8 Business Process Management (BPM) training providers

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Trying to select a BPM training provider? The options can be a little overwhelming and it’s crucial that you select a program that gives you a good grounding in the skills you need to run BPM projects. But with a plethora of training programs on offer and a bewildering array of curricula – how can you determine which one is right for you?

Theo Priestly, an outspoken blogger and consultant, is critical of some BPM certification programs on the market because he says so much of the discipline is learning by experience. He also warns that you need to select your BPM training provider carefully because there are many that will take your money and on "half-baked guru training courses."

There are a number of different types of providers on the market. These include non-profit industry bodies (such as Object Management Group and Association of Business Process Management Professionals), software vendors (such as Oracle, IBM and TIBCO), consultants (such as Bruce Silver’s BPM Essentials) and many universities.

Which type of provider you go with will vary according to what you want to get out of the training and how you want to learn. Professional bodies and consultants - of which our list below is composed - tend to offer compact training options (one week or less) and online learning, which may appeal to professionals who want to up the ante on their skills but can’t give up the day job while doing it.

Professional bodies and consultants may tend to give a more global view of BPM that isn’t locked into a specific technology providing you with a well-rounded picture of what it takes to make BPM successful.

Meanwhile, training provided by the software vendors could be appropriate for those who are looking to develop their skills in a particular application or development environment. Vendors like TIBCO, IBM, and Oracle offer BPM training programs but do be aware that there will likely be inherent bias in their curriculum towards process automation and even the vendor’s own software.

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Universities, on the other hand, could be a good option for those looking for a more intensive program in Business Process Management. The risk with university programs is that they might be more academic than the average process professional requires.

Finally, it’s useful to make a distinction between those who gear BPM training towards the technically minded (focusing on things like process notation and standards) versus those who view it as a business management discipline (and therefore offer more comprehensive training). Which is right for you, of course, will vary on your job role within your company.

Here’s a list of 8 of the better known BPM training providers:

#1: Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP)

Website: http://www.abpmp.org/

ABPMP is a non-profit membership-based organization for BPM professionals. They maintain a BPM "body of knowledge" which tries to formalize the type of knowledge that is generally accepted as best practice. They bill their Certified Process Professional program as the first "independent, practitioner-oriented, international professional certification in Business Process Management."

The course has minimum entrance requirements including 4 years professional experience which includes process management, improvement or transformation.

Forrester Research analyst Clay Richardson offered up this assessment of ABPMP’s training program: "While the program isn't perfect […] we recommend that business process pros seriously consider it for benchmarking process skills gaps and defining realistic road maps for BPM skills development."

#2: Object Management Group (OMG) BPM Certification

Website: http://www.omg.org/oceb/

OMG is a non-profit industry standards organization that has developed and maintains the BPMN modeling standard (the notation used to describe processes visually). OMG offers five different tracks for BPM certification ranging from a basic level through to advanced. OMG breaks their training down into two streams effectively – those geared to professionals who sit more on the business side and those who sit on the IT side. Overall their training appears to be generally well recognized as a rigorous certification with appropriate skills learned. They do maintain the BPMN standard after all!

#3: BP Trends

Website: http://www.bptrendsassociates.com/training.php?s=professional

BP Trends is a BPM Training and consulting organization that has been around for ages. They offer a range of training courses from 1 day to several starting right with basics with their "The principles of Business Process Management" course. The claim to fame of their Business Process Management Professional Certificate is that it is aligned with and endorsed by the International Association of Business Analysis (IABA).

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#4: AIIM

Website: http://www.aiim.org/Training/Certificate-Courses/BPM/Overview

The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) is a global, non-profit organization offering training and certification in a wide variety of disciplines. Their Business Process Management training program offers three levels of designation: Practitioner, Specialist, and Master. The courses range from 1-4 days in length and are also available online.

#5: BPM Essentials

Website: http://www.bpmessentials.com/

Run by Bruce Silver, a well known industry consultant and blogger (one of the authors of BPMN), BPM Essentials provides both online and offline training covering skills such as process modeling with BPMN, starting and organizing a BPM project, analysis and redesign for process improvement, and business decision modeling. The offline training typically runs for 2 days while the online training can be either delivered live at a scheduled time or is available on demand.

#6: BPM Institute

Website: http://www.bpminstitute.org/about

BPM Institute is a US-based training and events community. Their BPM training program offers both online and face to face training in BPM – their BPM Certificate of Training is given upon completion of an eight-course, sixteen-credit program that’s delivered either online or face-to-face. They have a useful flow chart that they call the Learning Paths that helps potential students determine which stream would be most appropriate to them (based on job title).

#7: BP Group

Website: http://www.bizchange.com/

BP Group CEO Steve Towers' Certified Process Professional (CPP) training program approaches BPM a little bit differently from many of the other providers. His approach covers what he calls the "Outside In" methodology, which looks at how process can help a business achieve "successful customer outcomes" through process improvement and management. The training offers several levels of certification (levels 1-5) and is delivered live over a period of several days. It also has online resources associated with it. (Disclaimer: Steve Tower’s CPP training is also offered as an add-on at several PEX Network events).

In comparison with some other training programs that focus quite heavily on the technical side of process management, the BP Group hones in on how to use the BPM toolset to improve results for the customer. Thus, it would be less suited to those looking for certification in the technological side of BPM.

#8: Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC)

Website: http://www.wfmc.org/training.html

The Workflow Management Coalition, a network of developers, consultants and academics, maintains process related standards such as Wf-XML and XPDL (process definition languages used many software solutions to store and exchange process models). Their "BPM in Practice: Understanding and Implementing Workflow and Business Process Management" training is an intensive full-day seminar on BPM where participants learn Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and XML Process Definition Language (XPDL) as well as Business Process Execution Language (BPEL).

The WfMC BPM in Practice training appears to be heavily IT focused but could be a good crash course if you just want to familiarize yourself with some of the BPM standards.

What do you think? What training program have you taken and how useful did you find it? Are there any other providers that you think should be included?