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BPM and the CIO’s Dilemma

Mike Gammage took a close look at IBM’s latest study of 3,000 CIOs from around the world and noticed something about their commitment to business process management: It’s not as strong as it was before — down by four percentage points.

A statistical fluke? Often, variations in data from year to year need to exceed at least five percentage points or so to be considered a statistically significant change. Or is there something else afoot?  CIOs are actually heavily committed to process improvements, Mike observes:

“In leading organizations 99% of CIOs say they would personally lead initiatives to simplify process. So process is on pretty much every CIO’s agenda, and in many cases it’s even a personal involvement.   And yet – the study reports that CIOs do not see Business Process Management as their highest priority. In fact, BPM has slipped back as a priority – from 64% to 60% – since the last CIO Study in 2009. Which doesn’t seem to stack up – unless you read it as a sign of how canny CIOs can be.”

Canniness indeed. What’s at issue, Mike says, is the business isn’t buying into IT’s version of BPM — it often will simply go its own way, with its own tools, such as Visio. 

Once again, we see examples of the disconnect between IT and the business — as well as between the IT and the BPM teams in action.  BPM has to be brought home to solving real business problems, not throwing a bunch of technology over the wall and hoping it will help somebody.  As Mike puts it: “The breakthrough comes when BPM is extended to become an holistic view of the enterprise, not just what’s automated.”

So true, so true.

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