Recently, I was invited to visit a new customer to help kickoff their BPM initiative. For this fortune 100 company, it is exciting to see that they have identified the need for BPM and have invested in a quality BPM Suite (not a shameless Ultimus BPMS plug...rather, knowing what I know of the BPM space, it is vital to choose a quality BPM Suite). With all of this excitement, I was quickly brought back down to Earth with an early question from their CIO, "How will your BPM Suite application improve my company's processes?"
Despite the best of intentions of the CIO's question, immediately, my mind veered away from the 1s and 0s of the application. I knew we needed to take the conversation into the area of what his perceptions of BPM were (and what were his expectations of Ultimus as a BPMS provider). It is at this point in a new BPM initiative that the BPM vendor not be too quick to assume control of the situation. Rather, in the role of "BPM Expert", the BPM vendor should be sure to ask the right questions but also relinquish control of the BPM initiative to the customer himself. While there are many questions that should be asked in the beginning stages of a BPM initiative, a quick list of some of the questions can include:
- Are you staffing a Chief Process Officer? Who is driving your process initiative?
- How much of your staff have you dedicated to your BPM initiative?
- What percentage of their time are they committing to the success of your BPM initiative?
- In what ways do you plan to involve your company in your process planning?
- What SLAs / KPIs are you using to measure the "success" of your BPM initiative?
While a BPM vendor plays multiple roles to ensure the overall success of the BPM Suite, ideally, the reliance on the BPM vendor should lessen over the long term. Rather than a long relationship where the customer is reliant on the BPM vendor for BPM Suite application maintenance and process development work, the BPM vendor should educate the customer in tasks such as:
- BPM best practices
- Process Development expertise
- Process Integration and Expansion possibilities
A successful BPM initiative inside a company does not stop end with picking the perfect BPM Suite provider. Rather, this is just the starting point. And to be successful with the BPM Suite, you need to have the right BPM mindset.....and a good BPM Suite provider will understand this and work with you so that you can become self-sustaining.
VP Product and Technology