We are running another mini-quiz on www.bptrends.com at the moment. As usual, we have only had 14 respondents, so the numbers are hardly valid, although they largely mirror the results we got in last falls survey, which reflect hundreds of respondents. We suggested a number of groups with an organization who might be undertaking process improvement work. We combined each group with a motive, which are broken into three broad categories – broad business improvements, business rules or decision management and automation-focused improvements. Here’s the results to date.
Groups Focused on Automation … 12 votes
BPM is done by our IT people and their goal is to automate specific subprocesses. (36%, 5 Votes)
BPM is done by business analysts. Their goal is to define requirements that IT can use to automate a subprocess. (50%, 7 Votes)
Groups Focused on Broader Process Changes … 41 votes
BPM is done by our IT people (process analysts or simply software developers) and their goal is to improve specific processes using all means necessary. (36%, 5 Votes)
BPM is done by business analysts. Their goal is to improve or fix specific processes and they use all means necessary. (64%, 9 Votes)
BPM is done by employees working on a specific process. Our sales people are working to incrementally improve our sales process. (71%, 10 Votes)
BPM is done by middle managers. Their goal is to fix a specific problem or process – e.g. to get our sales process to be as cost-effective as the competition. (36%, 5 Votes)
BPM is done by business executives. Their goal is to fix a specific problem or process – e.g. to get our sales process to be as cost-effective as the competition. (21%, 3 Votes)
Focus on Business Rules/Decision Management … 0 votes.
To date, the overwhelming number of respondents have indicated that business and IT people are working on process change that is business focused, and not IT or rule focused. The greatest number say that BPM is done by employees working on a specific process. This may reflect the readership of BPTrends, or, given the small number of respondents, it may just reflect who has bothered to take the quiz to date. As I suggested, however, it does reflect the results on our larger bi-annual survey, which may, again, reflect the type of respondents that BPTrends draws. The larger message, however, is captured by the large number of different groups who received at least 5 votes. I am constantly asked about the nature of the BPM market, and I always respond that it’s a very hard question to answer. Organizations are pursuing process change in many different ways.
In most organizations, there are multiple groups pursuing process change at the same time. Most large organizations, for example, have IT process groups, Lean or Six Sigma groups, and BPM groups, all operating independent of each other. It’s hard to determine who to talk with when you arrive at an organization to promote process change. It’s hard to determine who to align with, internally, when you decide you want to try to effect a process change within an organization. In part this reflects the diversity of process management efforts and in part it reflects the inconsistent way that business executives think about processes. It certainly gets reflected in conversations about process change when different participants offer different definitions, assume different technologies, and support different goals for process efforts.