Business process management (BPM)-focused vendors are entering the race to help businesses at multiple levels, and BPM is delivering both short-term return on investment (ROIROI) and long-term value. We are seeing BPM embedded in nearly every package solution and many horizontal technology offerings today. Many BPM pilot projects have evolved into more-impressive solutions, with positive case studies abounding. An example is the reduction of cost of claims processing by 20 percent in a property and casualty insurance company, with the claims processing requiring just one-third the time. Although the example is in the insurance industry, where BPM is strong, we are seeing uptake in use and benefits in the banking, finance, credit card, healthcare, pharmaceutical, government and discrete manufacturing industry sectors as well. Alles zu ROI auf CIO.de
Enterprises are encouraged to look at the long-term value as well as the short-term benefits of BPM. Early results are encouraging, and we suspect that more projects will move from the planning mode to the savings mode in less than 180 days. In fact, there are vendors that certify benefit potentials early and guarantee benefits after a paid competitive analysis. In addition, we are seeing the benefits of BPM being extended in quality programs like Six Sigma (a public method made famous by General Electric).
Besides the normal ROI and value on investment (VOI) that drive BPM, there is another major factor: compliance. A case in point is the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that requires that the business processes be certified to produce financial reports as well as certifying the reports themselves. This affects the processes that deal with money that eventually end up in accounting reports.
However compelling the benefits are, we "put the cart before the horse" in talking about the benefits before we tackle the definition. At the business level, BPM is the management of explicit processes from beginning to end. These processes generally contain a long-running set of business activities such as those required to underwrite a policy or deliver an order under varying numbers of business scenarios. The technology definition is another story. Because BPM has multiple uses, from simple personal flow to deep system-to-system flow under performance constraints, it is hard to find a common definition, much less one technology market ready to handle all the needs. Although most enterprises will have multiple installations of BPM in various forms, the key is to try to categorize and guide the acquisition of yet another instantiation of BPM when it is justified.
Where Is BPM Going in the Business?
Because BPM delivers solid ROI and both short-term and long-term VOI, we expect the business to gravitate to its use, and we expect process optimization to become a habit in many enterprises, driven by compliance acts and quality initiatives such as Six Sigma projects. In addition, we anticipate that many enterprises will use streamlined processes as a competitive weapon in the marketplace. All of these efforts require an alignment among business professionals such as we have not seen since the inception of computing in corporations in the mid-to-late 1960s.