With the maturation of the BPM market, many companies with big brand names have gained entrance. Marketing research shows that consumers equate the feeling of “safety” and quality with big brand names. While it is good for the BPM market, from a market awareness perspective, to have big brand name companies in the space, it is still very much a “buyers beware” market. As you probably know by experience, big names spend a lot on their brand image, but when it comes to delivering a solid working product, they often fail to meet market demands.
In some cases, these brand name companies have acquired other workflow / BPM technologies and rebranded them (in order to gain fast entry into the BPM space). More often than not, the technologies that were purchased don’t always play well with the company’s existing set of technologies. The idea that you can “bolt on” BPM to an application server without a lot of hard work is ludicrous. The acquired BPM technology is often not accurately designed to integrate properly with certain application servers.
This ends up being a “Frankenstein” offering and results in poor integration capabilities and requires a lot of time and effort to integrate. Additionally, it ends up consuming a couple months worth of time before the customer gets frustrated and drops the vendor altogether.
Customers today want something that simply works. Again, with the BPM market mature, the expectations from customers are that BPM vendors have worked through their software bugs and are bringing implementation expertise with them for implementations. Brand name IT companies who have recently bought and “Frankensteined” other technologies are having problems providing easy, straight-forward, working solutions to their customers. I have seen this first hand at Ultimus, as a recent trend in 2010 is customers re-engaging with Ultimus after frustrations with the big brand companies. They have spent more than 1 year and millions of dollars to get the “Frankenstein” to work, and now their process project is in jeopardy of never getting off the ground.
Ultimus’ ability to deliver a mature BPM Suite, matched with a seasoned professional services staff, and a process implementation methodology of implementing one process at a time, as quickly as possible is ringing true with our returned customers. Once the first process is up and running, Ultimus’ BPM Suite is a perfect platform for the 2nd, 10th, and even the 100th process. When the first deployment with Ultimus is completed, our customers stick with our products because they see a faster return on investment and are able to witness the results much faster than the big brand vendor.
Ask yourself this question: Are you buying the big brand because you recognize the brand itself? Have you taken the necessary time to really evaluate what you are buying and how will it work best for your company’s needs?
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Better, Faster and Cheaper BPM
Director, North America Product Management
Here in the US, the National Football League playoffs are upon us. Like everything that passes in my life, I relate things back to BPM (which as I have said in previous blog posts, is a curse….smile). But in this case, playoff football preparation is a perfect analogy for successful business process automation. When an NFL team starts the year, there is a goal in mind: make the playoffs. Of course, every team wants to win the Super Bowl (and that is the ultimate goal in mind), but you cannot win the Super Bowl if you do not make the playoffs. Much like it is not enough to simply say “our football team will play this year”, it is not enough to say “automating our business processes will make us successful.”
Successful process automation implies that an existing manual (or inefficient partially automated) process in its current state must be improved to meet a specified goal. Otherwise, why do the exercise of process automation? Yes, it is true that process automation in itself has value. Moving away from paper documents, email trails and shared MS Office documents have value. However, if those process improvements are the only goals with your process automation endeavor, then you are “falling short of the goal line”. Furthermore, business success is defined by metrics and goals. Sales reporting, company revenue reports, and individual employee plans are fundamentally defined in achieving specified goals.
Some examples of process automation goals, as I have seen them through my BPM experience, include:
- Improve corporate revenues by 20%
- Reduce credit approval times by 40%
- Reduce operating expenses by 30%
- Cut miscellaneous expenses by 25%
It is important to use the end goals of your process as a cornerstone of your process automation plan (process modeling, human and system involvement, application integration, and process metrics and reporting). If this strategy is not adhered to, then you run the risk of the process automation experience taking tangential roads, and you end up with a process solution that is quite different than what was originally planned.
Over and above workflow solutions (where processes can be built and automated), BPM Suites provide additional value in process metric reporting that is tightly coupled to process execution. Real-time reporting of process metrics can provide extremely quick results of automated processes and obviate the need to wait for weeks and months to understand process goal achievement.
No matter how much pre-planning and process discovery that is executed on the front end, automated processes require change and improvements. These needs are handled well by BPM Suites. BPM Suites provide process optimization methodologies that allow you to make real-time corrections and improvements to your live processes. This type of functionality ensures you continue to work towards your process goals without the need for entire process reconstruction and taking your processes “offline”.
Automate, Don't Wait, on Business Process Improvement
Don’t Just Consider Complex and Complicated Processes for Automation
VP Product and Technology
It is no surprise that BPM related training is a trending topic these days. Business process management (and all that encompasses it) doesn’t exactly come natural to the vast majority of us. From LinkedIn debates to discussions on EbizQ, there is commonality (and legitimacy, unfortunately) in the belief that most process improvement initiatives fail. To establish a win-win relationship in the BPM industry, vendors have to ensure that customers are amply equipped to carry out their BPM venture and, in turn, capitalize on the investment and ensuring success.
Courses are increasingly available in universities throughout the world on this very topic. However, professionals can get their foot in the door of BPM and gain needed skills through their BPM vendor. Ultimus Online Training has enabled customers to accelerate time-to-competence allowing for a quick ROI. Through blended eLearning and instructor-led training, we offer course tracks customized for your specific role, cloud-based lab environments and an online training community where you can engage in discussions and ask questions. In 2011, we will expand our curricula to include a BPM Management course, focusing on the needs of executives and business analysts with topics covering best practices for discovery, design, automation and optimization.
Additionally, Ultimus has partnered with several training organizations to provide customers with educational programs, outside of Ultimus product-specific training, at a discounted rate. Six Sigma eLearning, LLC offers Yellow, Green and Black Belt certification programs in a cost-effective and efficient method through a combination of Live Online and On-Demand self-paced eLearning. AIIM, the leading non-profit organization to provide education, research and best practices to help organizations find, control and optimize their information, has also teamed up with Ultimus. This partnership offers special member pricing for customers on the BPM Certificate Program as well as the SharePoint Certificate Program.
Specifically, AIIM’s BPM Certificate Program encompasses:
- Streamlining and re-engineering
- Requirements gathering and analysis
- Application integration
- Process design and modeling
- Monitoring and process analysis
- Managing change
To learn more about how Ultimus Training can help accelerate your BPM initiatives, visit our Training Page, and be sure to sign-up for a free eLearning trial membership. We’ll give you full access to our online courses so you can check them out for yourself.
If you are new to the concept of BPM, take a few minutes to check out BPMvsWorkflow. This site explains the difference between business process management and workflow and will provide you with a base to build upon for future learning. It describes how the two technologies are separate and distinct, details commonalities and explores frequent misconceptions regarding both.
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Come Join Me on the BPM Playground