Blogger: JP Morgenthal
When I ask customers who in the organization is responsible for leading their organization's BPM initiative, the answer is often IT. There are many reasons for this response, but the main reason is that a large number of organizations focus on BPM from a tools perspective.
The correct answer to the question posed in the title is there is no correct answer; it's different for each organization. However, all to often, the requirement to modify, build or buy systems in response to business process improvement, ingrains IT in way that limits the business from fully owning the aspects of BPM that need to be governed by the business.
This is a thorny issue that I am hoping I will have time to address more fully in an upcoming report, but just thought I'd jog down a quick blog entry that discusses ownership roles within my five-step plan for BPM, which are: 1) baseline, 2) document, 3) analyze, 4) model, and 5) implement. Within this five step plan there's a set of shared responsibilities across IT and business, including tool selection. Indeed, there's different tools that will be used at each one of these steps and one vendor may not be the right supplier for each step.
BPM success is predicated on the fact that organizations recognize that the business process is itself a business object. It is not a facet of the business that is managed independently, but is a coordinated effort of people and machines. Moreover, the two most important aspect of BPM to remember are: a) The most straightforward and simple approach is often the most effective and b) sometimes the current process, while awkward and inefficient, may be the best approach for the time being.
Hence, it is important for those engaging in a BPM initiative to remember, the tools are not the focus of the effort, but a means to an end. Treat the business process as an independent entity that requires the support of many business departments and work as a cross-functional team to ensure that the right expectations for the initiative are set and understood. Following these very basic suggestions can mean the difference between BPM success or failure.