Thursday, 26 June 2008

CIO tools for Business Process Management (BPM) systems

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Business process management (BPM) is an approach that focuses on optimizing processes to help make the enterprise more effective and efficient. Adopting a BPM outlook can be difficult for organizations that have typically focused on the data, however, rather than the processes. CIOs can learn how to incorporate BPM into their IT departments with the news and tips in this Executive Guide. This article is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics.

1. BPM's future: Dynamic services, not pre-canned logic
Companies that did not use the Y2K deadline to get a grip on the morass of redundant, unconnected, surreptitious applications that run their businesses might want to start now. According to Gartner, the frenzy in the business application market over the next three years will equal or surpass that of Y2K. The role of business applications is going to change significantly, and business process management plays a very important role in how you make the right decisions long term in applications.
2. Business process management: Avoiding the pitfalls
Process improvement touches many parts of an organization - from infrastructure and business strategy to organizational redesign - which means missteps can abound. A panel of been-there, done-thats at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit in Las Vegas offered practical advice on how to avoid common risks. The highest correlation between BPM projects and failure is lack of support from top management, said a former CIO of the Center for Process Innovation at Georgia State University in Atlanta. "Fundamentally, people hate change," he said, citing findings based on three decades of systems development research. "What you need to offset this is continuous, visible, top-level management support, not just a rah-rah speech at the beginning of the project, never to be heard again," he said.
3. BPM focus shifts to people, change
It's not your daddy's BPM. A new economic reality is forcing some companies to look more broadly at their business processes and move from a "build-to-last" approach toward designing business processes that are built for change. That was one of the take-home messages in the opening keynote at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, where some 1,000 business and IT leaders from 30 countries can sample the slot machines along with the latest offerings from the likes of IBM, Oracle, BEA Systems Inc., Lombardi Software Inc. and Savvion Inc. When it comes to business processes, "People are again taking center stage," said keynote speaker Janelle Hill. Today, BPM initiatives need to look at enhancing human activity, not eliminating it, Hill said. In a knowledge economy, people are the power and, more than ever, she said, they affect business outcomes.
4. BP decisions require executive involvement
Business process changes should be made with the collaboration of IT, line managers and the executive team -- as any of these types of changes can affect the company's strategy. However, many executives today don't realize the importance of partnering with IT in business process planning.
Who says IT doesn't matter?
A few years ago, The Harvard Business Review published an article suggesting that IT was no longer strategic. IT was now ubiquitous, the article argued, and every company has access to such technology. IT, therefore, could not be a competitive differentiator. Executives shouldn't waste time on IT, just leave the work to IT professionals, the article went on to argue. Several of us who work in the area of IT management and strategy shouted "Wrong!" because it was dangerous advice. IT is more strategic than ever. It is the ubiquity of information technology that now allows a company to change its business processes, radically.
5. BPO can be key for survival, say CIOs
Outsourcing business processes that are an integral part of a company is rarely well received by the rank and file for obvious reasons: job insecurity, threat of lower wages and the risks that go along with handing key aspects of your day-to-day business to outsiders. However, two technology executives who have been there and done just that - outsourced core business processes - say attitudes can and do change when a company is fighting for its life.

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