BPM has been hanging around with some has-beens – and they are tainting it with their brand. Who wants to be seen hanging around with the Godfather, Frankenstein, Batman and the Beckhams?
Let me describe them…
1. The Godfather
IBM prides itself on making people an offer they cannot refuse, whatever their IT need. Oracle and SAP do the same - end to end, top to bottom, one suite fits all. The wheels are falling off their bandwagon. Evidence is mounting that they hold companies back, rather than enable them. Even they realise it. They are moving on – to become customer-centric, cloudy, app-style companies. Leaving BPM behind. BPM is tied to their apron strings. But they’ve lost interest. Where does that leave BPM?
For decades they’ve worked on rearranging the body parts of companies. Just sign your soul over to us, and you will have redemption from waste. Cut out all those pesky employees. We can make you Lean, they cry. BPM should have vanquished these guys years ago, but they hang around as undead.
When you have a problem, just call Batman and he will swoop down and fix it in an instant. That quick fix project mentality ignores the greatest strength of BPM – the constant stream of data which gives real intelligence and predicts what you need to change next.
4. The Beckhams
Reassuringly expensive may work for a lager, but CEOs don’t like writing blank cheques. The “If you need to know the price, you can’t afford it” doesn’t work with them and having armies of BPM consultants earning more than the in-house IT guys doesn’t go down well either.
Hanging round with these guys is killing BPM. So much for the danger – where’s the opportunity?
BPM needs to…
1. Get back in the limelight
E-commerce has made customer journeys the sexy new imperative for companies. Luckily it is just what BPM does. And unlike a website, it can do it for web, contact centre and in store, creating a unified customer experience. “Good Processes make Business Social” is the future and the wave is there, now.
2. Be more than just cost cutting
Process is about pleasing customers. Making life easy for staff. Delivering real-time intelligence. And unifying systems across countries and all types of operations. So why is it being sold on cost-reduction?
3. Move away from projects
What separates BPM from old process improvement projects is that the software delivers data – oceans of it. So you don’t need a guru to get it right first time. BPM and Lean Startup are natural bedfellows – creating a minimum viable product then helping people to continually improve it. BPM can be the business’s future proofing, evolving processes to match changing demand.
4. Be transparent and fair on price
I used to bring in nice simple problems which BPM could solve in an instant – a few days anyway. But IBM would take 3 days to give us a license quotation full of CPUs, servers and versions. You could never get a straight answer. Then my boss would add people days, our phone number and multiply it by his shoe size. Suddenly 50k became half a million and the client walked away forever, blaming BPM.
Most processes are remarkably standard and BPM makes it easy to change stuff, link in data sources etc. We need to template and simplify until customers can do it themselves. Move from making big money from a few customers to making less money, regularly or continuously, from lots more people.