A few months ago, I wrote about the growing need for business process professionals, observing that a lack of these skills keeps process improvement projects from scaling throughout a company, thus limiting business process management's positive business impact. I shared some fine advice from Forrester Research analyst and BPM expert Connie Moore, originally published in her Forrester blog, on how organizations could foster these skills.
One of her tips that I didn't share in my post was to encourage employees to take courses. Noting that IBM has worked with more than 100 universities worldwide to develop courses in BPM and related topics, she wrote that "these and other courses are available from business schools, engineering schools and community colleges." This approach is especially effective for organizations that want to systematically build skills on a large-scale basis, she said.
As further proof of the importance of BPM training, Moore's Forrester colleague Clay Richardson names it as one of his five key BPM trends for 2011. Writing on Information Management, Richardson says he's been researching the options for BPM certification programs and mentions one offered by the Association of BPM Professionals (ABPMP) that impressed him with the "depth and organization of the topics presented in the exam," calling it "an effective exam for validating for real-world BPM experience." He suggests these kinds of certification programs can help organizations address gaps in process skills.
Richardson's four other trends:
- A need for an emerging skill-set called "business architecture," which straddles the disciplines of enterprise architecture and process improvement. Business architects can come from either EA or BPM teams, writes Richardson.
- Synchronization of BPM with master data management initiatives. IT Business Edge colleague Loraine Lawson wrote about adding MDM capabilities to BPM software in October, citing opinions from Forrester analyst Rob Karel and BPM consultant Sandy Kemsley. BPM provider Software AG made a move in that direction by acquiring Data Foundation.
- Social BPM, a trend I wrote about myself, noting that vendors including Oracle, Metastorm and Pegasystems are adding collaborative capabilities to their BPM software. The addition of social tools to software should boost end-user adoption and buy-in, Richardson says. He advises organizations to look beyond process discovery and analysis to create benefits for an even broader group of constituents, including customers, suppliers and front-line workers.
- Leaner BPM governance models, which Richardson says Forrester has found, are common in highly successful BPM initiatives. In these models organizations segment governance across centralized BPM centers of excellence and distributed BPM communities of practice, which he says "allows the centralized organization to focus on process transformation projects, while leaving lower-hanging fruit and quick-win opportunities to empowered process teams."