Forrester Reports on BPM

Our good friends at Forrester have released a free report called 'The EA View: BPM has become Mainstream" by Ken Vollmer. It is a wide ranging but quite detailed report summarising research and surveys carried out at the back end of last year.

It's worth a read if you have the time.

However, it does fall prey to a couple of the things that are personal bugbears for me when it comes to processes and BPM

1) It surveys what people are currently doing rather than what is the right way to do things. In an environment where many different people are doing things different ways, and in a maturing market, there will always be different ways of doing things, some right, some wrong. A report like this does not include any recommendations on which is the most effective way of doing things, rather what current people are doing. How am I supposed to know if I'm doing things the best way in that case? For example it mentions that the top two most widely used BPM vendors are IBM and Microsoft. Now the last time I looked, both of these companies where in the operating system/ software business and one of them was in the hardware business. Are they really the best companies to use for BPM work? Maybe the are (and this is said with no prejudice at all towards these two companies), but just because they are the biggest doesn't necessarily mean they are the right ones to use. (Interestingly it was mentioned that on average each respondent to the survey was using 3.5 BPM vendors. Another interesting statistic)

2) It talks about metrics giving details of which metrics are used to measure BPM success. From my post on Comerford's Three Laws of Metrics you will no doubt remember that I said (amongst other things) "Metrics for the sake of metrics are a waste of time". Looking at the Forrester list I see that the top 4 items were Process cycle times, customer satisfaction, risk reduction and process error rates. Of these four I, personally, feel that process error rates and cycle times are metrics for the sake of metrics. Why would you want to measure the fact that your process is producing a number of errors? Does it matter? (Of course it matters, but the question is what percentage of the processes are producing errors? That's a more useful measure). Cycle time is also another misleading entry. Why would you measure the fact that your process cycle is now 45 minutes? So what? A more effective measure would be cycle time reduction. 'My cycle is now 70% quicker than previously'. That adds value and that's the sort of thing that would look good on a management dashboard. Interestingly enough 5% of major companies over $1b revenue were not measuring their BPM success

As I mentioned earlier, this is worth a few minutes of your time to read and digest.

But as with all 'survey based findings' take the results with a pinch of salt.

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