BPM tries to appease process workers

I recently watched a free BPM seminar with Forrester's Connie Moore where the result from an online survey was presented. The question was "What do you see as the primary benefit of BPM efforts?"

  1. 24% said Increased productivity for process workers
  2. 18% said The ability to provide real-time visibility into key processes
  3. 15% said The ability to change processes quickly and easily
  4. 13% said The ability to model business processes
  5. 12% said Consistent process execution across business units or geographics
  6. 12% said Optimization of processes
  7. 4% said Decreased reliance on IT for supporting and changing processes
  8. 1% said The ability to test work for compliance and remediate problems
I can agree that 2-8 are relevant to BPM, but increasing productivity for process workers I would say has nothing directly to do with BPM. There is an indirect link between BPM and productivity though. BPM should definitively be a driver for IT investments to increase productivity, like ECM, BI, Enterprise Search, Collaboration, Messaging, etc.

I think this result is just a way to appease the process workers who fear BPM. Name one capability of a BPMS that will increase the productivity directly of a process worker.


Roeland Loggen said...

I can think of some:

1. Without a BPMS procesworkers work with a non-process aware GUI. Everytime they start working on a new task item, they will navigate through various menu's to find the right screens to perform the task.

BPMS can provide direct context screens, linked to the specific task

2. Often processworkers need to register all kinds of timing data, such as start time, end time, to register the time works on a task.

BPMS can do this automatically

3. Processworkers need a way to get tasks assigned. This means someone, usually a supervisor, is distributing tasks to various people.

BPMS can distribute tasks automatically, and even re-assign if needed, based on events or time lags.

4. Processworkers will need to decide after a task is done, what needs to be done next, usually based on business rules. Often they have to know these rules (and sometimes forget/make erros) or look them up (in some type of workinstruction).

BPMS can support making these decisions automatically.

5. When starting on a new task, process workers need to fetch the information about the task from somewhere. With the use of ECM/Document management, it is right there at their screen.

6. Without a BPMS when a customer calls to query for status of his/her request, the person will need to start asking around. With a BPMS they can lookup the status directly.

Probably plenty more.

Roeland Loggen

Jonas Ekström said...

All I'm saying is that even if process worker productivity is important for the performance and effectiveness of the process model, the BPMS doesn't directly aim for it.

Certainly a task owner will get some help from the BPMS, but the real job will be done with other applications and tools (use Office to write a document, Outlook to send an email, Visual Studio to write a program, a knife to open a package, a phone to make a call, Live Meeting to have an online meeting, etc). Everything else would be attempts to make the BPMS into a Golden Hammer.

Assigning a task, make the owner aware of the task, and publish the task in a work list with necessary meta data is core functionality in a BPMS.

With that in mind and the result from the survey, productivity as the primary benefit from BPM seems a bit appeasing.