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Bottoms up!

Your business has a problem. Customer service inquiries are slipping through the cracks, leading to complaints. Worse, the unhappy customers have taken to social media to share their experiences, threatening new business.

As the guy in charge of service, you have two choices: fix this, or start rehearsing the phrase would you like fries with that? You’ve heard whispers about an IT-driven project that might help, so you call the CIO, who tells you about the BPM rollout she’s been planning for months. And, good news! Once the architecture committee has approved the plans—which will definitely be by the end of next quarter—your group is third on the list! With any luck, you’ll have a solution by mid next year, latest. Or the end of next year, but that’s definitely worst-case.

Oh dear. By then, you’re going to be wearing a paper hat and a polyester shirt, so it’s pretty obvious that the corporate top-down BPM roll-out isn’t going to be an option for you. In desperation, you reach for the keyboard and Google around for BPM. You discover that a number of vendors offer BPM in the cloud—could that be a shortcut to solving your problem?

Fast-forward four months. IT’s BPM RFQ is in its final evaluation round: they’re down to seven vendors. Meanwhile, your department’s cloud-based BPM customer inquiry application is up and running. In the first 30 days, complaints have dropped by 80%, and negative mentions of your company on Twitter have also fallen off. Your boss has started hinting around about a raise; even your wife has mentioned that you seem different, somehow—younger-looking, even.

Of course, word spreads about your success. Within a year, five departments have deployed cloud-based BPM solutions. The COO has chosen you to chair a committee looking at how these various solutions can be leveraged across the company. He hints at the possibility of additional stock options.

You have lunch with the CIO; apparently, the RFP is complete, and a vendor has been selected, but things have stalled in the negotiations phase. It seems that the CIO is having difficulty developing an ROI case for the $2 million price tag. “Maybe top-down wasn’t really the way to go with BPM,” she observes as the waiter arrives with your wine. You raise your glass. “Bottoms up!”

For some reason, the CIO doesn’t even smile.

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