Is BPM A Dirty Word?

Craig Reid

It has become increasingly popular these days to bash BPM and, in particular, to propose that BPM is dead. Whilst not wishing to sit in my glass house and throw stones I don't think that BPM is dead. It does, however have a major image problem.

Part of the problem is that for want of a better reason we've given it a name -BPM. What do you mean? I hear you cry...well BPM isn't really about BPM is it?

It's about what BPM achieves that is the important thing. Managing processes for the sake of managing processes isn't what it's about - it's all about making businesses make more money at the end of the day (unless you are public sector or charity, of course). But making money requires looking after customers and looking after costs which is where our old friend BPM comes in.

Do we make BPM overly complex?

The problem with a three-letter acronym comes with the association that every three-letter acronym requires an IT solution and a six-figure software package. BPM or whatever we decide to call it next doesn't have to be so complicated that we have to spend millions on software solutions. Don't get me wrong I am not knocking IT completely, just saying that there are simpler and more flexible ways to get started without shelling out your hard-earned company dollars. Start simple, prove the concepts, get some quick wins on the table THEN sell the six-figure software solution to your company!

So whilst BPM may be starting to become a dirty word to some, it's really an irrelevant discussion as BPM to all extents and purposes is just about doing business and doing it well. The names will change but essentially the overall concepts will remain the same.

So what I'd like to suggest is that while the process academics waste their time arguing over what to call BPM next you should be quietly getting those post-it notes, brown paper and highlighters out. It's time to get back to basics and prove what we're doing can be both simple and effective.


First published on Reprinted with permission.