Those of us in the BPM vendor space (aka “process gurus”) regularly and routinely opine on the ideal definition of what is a process. We tweet, write blogs, and post to forums on opinions of process theory and practicality. Arguments are often written on whether workflow, BPM, ACM, or ERP is the best process platform. But we should remember that we live in a small part of the universe compared to global business space. Process gurus are different from 90% of the people in the workforce today. Company employees who are responsible for driving the company's day-to-day success strive to complete as much work as they can as fast as they can utilizing any and all technologies that are needed. Interestingly enough, still today, the primary tool used to manage daily work is the email inbox.
Fellow process guru, put yourself in their shoes. Think more about all of the emails in your inbox and how hard you work on your inbox emails. Admit it - you feel good driving home in the evening when you have put a major dent in your email inbox. Who doesn't? Think about all of the different subject matters of those emails. Think about how many varying work subjects are in all of your emails... all of which collectively define your vital role in your company. In an abstract sense, if each type of email was associated with a color, our email inboxes would look like a piece of mosaic art.
Now think about you selling the concept of "process" to these people who wear so many hats and are involved in so many worker threads. Despite the holistic value of what each singular business process provides, it is nothing more than a collection of tasks (human and automated), defined or undefined, dynamic or routine. In fact, the modicum of the process concept is the individual step or task. It is easy to believe that when introducing the process concept into an existing workforce that is already at 100% capacity, you will most likely be faced with these questions:
- How do I “log into” the process application?
- Are you seriously telling me I have to learn another new application?
- Why can’t I just keep on doing what I do already?
- How many tasks will I get a day?
- Will this replace some of the 1000 other tasks that I already perform?
When injecting the new concept of “business process” into a workforce, do not forget the people who are to execute the process. Do not let the theoretical concept of process get in the way of how people actually work. In fact, if your process is not an extension or refactoring of how people are already working today, then it is highly likely your process solution will become shelf ware. While the company executives who bought your process solution believe in the concept of process, they are not the ones executing the process. The process workers will get their work done, one way or another… it is the responsibility of the BPM solution provider and implementer to ensure the “process” concept is not a foreign one.
VP Product and Technology