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As this article, C-Suite Execs Resist the Digital Transformation, states:
Key influencers and top leaders often demonstrate resistance to change. In fact, many CEOs aren't even discussing their big-picture vision for IT's future and changing role.
So how do you overcome BPM resistance from the top?
Tuesday, November 19 2013, 09:24 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Eli Stutz
    Eli Stutz
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 09:36 AM - #Permalink
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    The fastest and surest way to win over top level management is to prove that BPM will change their bottom line. If you can show the ROI of BPM by comparing what's being spent and wasted with manual processes today vs. automated, optimised and controlled BPM processes, and you have the Customer Case Studies to back that up, you've made a great start. You can also add some reports from analysts such as Gartner to the mix, which emphasize that BPM is the best way to manage processes. Finally, if possible, you can demonstrate that how their competition is using BPM (if this is the case, and it can be demonstrated - e.g. by a public case study). Then make the point that BPM can help them be more competitive, or at least keep pace with their competition, since it will give them the agility to modify processes to match real time market conditions.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 09:36 AM - #Permalink
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    C-suite execs are no different regarding change than anyone else in an enterprise. Most people are resistant to change until they understand "What's in it for me?" When you appeal to someone's self interest and demonstrate the benefits concretely, s/he will pay attention and consider changing.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 09:41 AM - #Permalink
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    There are many factors. Part of the problem is general ignorance of the value of technology, part of it is a general view that 'processes' are things that slow organisations down and 'somebody else's problem'. Many CEOs want to have the appearance of running a dynamic, innovative organisation; processes are seen as anathema to that. The easy answer to your question is 'education'. The hard bit is execution. It's very context-specific (i.e. it depends very much on the organisation's culture, strategy, operating model, competitive landscape, and so on). I wrote a post on the issue of tech ignorance: see below.
    • Scott Francis
      more than a month ago
      100% in agreement with this one. The corollary is ignorance of the value of the technologists in the organization... even in companies that value technology itself!
    • Patrick Lujan
      more than a month ago
      +1
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 09:41 AM - #Permalink
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    Wash their Jaguar, offer them a cigar and tell them everything will be alright.
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    • Patrick Lujan
      more than a month ago
      Else give an award to their competitor at an industry or vendor conference.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 10:05 AM - #Permalink
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    Are you familiar with "Airport Management"? This occurs when a C-Suite executive goes to the airport and picks up a business magazine and the cover is touting some sort of something. Doesn't matter what it is, if it is on the cover, it must be the latest cool thing. When the C-Suite executive returns to the home office after the trip, they come to their next staff meeting with that concept firmly in their brain. They say to their CIO, "Bob, we need to implement this thing I saw on the cover of so and so magazine." I am not kidding. You have probably seen this before yourself. So the real question is, How can we get BPM on the cover of our major business magazines? And don't forget golfing buddies of C-Suiters. If they are doing BPM, their foursome will all want to get in on it.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 10:30 AM - #Permalink
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    I think besides 'selling' the project, is also important to let C-suite execs to 'experience' the system (I assume we talk about BPMS implementation). Showing live demo or/and letting them click-through the solution should work well in order to make them comfortable with a new tool. "Seeing is believing" and in many cases it works better than dry numbers and boring Power Point presentations.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 11:32 AM - #Permalink
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    Agree with Neil but it's more deep rooted than just technology ignorance. BPM isn't shiny. Manage processes ? *yawn* Trying to sell the value of BPM when all a CEO understands is a lot of spend for a bunch of process maps is hard. It's not even a necessary evil because they view it as unnecessary in comparison to shinier toys. For example trying to flog compliance based solution is difficult because you're selling an insurance package for something that might happen. They'll come a-knockin' only when the regulators finger them for a fine but good luck otherwise. So we educate as Neil suggests but the story has to change. Being more competitive through process management is yesterday's message, BPM won't give you all of those benefits you seek but in combination with the other shinier tools it will propel you to the front. Innovation isn't just another technical silo because it involves everything in the organization to achieve it; people, process and technology. Great people and shiny tech will just fall flat up against processes that aren't designed to take advantage of them. Great processes and shiny tech will just fall flat up against people who aren't willing to adapt. Great people and processes will just fall flat up against tarnished tech that isn't built to deliver. CEO's need to be taught that process has it's rightful place in the boardroom agenda, but as an industry we need to change the broken record to do it.
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    Tuesday, November 19 2013, 11:42 AM - #Permalink
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    Trouble is that gap between business and IT still exists. Most business people do value their people and how they work trouble is the IT systems were not designed to reflect how they work! So now all just have to live with the mess of legacy! So trust has to be established.. Operation C level execs are bemused by complexity of technology where simple business requirements become very complex. The analysts are in pockets of vendors and clarity is lacking so they do not waste time on the big picture for "IT". This is something not in their control and are certainly not going to be made to look ignorant when IT start the techie speak! They were conned by the promises of ERP and now see nothing but "cost" associated with IT. Interestingly recently a CEO and CFO saw how to build, using Adaptive Software, exactly as required in their language they looked at each other and said "why do it any other way"? Then they remembered "IT"! So articulation of how the technology works and quick build of their process in transparent manner will get their attention. BPM and good supporting Adaptive Software have a chance to change attitudes by showing how easy and quick it can be. However it needs IT to understand accepting the transition to a simpler delivery model with less work – and therein is the real challenge as already mentioned “what is in it for me”! Getting both to speak the same business BPM language will then see a focus from C level on the big picture for use of IT that puts people at work first. Another idea get C level to pick up on this forum much of which they will understand giving them hope!
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    Wednesday, November 20 2013, 02:11 AM - #Permalink
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    I think that the key sentence in that article is “The opportunities to improve company performance through digital transformation are clear, but the execution is difficult.” I already wrote that BPM has huge potentials for any enterprise, including for a fully-electronic way of working (http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2013/02/towards-paperless-or-digital-or-less.html). Factors that will simplify “execution of BPM” are the following: - A coherent message to the business from BPM vendors and BPM experts - General maturity of the BPM industry (reference model, patterns, standards, etc.) - "What's in it for me?" practical drafts and cases - Architecture, of course Thanks, AS
    • David Chassels
      more than a month ago
      I think the "architecture" is a key to taking BPM as the driver to digital transformation. What I see is "system
      architects" designing new systems (UK Government in particular) and frankly it leads to failure with huge complexity and inevitable cost over runs. At the other extreme we have the overly simplified build of the web interfaces that looks good and friendly but it needs to be co-ordinated with all required business logic and back office support. I think business bosses and workers see this as a big issue and thus fail to get enthusiastic!

      So there is a need to have an "architecture" within the supporting BPM technology platform that can eliminate this traditional architecture challenge. It needs to be self contained and support the "adaptive" environment that can orchestrate any legacy/data as required by the user without relying on “legacy” architecture to deliver.

      We discovered the declarative architecture does this and whilst there are many other requirements this core architecture is the key to removing the huge complexity and is easily explained to business people removing probably the biggest fear and cynicism they have on "digital projects?
    • Dr Alexander Samarin
      more than a month ago
      @David,

      There are several ideas about such a platform in my blog, e.g. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2011/07/enterprise-patterns-caps.html

      Agree in general with declarative approach, e.g. business decisions are the best example of this approach. However, my experience shows that not everything should be declarative although the first results are quick and fantastic. I saw declarative solutions which are very difficult to maintain (they are too brittle).

      I would recommend using a mixture of declarative services (e.g decision), interpretive procedural services (e.g. BPMN, automation fragments) and compiled services (e.g. established procedures, maybe from COTS).

      Thanks,
      AS
    • David Chassels
      more than a month ago
      AS
      Our Declarative Architecture only used to set up the required application. Basically click a button and the configured pre-built tasks covering all business logic in "declared" from the Graphical Designer to a process engine that automatically set up in the database the whole configuration ready to run. At run time the engine interrogates these tables to decide who does what, when and how with supply of required information for the application. Declarative has no place in run time. Just to add to the architecture debate all tasks which cover all business logic are held in the database and a bit like a “SOA in a box” every thing orchestrated internally and externally as required. BPMN just not needed! Research here explains http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/object-model-development-engineering/78620

      It is extremely robust and of course change is quick with no code change, generation or compiling; just take a copy change and re-declare to process engine with version control. Early adopter running for 13 years with constant change; users love it!
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