How ONE Bad Business process Doomed GM

Just had to draw your attention to this excellent post entitled 'How ONE Bad Business Process Doomed GM' from the Bex Huff blog.

Look at the article and - as you read the decisions made by GM regarding their business process - think carefully about what the issues are associated with this. Try to understand exactly what problems will ultimately arise as a result of it and then ask yourself 2 questions

1) Why couldn't the GM senior management see this?
2) How many similar decisions are you making in your organisation?

Eye opening commentary from Brian Huff. Great post, Brian!

Reminder: 'The Perfect Process Project' is still available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you.

Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.

For more about me check out my "About Me' page

All information is Copyright (C) G Comerford

BPM: Pulling the threads together....

I was reading a couple of different BPM articles recently with fairly contrasting topics and it occurred to me that they were effectively trying to say a similar thing in different ways.

The first article was from Earth Times (via Sandy Kemsley from Column 2) which said "An April 2009 survey of 781 business, government and IT managers revealed that just 15% of respondents in organizations that have implemented Business Process Management (BPM) systems say that worker productivity increased more than 50%." The second article from quoted Terry Schurter at Hydrasight saying that "Hydrasight believes BPMS vendors have previously failed to deliver on their promise because of product complexities, system interdependencies and limited capability to address the needs and expectations of business users. As a result, many of the purported benefits of BPMS solutions remain unsubstantiated and unrealised."

Effectively the first article was saying that the implementations haven't been as succesful in reaching their objectives as was desired and the second article was saying that there are extenuating circumstances with the vendors about why they aren't able to deliver on their promises. The Earth Times article quotes a survey as saying that 86% of end users of BPM applications often or occasionally design their own workarounds due to system inefficiencies. 86% ! The same survey quotes that almost 30% of end users are not involved in the improvement of their processes and supporting systems. I think these two figures are connected.

Personally I think this all links back to a comment made by Dennis Parker of K2 in a recent interview I held with him. According to Dennis "Evolution of model-based execution technology is at a very early stage in its life cycle". By this he means that the whole BPM(s) market is still immature with regard to what it could do and how it could do it. I think this manifests itself in the following ways: The standards needed to make this happen are not yet fully mature. The functionality that users expect to be able to have in a software is not always there and - most importantly - the BPMS vendors still see themselves as technicians providing a technical solution for the business rather than busines partners providing a business solution (although this is still starting to change). There is a very real need for proper user driven BPMS solutions rather than psuedo-end user ones. This will ensure better buy-in from your end users as well as less need to create workarounds to make the system function.

If we follow Dennis's thinking this is probably another 5 to 10 years away. In the meantime we can probably expect more depressing surveys telling us that BPM doesn't work and we aren't getting the benefit.

On the brighter side Global 360 (who commissioned the survey mentioned above) did - through a post from Jim Sinur (ex-Gartner and now back at Gartner) - also say that process is free. I align with that theory and stick by Jim's assertions. But he does say in his post that 'well scoped BPM projects approach a 15% internal rate of return'. That's not too shabby, I feel.

"They think of us as being the same as an electricity supplier" - K2 vs. The Business.

(Note: This is the next in a series of interviews I have been holding with key BPM vendors to help understand their thoughts and perspectives on BPM issues we are currently facing)

In a small office in the corner of a nondescript building in Wimbledon, south-west London - dominated by a huge flat screen video conference TV - sits a displaced South African with a gift for conversation and some specific views on BPM and the vendor space. This is Dennis Parker, Vice President of UK and Europe at K2 and he's on a mission to make K2 a leader in this space.

K2 Background
For those of you who don't know K2 (and it's entirely possible as they are still very much a 'niche' vendor in this area), the company was formed in the late 90's. It got the attention of Microsoft locally through an important joint customer. Under their guidance an introduction was made to Microsoft in the US which provided further impetus and set the foundation for a strong global partnership with them. In 2003 the company released 2003 which was at the time an early pure .NET compliant workflow server. By 2004 the company had established a presence in important markets such as the UK, Singapore and the USA and moved it's head office operations to Redmond, USA. The company went through four straight years of 100% growth driven by strong demand and expanding market presence. In 2005 development was started on the K2 Blackpearl product which was released in 2007. This product has a wider remit than just workflow reflecting a core theme in the company to move beyond workflow into applications that are fundamentally based on process. There are more than 2000 customers worldwide with in-house staff of 250 people globally.

BPM Philosophy

I asked Dennis to explain the BPM philosophy within K2. He told me that there are basically two facets of BPM from the K2 point of view:

  1. Strategy: This is the ability of an organisation to move to becoming process based. As Dennis said "K2 don't play in this space"
  2. Execution: This is the creation and building of applications based on workflow models - the point at which a modeling strategy needs to devolve itself into an executable. "K2 do play here", said Dennis. What this does, then, is act as a means of focus for a company like K2 which is not going to go into any of the so-called 'Enterprise Architecture' areas that folks like IDS-Scheer and Metastorm have gone into.

At this point we moved onto a very interesting statement by Dennis which - I must admit - got me thinking about the state of the BPM union. According to Dennis "Evolution of model-based execution technology is at a very early stage in its life cycle". He referred frequently to an imaginary graph of maturity whereby the top of the line indicated a mature, integrated environment - similar to the one currently being enjoyed by those technologies and organisations managing data - and the bottom of the line which is a technologically immature state. Using manufacturing and construction as a comparison point, those industries have moved from manually drawn plans through to fully automated planning - including the ability to produce simulated 3d models and directly drive construction and manufacturing production lines. In simple terms a house owner - “the user” - can view a model as a 3-dimensional view of his proposed construction, walk through it and participate in the design without needing to understand the engineering constraints associated with foundation load or cross beams to support the roof.

In IT the concept of model driven applications that allow for differing "lenses" for viewing processes still has a way to go. For example the level of detail and the content of a process model that would be viewed by an end user is radically different to that of an IT technologist. Being able to accommodate both of these is possible but challenging.

We talked about why something like this is important - particularly why an application that can define and create applications is viable. A high percentage of customers in the mid- to enterprise sector are running on outsourced models. In the context of managing change and bespoke development this is proving to be very expensive. A recent study conducted by a K2 customer identified that on outsourced models, the cost of changing a line of code can run to £85,000. This is a boundary case and relevant to a scenario where environments have a high degree of “lock down”, however the point illustrates that this is not sustainable and needs to change

One way of achieving this is through the use of 'declarative models'. That is to say models that can define logic directly on a production infrastructure. A normal development infrastructure has Development, Test, Acceptance, and Production as separate environments with a discreet, moderated flow from one through to the other. This model is fundamentally restricted to IT professionals to operate and manage. The goal of declarative or model driven environments is to take this to a user set which is not IT based and allow them to participate in this process directly. With a declarative model your production environments are enabled for controlled change and can be updated directly. In reality a combination of both of these set-ups would be used.

Looking at this from my own background, I realised that - as a result of application inventories that were carried out prior to Y2K - there were a huge number of duplicate applications created. Lots of these are created on the 'de-facto' development standard for non developers which is Excel or Access. Databases proliferate across the organisation. I asked Dennis how do you stop duplication is in this environment? The answer is 'good process discovery'. There is the need for a central process repository which will identify the defined and accepted way of performing something -- such as submitting an expense claim -- and this will minimise the creation of duplicate applications across unapproved processes. However, there is the need to have the ability to localise or personalise such applications to allow for cultural and legal requirements across different countries. Personalisation at this level implies a change in the way data is managed. Rather than having a defined, standard, normalised database we end up moving to a 'many-to-many paradigm' which creates "loosely coupled entities" that can be extended and personalized based on business need.

K2 and Microsoft
Looking at the background of the company it is obvious that Microsoft and it's associated technologies plays an important part in the life of K2. Dennis said, however, that there are no 'hard burned' linkages to Microsoft. Delivering products today in the “BPM space” requires a number of foundation level technologies to come together. Over time these technologies will continue to expand. Today these components include scalable operating systems, secure data storage and reporting, portal technology, security, development and deployment technologies and the like. Customers expect an integrated experience that simply brings all of these factors together in a platform that just works. Vendors have a choice when considering these components - they either “single source” or integrate those components from multiple vendors. K2 has chosen to build on a single vendor, Microsoft.

The company understands that this model will appeal to customers who fundamentally have Microsoft infrastructure. Whilst the model enables a high degree of integration with non Microsoft environments (e.g. SAP, Oracle and the like) there are customers who have built their IT architectures with other vendors like IBM. For these customers K2 will not be a logical choice and K2 will not spend its energy selling to these customers.

Criteria for Purchasing
As we had broached the subject of selling to customers, I asked Dennis what his customers considered are the criteria needed for purchasing. He said the promise of being able to deliver quickly is important. When I asked them the kind of criteria that appear in RFP's, he mentioned notation standards and execution standards. (Incidentally questions in K2 RFP's are put into an internal Wiki - along with the answer - as this insures a consistent and centralised repository for replies).

Dennis said that his customers basically fall into two types:

1) The procurement led customers: These are customers who are following a strict procurement mandated process for choosing a vendor.
2) Business problem led customers: These are customers who have identified major and urgent internal business problems which need to be solved quickly and have come to K2 on that basis

I wondered if price is a differentiator. It appears that those customers who are expecting Microsoft technology say that the K2 product is more expensive (Which it is compared to something like Visio). However customers who have come from other backgrounds look at K2 and tell them that - based on a "BPM suite" pricing expectation - they are cheap. K2 pricing itself works on two models: user based and model based.

Conferences = Vendor fairs

Dr Geary Rummler (The father of the swimlane) was quoted before his death as saying that "BPM conferences are becoming very much like vendor fairs". I asked Dennis how he would reply to this accusation and he said he would probably agree with that. However, he went on to explain, the label of "BPM" is one which is recognised by a lot of people, without really understanding what it means. To a degree this represents where the industry is on the maturity cycle of this technology. For K2 the concept of “process driven applications” is core to their value proposition. For now there is little widespread recognition of that particular term. It makes sense - in that case - to use the generic term 'BPM' as a placeholder to position their offering in.

Councils and government organisations
I noticed that K2 sells a lot to county councils and government organisations and wondered why this was. A lot of county councils used Microsoft infrastructure and there is also a business driver to get more from the infrastructure. As a result when councils go to companies like Microsoft and ask them how to leverage this infrastructure, K2 gets mentioned. K2 have created what they call the "Trans Government accelerator". This is a framework hosted at the Microsoft development centre in the UK and is regularly used to demonstrate to government and county councils the benefits of a product such as K2 with the Microsoft infrastructure. On top of this Charlie James, who leads the K2 local government business, has done an excellent job in understanding the needs of county councils.

Fundamentally K2 as a company are very interested in standards.Customer ultimately drive standards and vendors need to adhere to these standards where they can. With respect to BPMN, Dennis had the following to say: "We looked at all the standards which exist and found that there are so many of them. The problem is they're not complete standards. For example there is no modeling standards to allow you to defined the choice of 'presence based routing' -- for example how to route helpdesk calls to the appropriate person, or group of people, based on presence (are they actually at their desk and signed in)? -- and in this case what had happened is that functions have been led by the standards therefore following the standards will remove the ability to perform certain functions which are not managed by the standards". K2 would like to see standards updated to match some of the functionality they offer today. It should also be said that the K2 support for those standards is probably a bit behind the curve of any changes which take place, for instance BPMN 1 vs BPMN 2.

What is BPM?
All the discussion we had had so far had managed to skirt around the big question which hung in the air between us: What is the BPM?

Dennis believes the term is completely overloaded and that here is no clear definition (This is supported by my own research here). It can include - for example - a modelling capability, an execution capability, and a simulation capability. But the big question, Dennis believes, is "Will customers buy BPM (as a concept) or will they buy an application that solves a business need?" In other words are you trying to sell the concept (albeit ill-defined) of BPM to an end customer or are you trying to sell a solution to a specific problem or set of problems?

From an evolution perspective, Dennis believes that ultimately BPM will evolve along the same lines as database design and CAD - where models will drive the application end to end. In other words regardless of which application you use, information coming out at the end of it will be readable by all other applications. However he believes that we are ten years away from having something like this in the area of the BPM. BPEL is a move in the right direction, but is not there yet.

The social web
The social web has the potential to be a big area in future. Companies have to attend to different audiences, Dennis says. The people who are now coming into business and IT are much more aware of social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging etc.) than those who have been in the industry for, say, 10 or 15 years. Technologies like these are also being taken up by non-IT people. (Incidentally one of the unforeseen upshot's of this 'social web' is that people looking for the K2-brand ski and skate products are coming to the K2 web-site and sending in questions asking "Where is the nearest stockist of K2 ski's?"). We talked about some of the collaborations that are starting to take place in this space. The reservation that Dennis had with these sort of unions related to issues of multi-vendor collaborations: There are always cultural issues to overcome and, when salesmen try to sell such a solution, there are always overlapping technologies which cause conflict from a sales point of view.

I posited the theory that the one ubiquitous piece of technology that exists is the mobile phone. Everyone in the western world appears to have one (sometimes two) and the state of the technology is evolving to such a stage that it would be irresponsible of developers not to attempt to make their solutions compatible with mobile technology of some sort When I posed this question to Dennis he replied "K2 products will operate successfully on any Windows-based hand held device. It will also operate on the Blackberry". As far as the Apple offering is concerned this could be problematic due to the base technology being Microsoft. However K2 will certainly look at delivering to Apple mobile devices should their customer base request this.

Managing change vs changing management
Managing change is a huge problem. Dennis quoted an example internally within K2. They use the K2 product internally for quoting to customers and have defined a strict quoting process along with specific prices and defined discounts. As this is being rolled out it has meant education has been needed and produced changes to the way people traditionally operate when quoting for K2 products. This is taking the users out at their comfort zone and has led to resistance. This problem within larger user communities becomes complex to manage.

Changing management is no less complicated. From the whole arena of changing management's perspective of BPM and a BPM tool it is now necessary to approach management with a business proposal rather than a vendor proposal. This manifests itself along the lines of "I have a proposition in which will allow you to . . . . . .. more effectively". So they are effectively changing things at a business proposition level. Dennis said that the problem with a lot of vendors is that they don't realise that IT is looked at as a commodity and not part of business. His exact quote was "They think of us as being the same as an electricity supplier" i.e. just another cost line on the income statement for most companies. (I like that quote!).

Open Source
I asked Dennis about open source and K2. He said in principle K2 were not against using open source. However, this had to be the right tool and the right intellectual property. For example recently they were looking at Domain Specific Languages -- the ability to define rules using grammar - i.e. using natural language constructs to define rules. Ultimately this wasn't used but it does prove that K2 are looking externally. I asked about the conflict that this may bring with Microsoft. Dennis said that the company is not beholden to Microsoft although they have an excellent working relationship with them

During the discussion Dennis made two references to simulation. Firstly he said that simulation is a low priority from a customer point of view. Secondly he said that simulation is something that they would continue to look out in future. A deeper discussion revealed that K2 feel there are some fundamental issues with simulation. A simulation product has to provide something that is useful for the end user. But getting an accurate simulation product involves having the ability to be able to simulate a large number of factors such as server loads etc. The upshot of all this is that it is very easy to produce a demo which looks good, has lots of flashing boxes, gauges, and colour codes but the end result of something like that will not always be useful to business. In his opinion vendors still have work to do in the simulation area.

K2 Underground
Early in the life of K2 it was decided not to build a commercial services enterprise which would be focused on the physical implementation of executables created after the K2 implementation. Instead K2 use a partner-led model with two different tiers of consultants: A level of large global consultancies, and a level of smaller more local consultancies. As a result they now have 300 signed up partners. Working alongside that is a community site which has been created called K2 Underground. The concept of the K2 community is core to the CEO, Adriaan Van Wyk. K2 Underground currently has 5000 people signed up to it and it is monitored by in-house engineers and technical staff. On top of this there are approx. 30 people worldwide defined as "K2 Insiders". These are the VIPs who are given privileged access to new releases and current intellectual property. In addition to this any intellectual property which was reviewed but not used in current products is also posted in area known as the "Black Market". Initially this was just started as a K2 Forum and although it was initially felt that this needed to be run and managed by a third party, it was ultimately brought in-house and became the foundation of the community site 'K2 Underground'. Chris Geier, who is the social media guru within the organisation, has done an excellent job of taking these concepts and growing them into a valuable service for K2 customers.

My Two Audit Questions
Reverting back to my old audit days I asked the two key questions that usually elicited the best response: "What keeps you awake at night?" and "What would you do if you were king for a day?". The main thing that keeps Dennis awake at night is the fact that there is always innovation in this field and it can come from anywhere. A company cannot rest on it's laurels and needs to be constantly improving and enhancing what it offers and how it offers it. He sees managing their current competitors, addressing volume markets and continuing to innovate at every level as critical to K2's future. As far as what would Dennis do if he were king for a day: Within the industry Dennis would like to keep enabling new audiences. Being able to promote something like K2 as a business tool not as an IT tool. Being able to allow none IT people to effectively use it in the same way as IT people do. Within K2 Dennis would like to see 'online' being used more as a medium to reach our audiences. This is starting with people like Chris Geier. But there is also large potential for more online presence, wider reach and driving purchases through the K2 online presence. The future has to be about moving from direct sales models to predominantly online and channel.


The whole discussion with Dennis took several hours and it is obvious to me that he has a very well defined, albeit technically focused, view of the market place that K2 work in. Whilst, personally, I see that as being one facet of the whole BPM arena, I think that a focus more on the 'business' side of things would benefit a lot of the current BPM/S vendors and maybe help to overcome some of the initial barriers to entrance that many companies have with BPM as a concept. Dennis made a tangential reference to this several times during our conversation which indicates to me that K2 are at least trying to address the business/technical dichotomy. But with vendors selling technical solutions I think that this is something that has a way to go before it occurs naturally in the marketplace.

Once again I would like to thank Dennis (and Chris Geier who put us in touch with each other) for providing their time to help me with this article.

Hopefully there will be other vendors out there who would submit to a few pertinent questions about their company and it's products. Please contact me if so.

BPM: "A Matter of survival?" - I think so (and so does Gartner)

"For struggling companies, business process management is a lifeline that helps them survive by reducing and avoiding costs in this volatile and turbulent economy." So says Gartner - one of the leading business research organisations in the world ("It's a Matter of Survival: Use BPM to Drive Out Costs", 12 March 2009, Elise Olding, Gartner RAS Core Research Note G00165528).

I totally agree. In today's cost conscious environment there are only a few guaranteed ways of reducing your costs or increasing your bottom line. One is to reduce staff - the option nobody really wants to do. The other is to become more effective and efficient with what you already have.

So follow the Gartner advice:
  • Gain a competency in BPM now.
  • Before you wield the cost-cutting axe, construct a high-level
    business process model to understand the impact of head count and
    resource cuts across the enterprise so that you do not decrease process
    efficiency and inadvertently drive up costs.
  • Use BPM to manage your business case justification and measurement processes.
  • Identify processes where costs may be high and there is not a focus
    on measurement. Target one of these processes for your first or next
    BPM project, and demonstrate tangible results.
These four options are actually incredibly straightforward to do although they are shrouded with mystery, misinformation and misunderstanding ("The 3 Mis's"). That isn't to say they are easy though. It presupposes a commitment at senior management level to becoming better at what you do and to creating an appropriate BPM capability.

Let's look at some of these in a little more detail :

Gain a competency in BPM now
. The world of BPM is deemed to be complicated because it encompasses such a large area of specialisation. There is enterprise strategy, process modeling and analysis, process execution, decision management, Six Sigma, process governance and goodness knows which other buzz words - all of which muddy the waters. The fact of the matter is that BPM is a little like the Wizard of Oz - it seems bigger and more important than it is, but in fact there is a little man behind the curtain who is controlling everything. Of course it helps if you have someone who has done this before working with you (Hint, hint - a small consultancy you may be aware of), but the key is make sure you have someone senior who is looking after this and has responsibility for making this happen. A BPM competency could be as simple as having one individual in the organisation who has an overview of every project you are doing to ensure there are no 'silly' overlaps, duplications or mis-communications from a process point of view. Or it could be a whole department who have had specialist training on BPM methodologies, Enterprise Architecture, modelling notations, decision management and supporting tools. The key point here is to make this someone's job and hold them responsible for making it happen.

Before you wield the cost-cutting axe, construct a high-level business process model to understand the impact of head count and resource cuts across the enterprise so that you do not decrease process efficiency and inadvertently drive up costs. Common sense, I would say. But as we all know, common sense isn't that common. This, basically, is a long way of saying 'look before you leap'. Don't think that removing the most inefficient part of your business will immediately slash your costs, because often it won't. There are linkages between all parts of your busienss - whether you think there are or not. As a result removing one part of the support infrastructure - such as, say, an inefficient department (think 'Customer Support Group') might, indeed, cut down your overhead. But at what cost? Perhaps the work performed within that department updates other parts of your customer information and as such removing it will leave gaps in your data and understanding. These gaps manifest themselves as problems later on in your process - problems which will inevitably take longer (and cost more) to fix than you saved by canning the department. Use something plain and simple to document your high level business. Start with brown paper and post-it notes if you want. Transfer this to (eugh!) Visio for a pretty picture (or even worse, Powerpoint). But whatever happens ensure you capture key information about the process: Inputs, outputs, responsible roles, work performed, and measures. When you've finished take a look and try to understand simple things such as "Does all the output from process A go somewhere else?" If it doesn't, why are we producing this? "Does all the input needed for process B come from somewhere else (in the right format to be used)?" If it doesn't, then what part of the process should be in place to make this happen? A simple model of your business (even at a high level) will ensure you have an overview of the impact of removing or changing one part at the expense of the others.

Use BPM to manage your business case justification and measurement processes. This relates, primarily, to identifying those parts of the business which would merit being shut down (or, contrarily, those which are marked for shut down but which shouldn't be). A review similar to the one mentioned above will provide you with some valuable data to help you understand the key impact of a shut-down decision. Imagine being able to go into your CEO with some valuable BPM-sourced information which will tell him or her that the decision he or she is about to make regarding shutting down the internal market research department is wrong. With appropriate data you can prove that this decision might come back and bit him or her on the butt within 6 months because data from that department feeds directly into the marketing function and effects targetting of marketing dollars (as an example). There are other examples where this would be apropriate. The key here is to make the decision on the basis of a gestalt view of the business rather than just a narrow, money based view of a single department.

Identify processes where costs may be high and there is not a focus on measurement. Target one of these processes for your first or next BPM project, and demonstrate tangible results. What you don't know about your processes may be costing you money. I think this is very much linked with the second recommendation. If you have followed that recommendation and documented your business processes (even at a high level) this is the opportunity to identify high-cost processes. It involves doing a little more work (or getting someone in to do the work for you) and digging a little deeper. But at the end of the day it then becomes a strict mathematical equation to understand which process costs you more, or which ones do not have the appropriate level of measurement. Target these processes and put together a small, focused, project to solve the problem. It will reap dividends.


As Elise at Gartner says "BPM can be a powerful tool that plays a critical role in the survival
of your company — it can reduce costs, ensure compliance, avoid mistakes and create the visibility needed to manage processes as assets to your enterprise." Who am I to argue?

I would encourage you to read the Gartner report, understand the detail held within it and read it in context with the advice offered here. It is possible that the thing that is stopping you from looking at BPM in your organisation might not be barrier to entry at all. In these days of reducing income and increasing costs, can you really afford not to look at ways to increase efficiency?

Reminder: 'The Perfect Process Project' is still available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you.

Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.

For more about me check out my "About Me' page

All information is Copyright (C) G Comerford

The parable of the wind and the sun - is this your BPM project?

see filenameImage via Wikipedia

A story is told about the North Wind and the Sun. It seems that each claimed to have the greater power over mortals and a dispute arose.

“I am much stronger, ” said the North Wind. "I blow and blow and can even cause great oak trees to tumble to the ground. Surely I have a greater power over man.”

“Indeed not,” said the Sun, “for without my warmth, a man would surely die! Consider the oak tree. Without me it would not grow to be so tall.”

And so it was that the two decided to try their powers upon an unknowing traveler, deciding to see which of them could soonest strip him of his cloak. The North wind furiously blew down upon the man, and caught up his cloak, believing he could wrestle it from him in one single gust. But is was soon apparent that the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped himself up in the garment.

The Sun then said, “I shall try my hand at this venture.” So he looked down upon the traveler and beamed his light ever so gently upon him. Eventually, the man unclasped his coat as it draped over his shoulders. The sun then shone down with his full strength, and before he had gone much further down the road, had taken off his cloak so he could complete his journey.

Pretty neat little story eh? I bet you can guess where I am going with this too, can't you? You would be correct too.

How many times are your BPM projects like the wind in the parable? A lot of effort. Some brute force. Determination to make things happen against their will. But ultimately unsuccessful?

How many of your BPM projects are like the sun? A less direct approach. Working with the end user rather than against her. Breaking down barriers to resistance and change gently by making it easier to move to the new situation rather than stay in the old situation. How much more successful do you think that sort of approach will be?

Of course it's all common sense. But the problem with common sense is that it isn't that common. If it was, why would there be a large number of projects with high failure rates as a result of not applying it? It is obviously easier to be 'the sun' in this scenario rather than 'the wind'. So why do so many people try to force change onto people in a way they don't want?

Is this something you or your company is guilty of?

Reminder: 'The Perfect Process Project' is still available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you.

Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.

For more about me check out my "About Me' page

All information is Copyright (C) G Comerford

The free consulting offer is ending soon. Don't miss out.

I recently ran a post offering free business process consulting to anyone who wants it.

A couple of days ago my father - who is an avid reader of my blogs, apparently - called to see how the offer was going. I told him the level of response I had received and he was amazed, as indeed am I.

We have discussed this and as a result I have decided to shortly bring this offer to a close.

As a result I am allowing only 5 more days of free consulting to be made available before this offer stops.

To recap:

If you are either:

a) Thinking about putting some sort of process improvement project together -
b) In the middle of a process improvement project and seem to be stalled -
c) Wondering what you can do to reduce costs and increase profit -

- then let me know. I will come in and provide a days consulting for you to help you understand what you need to do to get things started or what you need to do to make things better in your current project.

We can discuss your project and I will offer advice and recommendations for moving forward.

And I will do all this for free! (Considering my daily rate for this is approx £750 ($1200) , this is quite a deal). All you pay are travel expenses - and I'll travel just about anywhere to do this. Globally.

I'll even throw in a copy of my ebook "The Perfect Process Project" for you to keep and use as you see fit.

If you are a Metastorm/Provision user, or a JDE user then I can also offer that expertise. If you need to do process discovery with - for example - facilitated sessions then I can provide that service as well. Tell me what you need. If I can't do it I'll tell you.

What's next?
If you want to take advantage of this offer then let me know via an email to G_comerford (@) Let me have your name, contact details, and some information about what you're trying to achieve and - if I think I can add some value to your efforts - I'll be in touch to help you.

That's it.

No strings attached.

No obligation.

Obviously I would like it if you decide later on to bring me on board your project for some paid work, but there is no obligation to do so. Yes, your details will be added to my mailing list, but that's spam free and is only used to keep you up to date with developments in the BPM world. But that's it.

Think about it. Do you have anything to lose?

I look forward to hearing from you

P.S. Contact me now and see whether we can get something worthwhile moving in your organisation. Only 5 free days left. Once they're gone, they're gone. Email me at G_Comerford (@)

BPM Conferences - A waste of time?

Theo Priestley - The Process Maverick - has a very timely opinion piece on his blog about the state of current BPM conferences.

He contends - with examples - that a lot of conferences have become repeats of what has been said before (something I agree with) and that CONTENT needs to be king with the kind of folks who put on these conferences.

I also echo the thoughts of Dr Geary Rummler who said - before his death last year - that conferences are starting to become vendor fairs and that users are not interested in that (Although I was given a slightly different perspective on that from my interview with Dennis Parker from K2 yesterday - More soon). Perhaps these factors are conspiring against conference organisors.....

Have a quick look at Theo's thoughts and see whether you agree with him.