From an Adam Deane posting…
BPM, at its core, has nothing to do with software. NOTHING. We all (usually) color our understanding of and conversations about BPM in the light of a particular vendor’s software implementation of BPM (and even more by the applications we’ve built on these platforms).
BPM is a management approach that looks at an organization or federation of organizations holistically as a set of business processes — not their implementation in a software system, but as a logically organized set of interactions between humans, systems, and external parties that individually and jointly make up the “things” that organization does. Key to this management philosophy is the measurement of business and process metrics that provide insight into how well the organization is “working.” The software is simply a means to an end — a tool to ensure that once the processes are understood, they are followed; that the required performance metrics are captured and available to the right people at the right time. (Actually, in that light, it might be even more useful to think of BPM as a tool used in monitoring and managing an organization, rather than a “management approach”.)
I agree with Adam – A large number of people look at BPM through the prism of software offerings – maybe even a majority.
Business Process Management
For years, I have been saying that BPM is about managing business processes, ‘not their implementation in a software system’. Given my definition, your company can implement BPM without software. This kind of implementation will be paper driven and a person will need to monitor the process and the work being accomplished within the steps of the process.
1) BPM software cannot be implemented unless you ‘document’ your process on paper. BPM software needs to be ‘configured’ to function the way you want it to function so you have to know how to ‘configure’ it.
2) BPM software is about control and visibility. It provides ‘control’ – the process cannot move from step 1 to step 2 unless the business rules are followed. It provides ‘visibility’ so that people in the process can see that step 1 is complete and someone is working on step 2.
Even though a company doesn’t have BPM software, it is likely that they are ‘loosely’ managing at least one process in their company. By ‘loosely’, I mean that they may not even have anything written.
Has your company moved beyond ‘loosely’ managing their processes?