“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is the inability to understand the exponential function.” (Dr. Albert Bartlett)
Economic shocks resulting from financial crises, caused in part by derivative speculations, have created strong arguments for justifying BPM initiatives, which can provide leaner and more productive, flexible and efficient operations.
Comprehensive BPMS's enable for constantly improved process solutions, covering, especially in human centric environments, where complex challenges like dynamic rules and routing, process and workflow mapping, to name just two, exist.
Could such a case be made for the ecological side of the “BPM benefits coin”?
Natural disasters seem to be occurring evermore frequently and suggest a probable correlation between ecological (im)balance and additional impacts on the already stressed global economy. According to Forbes, Hurricane Sandy's price tag has been estimated at a very substantial USD +20 billion.
Emergency funds dedicated to recovery from such disasters in the future will eventually be passed on to the impacted companies and ultimately to the consumer. The exponential increase in the price and demand of energy resulting from a steadily decreasing discovery and production of its current main source (see Colin Campbell’s depletion model) result in speculation, distribution restrictions and the shift to alternate energy sources. These factors will necessitate an additional price to pay by the energy companies as well as their customers.
Now, how can BPM help? To a certain extent, it may already be doing so. A successful BPM implementation that covers a human centric process, which in turn is mission critical to a corporation, can produce perceivable ecological benefits in a significantly reduced carbon footprint as a result of reduced electric energy, paper and gasoline consumption for instance.
These ecological savings become increasingly relative to economical savings for the BPM oriented company. In that sense there seems to be a real potential for conscious process and BPM platform improvements that dynamically and pro-actively track those economic/ecological indicators, allowing for them as well continued improvements.
Laura Mooney in her e-booklet “Green BPM” summarizes the main benefits of such an initiative in 3 areas– paper reduction, fuel reduction and the increased efficiency of manufacturing and supply chain processes. In his paper “Green BPM: Processes with a Conscience,” Jim Sinur underscores the economic benefit of reducing our carbon footprint.
Monitoring the ecological variables of business processes as economic output influencers, and as a native and integral part of the coming generation of BPMS, may be a viable next step for future process enhancements.