BPM Gives the Business a Technical Role in Process Improvement

BPM Gives the Business a Technical Role in Process Improvement

Posted on February 23, 2010 0 Comments
Please Note: OpenEdge Business Process Management (BPM) has been retired. For information on OpenEdge, visit our Progress OpenEdge Application Development page.

Do you think that's a good thing?

I’m trying to get up to speed on Business Process Management (BPM) - in case you missed it, Progress Software acquired Savvion in January – and I'm really embracing the part of BPM that gives the business a technical role in process improvement.

One of first Savvion resources I read was the interview-style paper, The Benefits of Adopting SOA and BPM, and the first thing that made me go “yeah!” was:

“The key to understanding the significance of BPM is to understand the significance of the most critical element of businesses, the people. Regardless of the role people play in the business, they care passionately about what they do and how they do it. They also care about improving the way they do their work. Because the people are involved in how processes are executed, it is important to enable them to perform their work easily and effectively by delivering the right information to them at the right time.”

In this quote, I think "the people" are the business because they are usually the closest to the business process. Early in my career with Progress, I worked on projects with IT to deploy various web functionality, including single-sign on, lead flow into our CRM, and launches of two CMS’s. When I first started, IT owned practically every process and you had to work through them to get even the smallest change made to the website. I recall working on the single-sign system and feeling very frustrated because they’d say, “you don’t need to worry about that” when I asked questions about how the flow, or visitor experience, would work. I came back to them with a Visio flowchart of how I thought it should work and the jaws dropped – they were either stunned that someone from the business wanted to be involved, or they were thinking “who the hell does she think she is.” (Personally, I think it was the latter.) In any event, we ended up working on that diagram together for a month or two and outcome was a great functional spec that we could refer to throughout the development process, and beyond. Out of that experience came my intense respect for the role of IT, but also the importance of “the business” being involved. I know that BPM is not just about aligning IT with business owners but today... it is the key point that made me think "that's cool.”

As I continue to read and reflect on my experiences, I am interested in who actually presents the idea of applying BPM to their existing enterprise infrastructure. Is it IT, perhaps a CIO? Or, is it the business, perhaps a CFO? Whoever decides, in my opinion, bringing the business (the people who know what they want and need) and IT (the people who know what technologies can help) together is a really good thing. And if it works, I’m confident that companies will reap the rewards of operational innovation, efficiency, and a greater return on their investments.


Pam Gazley

View all posts from Pam Gazley on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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