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The importance of a Business Process Management strategy for CIOs and what they need to know about the BPM roadmap
BP Logix is the first software company to introduce the dimension of Time into business process management. BP Logix Process Director provides the infrastructure and business intelligence that enables business users to anticipate and predict potential problems in recurring business processes. BP Logix offers an on-premise and hosted model, providing users with the advanced capabilities they need to define, model, automate and track their business processes, resulting in greater efficiency across the organization. Customers include Abbott Labs, DuPont, IDEX, Johnson & Johnson, Leo Burnett USA, NEC Labs, NORESCO, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

In the following interview, E. Scott Menter, VP Business Solutions of BP Logix, Inc. discusses with Network Products Guide, editor-in-chief of Network Products Guide, the importance of a Business Process Management strategy for CIOs and what they need to know about the BPM roadmap.

Network Products Guide: How important is a Business Process Management strategy for CIOs today?

E. Scott Menter: Sometimes the best strategy is to repeat a successful tactic over and over again. CIOs would benefit from recognizing that BPM can grow organically across an enterprise, driven by business need, available budget, and technical maturity. The familiar top-down initiatives required to push CRM, ERP, and other big-ticket corporate solutions are unnecessary—even counterproductive - when it comes to BPM. By enabling business units to determine when they are ready for BPM (and then assisting them to adopt the technology), the CIO can keep costs contained and score some early victories. As a bonus, the business units moving into BPM will see the CIO as having been responsive and helpful at a critical moment.
Network Products Guide: How has Business Process Management changed over the years? What do CIOs need to know about the BPM roadmap?

E. Scott Menter: BPM can claim many ancestors, one of which is the time-and-motion research of the early 20th century. Since those long-ago days, time has remained a key metric for recurring processes, yet BPM technology has paid time scant attention. Sure, BPM is there if a deadline is looming (or you’ve already missed one), but that’s been about the extent of time-related BPM capabilities.

We should be able to do more. BPM has accumulated plenty of valuable information throughout the history of the execution of any given process; we’re missing a key benefit if we don’t leverage that data to help us predict the behavior of a running instance of that process. CIOs should look for BPM solutions that already offer time-driven benefits, with more on the horizon. For example, a solution today would be considered advanced if it simply notifies a process owner that a future activity is likely to run late. Going forward, however, BPM solutions will be able to exploit that knowledge further, for example through automated decisioning based on predicted time-based outcomes.
Network Products Guide: What is the biggest hurdle for companies looking at implementing BPM? How do the various solutions available really fit together?

E. Scott Menter: Let’s assume for the moment that the decision maker - whether in IT or the business - has managed to cut through the tangle of products claiming to offer “workflow” features; has teased apart the fine distinctions between BPM, case management, and related categories; and has worked out the differences between programmer-centric solutions like SharePoint and zero-programming solutions like Process Director. At that point, the implementer may feel ready to select a solution, but there may still be a road to travel before business users and IT come to understand and accept the fundamental change in power dynamics that can accompany BPM deployment.

BPM enables the business to control its own processes. Appropriately credentialed business users can change process behaviors by modifying the relevant business rules, because while such changes do require knowledge of the underlying business model, they do not require programming skills. On the other hand, IT still needs to exercise its proper governance role where appropriate, and of course the pressing urgency of regulatory compliance continues to loom over the whole arrangement. So while BPM empowers the business, it does not completely release IT, or compliance managers, or auditors, or indeed corporate senior management from their oversight responsibilities.

IT will also find itself in the role of leveraging BPM to integrate heretofore isolated ERP, HRIS, and CRM systems. The important thing about interoperability is not so much how BPM solutions fit together—though a given enterprise may well deploy multiple BPM products - but rather, how easily they facilitate that integration between corporate systems.

Network Products Guide: BP Logix (and customer NIMH) was recently awarded best technology implementation in the Network Products Guide 7th annual IT awards – it was an interesting case study with very clear ROI. How was this implementation similar to others? Is there a common thread amongst organizations and areas that benefit the most from optimizing processes?

E. Scott Menter: NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) is a great organization with a visionary leader, one who grew a small BPM implementation into a series of deployments addressing a broad swath of his Institute’s operational and regulatory challenges. NIMH has carefully selected which processes need the most attention, and has measured the ROI associated with each BPM project. As a result, it’s been able to garner support for more and more implementation efforts, to the point where NIMH has become the BPM leader within the National Institutes of Health. Many of the other 26 Institutes are ringing the CIO’s phone, seeking to emulate NIMH’s success.

NIMH succeeded because it took advantage of BPM’s ability to grow organically throughout an enterprise. The CIO identified a need and worked with the business to address it, and then leveraged that success into another, and another, and another. He avoided the complexity and cost of a top-down, “strategic” deployment, opting instead to merely knock down one challenge after another. And, he’s accomplished all of this in an era of constricting budgets and expanding regulatory demands.

To match NIMH’s achievements, CIOs should match its methods. Identify a need, measure the result, and build on each success. BPM, more than any other business technology, can deliver strategic value even when deployed tactically. If you find yourself writing a seven-figure check, you may be doing it wrong.

Download and read the National Institute of Mental Health case study now.

Company: BP Logix, Inc.
410 S. Melrose Dr., Suite 100,
Vista CA 92081 U.S.A.

Founded in: 1995
CEO: Jay O’Brien
Products and Services: BPM software and related services

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