Class Notes: Business Process Management Cases – Learning from Real-World Experience

While the body of knowledge on business process management has matured during the past decades (Dumas et al. 2013; vom Brocke, Rosemann 2015), few real-world cases are available that provide practical experiences from BPM projects. In a joint effort of colleagues both from practice and academia, a project has been launched to collect cases that bring together our collective experience in applying BPM in the real world, and the result of this effort has recently been published as the new book with the title “Business Process Management Cases: Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Practice” (vom Brocke, J, Mendling, J., 2018a).

In this Column, we report of on this initiative and outline the diversity of these cases as they span different sectors and address different objectives in BPM. We base our Column essentially on (vom Brocke, J., Mendling, J. (2018b), where more information on the cases can be found, as well as on the website: www.bpm-cases.com. We have received feedback that the cases provide a great piece of advice both for practitioners to use as a reference in their own work as well as to people interested in learning more about how to leverage BPM for both improvement and innovation.

Introduction

The intent of the BPM cases initiative has been to bring together the experience of organizations that have adopted BPM, and in this way to extend the body of knowledge on BPM. The focus is neither on academic case studies nor on offerings from consulting companies, but on lessons learned from adopting BPM in various organizations. That said, both academic institutions and consulting companies have been involved, at least in part, in the compilation of these cases.

Cases and case-based learning provide advantages over other approaches to facilitating learning (Srinivasan 2007). Cases offer a rich account of a specific situation, the actions taken, and the results achieved, which helps the reader to explore ambiguity and variation. Cases also help the reader to focus on what matters, as they are challenged to reflect on their assumptions. Cases are therefore an effective way to stimulate additional reading and research on the management of business processes.

Fig. 1: BPM Cases. Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Practice

Fig. 1: BPM Cases. Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Practice

The BPM cases initiative has been developed over the recent years. The idea to systematically collect cases emerged in 2014 when both authors together were appointed industry chairs of the International Conference on Business Process Management 2015 in Innsbruck. A first set of 15 cases were presented at the industry track at the conference in September 2015. In the following year, the papers describing these cases were revised, and a call of additional cases was published on international mailing lists with a deadline in April 2016. All case papers were thoroughly reviewed by an editorial board of 28 esteemed colleagues. Until January 2017, all case papers had passed two rounds of revisions and language editing, to the point that the manuscript could be handed over to the publisher. The last proofs were approved in July 2017. Finally, the book was published on 11 August 2017.

The BPM Cases Collection

Cases described according to a common structure

In order to make the case knowledge easily accessible and transferrable to other contexts, all cases follow a unified structure. Each of the cases is structured with an introduction, followed by descriptions of the situation faced, the actions taken, the results achieved, and the lessons learned.

  • Introduction: What is the story of the case? A brief narrative of the entire case informs readers by summarizing its key aspects.
  • Situation faced: What was the initial problem that led to the action taken? The context of the case is specified concerning needs, constraints, incidents, and objectives.
  • Action taken: What was done? What measures were undertaken, such as regarding process redesign or process innovation? What methods and approaches were used?
  • Results achieved: What effects resulted from the actions taken? Results could take the form of changes in performance measures and/or qualitative statements from employees, customers, and other business partners. To what degree were expectations met or not met?
  • Lessons learned: What did the organization learn from the case? What can others learn? Lessons learned are grounded in the case and serve as example for others.

An overview of cases and categories

The following cases have been collected for the book in the four categories–strategy and governance, method, information technology, and people and culture. These categories stem from the core elements of BPM (Rosemann, vom Brocke 2015). Eight of the thirty-one cases relate primarily to method and nine to IT, confirming that most companies focus on these two areas of capability when conducting BPM (Rosemann, vom Brocke 2015). However, four cases relate to the people-related aspects of BPM, one of BPM's core elements that often receives little attention (Müller et al. 2014). Five chapters contribute primarily to governance and three to strategic alignment. Since culture has only recently been recognized and conceptualized in the BPM body of knowledge (Schmiedel, vom Brocke, Recker 2012, 2015), only two of the cases focus primarily on issues relating to culture in BPM. In summary, each core element is addressed in multiple cases.

Part 1: Strategy and Governance

  1. Reisert, Zelt, Wacker: How to Move from Paper to Impact in Business Process Management. The Journey of SAP
  2. Blasini, Leist, Merkl: Developing and Implementing a Process-Performance Management System – Experiences from S-Y Systems Technologies Europe GmbH – a Global Automotive Supplier
  3. Czarnecki: Establishment of a Central Process Governance Organization Combined with Operational Process Improvements. Insights from a BPM Project at a leading Telecommunications Operator in the Middle East
  4. Kovačič, Hauc, Buh, Štemberger: BPM adoption and business transformation at Snaga, a public company – Critical Success Factors for five stages of BPM
  5. Kim, Weiss, Ruhsam, Czepa, Tran, Zdun: Enabling Flexibility of Business Processes Using Compliance Rules. The Case of Mobiliar
  6. Woliński, Bala: Comprehensive business process management at Siemens. Implementing Business Process Excellence
  7. Bandara, Syed, Ranathunga, Kulathilleka.: People-centric, ICT-enabled process innovations via community, public and private sector partner-ship, and e-Leadership: The case of the Dompe eHospital in Sri Lanka
  8. Viaene, Van den Bergh: Fast Fish Eat Slow Fish: Business Transformation at Autogrill

Part 2: Methods

  1. Rosemann: The NESTT – Rapid Process Redesign at Queensland University of Technology
  2. Van Looy, Rotthier: Kiss the documents! How the City of Ghent digitizes its service processes
  3. Cereja, Santoro, Gorbacheva, Matzner: Application of the Design Thinking Approach to Process Redesign at an Insurance Company in Brazil
  4. Karle, Teichenthaler: Collaborative BPM for Business Transformations in Telecommunications – The case of “3”
  5. Dallasega, Montali, Nutt, Reifer.: Process Management in Construction Expansion of the Bolzano Hospital
  6. Andrews, Wynn, ter Hofstede, Xu, Horton, Taylor, Plunkett-Cole : Exposing Insurance Claims Processing Impediments: Compulsory Third Party Insurance in Queensland
  7. Thaler, Norek, De Angelis, Maurer, Fettke, Loos: Mining the Usability of Process-Oriented Business Software – The Case of the ARIS Designer of Software AG
  8. Andrews, Suriadi, Wynn, ter Hofstede, Rothwell: Improving Patient Flows at St. Andrew's War Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department through Process Mining

Part 3: Information Technology

  1. Matzner, Plenter, Betzing, Chasin, von Hoffen, Löchte, Pritzl, Becker: CrowdStrom – Analysis, Design, and Implementa-tion of Processes for a Peer-to-Peer Service for Electric Vehicle Charging
  2. Duelli, Keller, Manderscheid, Manntz, Röglinger, Schmidt: Enabling Flexible Laboratory Processes – Designing the Laboratory Information System of the Future
  3. Rau, Rabener, Neumann, Bloching: Managing Environmental Protection processes via BPM at Deutsche Bahn
  4. Debois, Hildebrandt, Marquard, Slaats: Hybrid Process Technologies in the Financial Sector – The Case of BRFkredit
  5. Becker, Clever, Holler, Neumann: Business Process Management in the Manufacturing Industry. ERP replacement and ISO 9001 recertification supported by the icebricks method
  6. Schrepfer, Kunze, Obst, Siegeris: Why are process variants important in process monitoring? The Case of Zalando SE
  7. Leitz, Solti, Weinhard, Mendling: Adoption of RFID Technology – The Case of Ad-ler. A European Fashion Retail Company
  8. Suchy, Suchy, Rosik, Valkova: Automate Does Not Always Mean Optimize. Case Study at a Logistics Company
  9. Schindlbeck, Kleinschmidt: Integrate Your Partners into Your Business Processes Using Interactive Forms – The Case of Automotive Industry Company HEYCO

Part 4: People and Culture

  1. Kloppenburg, Kettenbohrer, Beimborn, Bögle: Leading 20,000+ employees with a process-oriented management system – Insights into process management at Lufthansa Technik Group
  2. Imgrund, Janiesch, Rosenkranz: “Simply Modeling” – BPM for Everybody – Recommendations from the Viral Adoption of BPM at 1&1
  3. Menges, Russack: Supporting process implementation with the help of tangible process models
  4. Krogstie, Heggset, Wesenberg: Business Process Modeling of a Quality System in a Petroleum Industry Company
  5. Bührig, Schoormann, Knackstedt: Business Process Management in German Institutions of Higher Education – The Case of Jade University of Applied Science
  6. Alves, Jatoba, Valença, Fraga: Exploring the Influence of Organizational Culture on BPM Success – The Experience of The Pernambuco Court of Accounts

Cases and Industry Sectors

The set of industry sectors to which the cases relate is highly diverse. The broad set of industries addressed includes nineteen industries, sorted by ISIC code (United Nations Statistics Division 2008):

  • 06: Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas
  • 27: Manufacture of electrical equipment
  • 28: Manufacture of machinery and equipment
  • 32: Other manufacturing
  • 35: Electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply
  • 36: Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery
  • 41: Construction of buildings
  • 47: Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • 49: Land transport and transport via pipelines
  • 51: Air transport
  • 56: Food and beverage service activities
  • 61: Telecommunications
  • 62: Computer programming, consultancy, and related activities
  • 64: Financial service activities, except insurance and pension funding
  • 65: Insurance, reinsurance, and pension funding, except compulsory social security
  • 82: Office administrative, office support, and other business support activities
  • 84: Public administration and defense; compulsory social security
  • 85: Education
  • 86: Human health activities

Cases and BPM Lifecycle Phases

The cases collected have also been positioned according to the BPM lifecycle phases (Dumas et al. 2013) they relate to primarily.

Fig. 2: BPM Cases and BPM Lifecycle Phases

Fig. 2: BPM Cases and BPM Lifecycle Phases

Eight of the cases report on process redesign, while seven are on process discovery, six address process implementation, five deal with process identification, three relate to process monitoring and controlling, and two focus on process analysis. The thorough coverage of the lifecycle phases addresses Recker and Mendling's (2016) observation of a gap in process redesign research, as the focus on process redesign demonstrates the innovative and transformative power of BPM, its role to leveraging digital innovation (Schmiedel, vom Brocke 2015), and the importance of process improvement in practice (Vanwersch et al. 2016).

Even though only two cases contribute primarily to process analysis, most of the cases include process analysis—for example, when they discuss process redesign—which shows that the case companies went beyond process analysis and did analysis as a means to an end, not as end in itself. These cases, then, help to advance the body of knowledge beyond what prior research on BPM has reported regarding organizations whose BPM initiatives have failed because they focused too much on analysis of processes and fell short in delivering business value through actual process improvement (vom Brocke et al. 2014).

Cases and the BPM Context Framework

Each BPM case has been precisely described regarding its relevant context. The BPM Context Framework (vom Brocke, Zelt, Schmiedel 2015, 2016) served as a joint language to describe this context, and figure 3 shows the great diversity of context covered.

Fig. 3: BPM Cases and BPM Context

Fig. 3: BPM Cases and BPM Context

Under the category of the goal dimension, twenty-three cases focus on exploitation scenarios, such as improvement of existing processes, while seven address exploration scenarios that seek novel ways of doing processes, and one case covers exploration and exploitation equally.

In the process dimension, most of the cases (22) focus on core processes (22), while eleven also deal with management processes and ten deal with support processes. Twenty-seven of the cases work on repetitive processes, and four tackle non-repetitive processes. The knowledge-intensity of processes is at a medium level in twenty cases, low in seven cases, and high in nine cases. Similarly, creativity is at a medium level in fifteen cases, a low level in fourteen cases, and high in six cases. Interdependence is at a medium level in nineteen cases, a low level in four cases and high in twelve cases, confirming that process work should be holistic in scope. Finally, variability is at a medium level in sixteen cases, a low level in eleven cases, and high in six cases.

As for the organizational dimension, twenty-five cases focus primarily on intra-organizational processes, while twelve address inter-organizational challenges. Twenty-two cases are from large organizations, ten are from small and medium-sized companies, and two are from start-ups. The culture in the case organizations has a medium level of support for BPM in twenty-two cases, is highly supportive in eight cases, and is non-supportive in three cases, documenting the emerging role of culture in BPM. Organizational resources spent on the cases are at a medium level in eighteen cases, a low level in nine cases, and high in five cases.

Regarding the environmental dimension, about half of the cases (16) report on a highly competitive environment, supporting the notion that BPM is perceived as a way to increase competitiveness. Eleven of the cases report a medium level of competitiveness in their environments, and six cases report a low level of competitiveness. Most cases deal with uncertainty in business, as twenty-one of the cases report a medium level of uncertainty, five report a high level of uncertainty, and eight report a low uncertainty.

Contribute Your Own Case

You are very welcome to contribute your own case to the BPM Cases Initiative and Book. The next volume of the BPM Cases initiative is already on its way and it should include your case, too. Please get in touch with us!


References

Dumas, M., La Rosa, M., Mendling, J., Reijers, H. (2013), Fundamentals of Business Process Management, Berlin 2013.

Müller, O., Schmiedel, T., Gorbacheva, E., & vom Brocke, J. (2014). Toward a typology of business process management professionals: Identifying patterns of competences through latent semantic analysis. Enterprise Information Systems, 10(1), 50-80.

Recker, J, Mendling, J. (2016): The State of the Art of Business Process Management Research as Published in the BPM Conference – Recommendations for Progressing the Field. Business & Information Systems Engineering 58(1): 55-72 (2016)

Rosemann, M., & vom Brocke, J. (2015). Six Core Elements of Business Process Management. In J. vom Brocke & M. Rosemann (Eds.), Handbook on Business Process Management: Introduction, Methods, and Information Systems (International Handbooks on Information Systems) (2 ed., Vol. 1, pp. 105-122). Berlin et al.: Springer.

Schmiedel, T., & vom Brocke, J. (2015). Business process management: Potentials and challenges of driving innovation. In J. vom Brocke & T. Schmiedel (Eds.), BPM – Driving Innovation in a Digital World (pp. 3-16). Heidelberg: Springer.

Schmiedel, T., vom Brocke, J., & Recker, J. (2012). Is your organizational culture fit for business process management? BPTrends(May 2012), 1-5.

Schmiedel, T., vom Brocke, J., Recker, J. (2015). Culture in business process management: how cultural values determine BPM success. In J. vom Brocke & M. Rosemann (Eds.), Handbook on Business Process Management: Strategic Alignment, Governance, People and Culture (International Handbooks on Information Systems) (2 ed., Vol. 2, pp. 649-663). Berlin et al.: Springer

Srinivasan, M., Wilkes, M., Stevenson, F., Nguyen, T., & Slavin, S. (2007). Comparing problem-based learning with case-based learning: effects of a major curricular shift at two institutions. Academic Medicine, 82(1), 74-82.

United Nations Statistics Division (2008): International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), Rev. 4.

Vanwersch, R. J. B., Shahzad, K., Vanderfeesten, I. T. P., Vanhaecht, K., Grefen, P. W. P. J., Pintelon, L., Mendling, J., Merode, G. G. v., & Reijers, H. A. (2016). A critical evaluation and framework of business process improvement methods. Business and Information Systems Engineering, 58(1), 43–53.

vom Brocke, J., Mendling, J. (2018b), Frameworks for Business Process Management: A Taxonomy for Business Process Management Cases. In J. vom Brocke & J. Mendling (Eds.), Business Process Management Cases. Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Practice. Berlin et al.: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., Mendling, J. (Eds.) (2018a), Business Process Management Cases. Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Practice. Berlin et al.: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., Rosemann, M. (Eds.) (2015), Handbook on Business Process Management (International Handbooks on Information Systems) (Vols. 1 and 2). 2nd edition, Berlin: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., Schmiedel, T. (Eds.) (2015), BPM – Driving Innovation in a Digital World. Berlin: Springer.

vom Brocke, J., Schmiedel, T., Recker, J., Trkman, P., Mertens, W., & Viaene, S. (2014). Ten Principles of Good Business Process Management. Business Process Management Journal (BPMJ), 20(4), 530-548.

vom Brocke, J., Zelt, S., & Schmiedel, T. (2015). Considering Context in Business Process Management: The BPM Context Framework. BPTrends, Class Notes November 2015, 1-12.

vom Brocke, J., Zelt, S., & Schmiedel, T. (2016). On the Role of Context in Business Process Management. International Journal of Information Management, 36(3), 486-495

Jan vom Brocke and Jan Mendling

Jan vom Brocke is head of the BPM group in Liechtenstein. He is Professor of Information Systems, the Hilti Chair of Business Process Management, and Director of the Institute of Information Systems. He is Founder and Co-Director of the award-winning Master Program in Information Systems with Majors in Business Process Management and Data Science and Director of the PhD Program in Information and Process Management at the University of Liechtenstein(see: www.uni.li/mis). Since 2012 he has been appointed Vice-President of the University of Liechtenstein responsible for research and innovation, re-elected in 2015. Jan has over 15 years of experience in IT and BPM projects and he has published more than 300 papers in reknowned outlets, including MIS Quarterly (MISQ), the Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS), and the Business Process Management Journal (BPMJ). He has authored and edited 29 books, including Business Process Management – Driving Innovation in a Digital World and Green BPM – Towards the Sustainable Enterprise, and the International Handbook on Business Process Management. Jan is an invited speaker and trusted advisor on BPM serving many organizations around the world. You can contact and follow Jan via his website: janvombrocke.com. Jan Mendling is a Full Professor with the Institute for Information Business at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU Vienna), Austria. His research areas include Business Process Management, Conceptual Modelling and Enterprise Systems. He has published more than 300 research papers and articles, among others in ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Information Systems, Data & Knowledge Engineering, and Decision Support Systems. He has authored and edited over 15 books, including the textbooks Fundamentals of Business Process Management and Wirtschaftsinformatik (in German) as well as Business Process Management Cases (edited). Jan is an invited speaker and trusted advisor on BPM serving many organizations around the world. See Jan's website for more information.

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