Business process management (BPM) can help companies achieve major efficiency gains by streamlining and automating key business processes. But it's not a panacea, experts caution.
As the author of this CIOUpdate article points out:
The first rule of any technology is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second rule is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
She suggests that the chances of BPM success are boosted by two key developments: the growth of service-oriented architecture and the use of simulation to evaluate the impact of process changes and new processes in a test environment.
Slow and steady appears to be the key to successfully implementing BPM, based on the experiences of insurers Chubb Commercial Insurance and Beneficial Financial Group detailed in this Optimize article. AN IBM executive quoted in the piece says a slow approach may help smooth the way with employees uncomfortable with the idea of automating processes. BPM is as much about change management, as it is anything else.
Though successfully implementing BPM can be a delicate exercise, that doesn't appear to be dampening companies' enthusiasm for it. Gartner predicts that the market for BPM suites will seea CAGR of 24 percent between now and 2011. The firm predicts that big players like IBM, SAP and Oracle will beef up their BPM capabilities by acquiring BPM pureplays.
Like many others, Gartner says that SOA and BPM are natural partners. SOA makes BPM easier to execute. And BPM helps make a compelling business case for SOA. Forrester Research is even trying to coin an unwieldy name for the BPM/SOA combination, integration-centric business process management suites, or IC-BPMS.