
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    Wednesday, November 06 2013, 06:24 AM - #Permalink
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    Competitive advantage is that superior part of your business model that cannot be easily copied by your competitors. Coming back to my perspective on how a company produces the what, the what nowadays is very easy to be copied / cloned by competitors (apart from the debate regarding the temp protection provided by patents etc). Still, the how is en entirely different story. With the right focus on keeping the how relevant, agile, customer-focused, this turns into a killing machine in the marketplace. One example easily springs to mind - I believe that the key competitive advantage of Apple is not any of its individual products, but it's ability to integrate its supply chain to design, manufacture, QC, ship, deliver, distribute and market such products on an amazingly consistent level of quality. If Jobs turned Apple into a marketing star, it is Cook who made it insanely competitive. The results of Apple scream process strength at all levels.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Wednesday, November 06 2013, 07:31 PM - #Permalink
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    At the heart of driving competitive advantage is clear, efficient, transparent processes which can be executed consistently by all employees. That sounds like a job for BPM to me!!
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    Friday, November 08 2013, 12:27 AM - #Permalink
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    Customers experience your company in a sense as the sum of your processes. So like it or not they play a big role in whether your company achieves a competitive advantage. Can a process have competitive advantage without "BPM" as most people think of it (BPMS)? Sure - think Apple's product design process for example, or the supply chain management processes. But even in those cases, key BPM concepts are being applied even where a BPMS may not be. (of course, I don't have any particular insider knowledge of Apple's processes, which is why it is a good example to use ; )
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    Monday, June 15 2015, 06:58 AM - #Permalink
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    In order to sustain a competitive advantage and face the rapidly increasing global competition, companies must continuously implement best practice management principles, strategies and technologies. Business Process Management (BPM) is a best practice management principle that helps companies sustain competitive advantage. From a process improvement perspective, BPM has become an important topic in the language of many organizations. Increasingly, research has focused on developing concepts within BPM and in identifying the operational and strategic importance of business processes. As concepts within BPM, alignment of business operations with strategic priorities is seen as core to competitiveness. Moreover, the importance of people’s involvement, as an underlying concept, also plays an important role in the quest for long-term competitiveness.

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