Many Companies Have No Clear Leader for BPM Strategy


So, business process management is the top priority for companies identified as the most innovative by InformationWeek, as IT Business Edge blogger Dennis Byron noted earlier this week.


Apparently lots of more average companies are not following their lead. According to AIIM, an organization that focuses on BPM and enterprise content management, 57 percent of the 300 companies it surveyed recently do not designate a specific group as responsible for BPM initiatives. Instead, the responsibility is typically shared among IT, finance and operations, among other areas.


The good news is, most of the respondents seem to recognize this is an issue, judging by the 87 percent who say that clear ownership of a process is necessary for effective BPM. The spread of BPM from manufacturing to knowledge industries "has been a long, slow journey," says AIIM VP Carl Frappaolo, and one that many companies have not yet begun.


Those are the only details revealed in an ebizQ blurb about AIIM's more exhaustive research, which will be the subject of a free Webinar on Sept. 26. Follow links to a registration page if you want to attend the Webinar and another if you wish to receive the full report when it's published next month.


One of the best arguments for BPM I've ever heard was made by Kiran Garimella, author of "The Power of Process: Unleashing the Source of Competitive Advantage," in an IT Business Edge interview. (His comments are nearly two years old, but still relevant.)


BPM helps companies shift their focus from administration to innovation, smooth relations between the business and IT and improve their track records on project success by providing "a clean segue" from business requirements to business specifications, said Garimella. He explained:

By using the principles of process management, one can implement a strong communication model between business analysts, quality experts and subject matter experts from the business. In so doing, the time taken to capture and analyze requirements, which may be about 40 percent of the total project time, decreases significantly. Next, BPM further reduces the project cycle time by allowing the business users themselves to configure and manage their applications, without direct IT support. This cuts down the traditional systems development time. In many cases, business activity monitoring provides an immediate real-time monitoring and decisioning capability. IT is then seen as very responsive, business-savvy and having the same sense of urgency as the business.

BPM's cross-functional nature, which Garimella describes so well in his interview, is likely a big part of the reason that many companies apparently find it difficult to assign ownership of BPM to a single group. As I wrote earlier this year, there's a longstanding debate about whether IT or the business is best suited to lead process improvement efforts. (It can get pretty contentious, as evidenced by my post.)