Why BPM Lags Behind
Blog: Process is the Main Thing - Anatoly Belychook
This is yet another attempt to answer the damned question about BPM: why, albeit being successful in so many projects, it never matched the analysts’ growth predictions and still haven’t become mainstream?
There must be something wrong deep in the core. It can’t be just prospects’ ignorance, non-perfect software products or greedy consultants. Nobody would say that BPM methodology is inadequate or unusable (well, except ACM proponents but their voices aren’t loud nowadays).
I blogged on the matter already… well, it was 8 years away: 10 Reasons Why BPM Market Doesn’t Meet The Expectations. It wasn’t a final explanation obviously – 10 answers means one doesn’t have the killing answer.
What turned me back to the matter is a thought that I’ve read recently. It was about the real value delivered by a good business consultant. It’s not a specific business receipt or advice; ultimately, it’s about making complex business issues simple.
Now what do we BPM professionals offer in this respect, do we simplify business issues? I’m afraid not.
BPM software isn’t an issue here (IT people love complex toys) but we proudly bring a full-blown discipline, we suggest extensive training programs and introduce new roles to the organization. We create process diagrams. They turned out to be rather complex but we rightfully assure that they are as complex as business is – no more, no less.
This is all true, but… does it make a customer happy? Well, it does – those who are paranoid to do more with less, be more efficient today than yesterday etc. Are they majority of business leaders? I don’t know the big picture but for the selection that I observe the answer is negative.
And what is decision maker’s best alternative? Sweeping garbage under the carpet: keep it as-is, more or less. Imitate a BPM initative by purchasing BPMS software is OK but pulling out business processes from employee’s brains and making them explicit is way too hard, creates too much tension on the way and too much complexity at the end.
Indeed, implicit processes have numerous hidden weak points and hence are less effective, less efficient and way less agile… but who cares, as soon as the majority of organizations around operate this way. See no evil, hear no evil. Not that efficient but simple and manageable from C-level perspective.
Current Digital Transformation trend should break this modus operandi because digital business models implies digital business processes. So hiding processes complexity by delegating them to performers shouldn’t be an option any more.