BPM Program Implementation – An Important Checklist for Success

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Since the emergence of Business Process Management (BPM), organisations adopting it have had a wide variety of experiences – some successful and others less so. Some would argue that because BPM is so amorphous that any project is considered to be analogous to ‘boiling the ocean’ and therefore the outcomes may vary from exceptionally successful to, in some cases, disastrous.

Typical challenges that often cause concerns during a BPM initiative include:

  • Focus on automation supersedes process excellence and continuous improvement
  • Complex transformation programs end up in failures, as the business scope is not prioritised and the program roadmap not defined in advance
  • Traditional Waterfall business requirements & process analysis phase takes  an average of 6 – 9 months  with no results to show in production for at least a year and as a result, business sponsors often get disillusioned with BPM
  • Lack of alignment between the investments across business strategy, process improvement and automation activities

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Software Development Methods – Selecting a Pragmatic Approach

Having personally done extensive work with many Organisations over the years to help them create, adapt and implement various types of SDLCs for specific transformational needs, I found the recent article by Mark Kennaley very insightful as a categorised summary of the types of Methods that exist.

Mark describes how the various Software Development Methods (used during an SDLC) often reflect the culture, structure and processes of the Organisation and promotes either positive or negative characteristics when it comes to Delivery of  Solutions that meet Business needs.

He states that the typical negative impact on an organisation manifests itself in various costly ways:

…Each time an organization embraces a new methodology, it triggers a large change management exercise. Within IT, this change typically involves a three-to-five year process that results in the following direct costs for a 1,000-person IT organization:

  • Consulting, training, and mentoring costs to go from novice to competent, and even expert, using Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus’ skill acquisition model. For 1,000 people, this can cost $1 million to $2 million.
  • Knowledge management, to avoid the risk of relying on tacit knowledge in the heads of coaches and consultants. If performed, the capture of standard work, or “our way of working,” results in more than $1 million in costs related to process-related software.
  • Changes in approach can also trigger the need for new process management tools. Cost can range from free to $1 million or more.
  • Costs related to putting a new software delivery infrastructure in place. Hitting the reset button can cost upward of $5 million.

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Who’s next on the HP BPM Aquistions list?

After the recent news that Open Text is to acquire Metastorm, it has been revealed that the long rumoured HP talks with Tibco have not gone as planned.

According to a Reuters article,

Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) had considered buying business software company Tibco Software Inc (TIBX.O) until two weeks ago when talks fizzled, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Reuters article goes on to say that

It was not clear why the talks fell apart or if they will be resumed, although the tech giant is currently scouring the industry for other software targets, the sources said.

Tibco has been the subject of takeout rumors for the past several years, yet the company has never disclosed that it has been in talks to sell itself.

The question now is who will HP target to fill its capability gaps? Doug Henschen (InformationWeek) thinks that

If HP is now shopping for other companies, as Reuters’ report suggests, Software AG and Progress Softwareare both potential targets, given their integration, SOA infrastructure, and business process management software. Software AG is larger than Tibco, with about $1.4 billion in revenue last year. Progress is smaller, at $156 million in 2010 revenue.

What are your thoughts?

Focussed Business Strategy is making a Resurgence

In recent months there has been a noticeable resurgence in the need for Business Architecture at both tactical and strategic levels. In my experience, there are many Enterprise Architects (EA’s) thinking about Business Architecture, but very few who are really doing Business Architecture.

The Standish Group, an IT research organisation, documents this annually and has historically found that 31.1% projects are cancelled before completion, 52.7% of projects will cost 189% of their original estimated cost and only 16% of projects are completed on-time and on-budget.

Apart from the typical Project Management and Software Delivery Governance and Optimisation improvements that can be adopted to improve this situation, a further and probably more advantageous approach would be to adopt ‘Problem Architects’.

Solution Architects (the opposite of Problem Architects) are more commonly technical specialists focused on defining a technical solution that is usually heavily dependent on ‘clear’ business requirements often formulated by users and project Business Analysts. In most cases, this tends to be an inexact science as it is often too complex, too ambiguous, and has lots of errata due to tight project specific deadlines.

Forrester 2010 research has found that:

“…40% of organizations now have an established business architecture program. And most of the rest are working toward creating one. For a large majority of EA teams the question has shifted from ‘When should I start my business architecture effort?’ to ‘How do I get business architecture moving?’…“

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New Book – Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation

For those interested in Process Design and Implementation using Visio 2010, David Parker’s new book Microsoft Visio 2010 Business Process Diagramming and Validation explains Visio diagram validation, the APIs behind it, and shows how to to build tools to make it all much easier!

The target audience for this book is the .Net developer community, Office users and technical folks but may still be of interest to those who wish to understand the depth and breadth of  features available in the new version of Visio.

As to be expected, the book is tutorial in structure and many demonstrations for creating Validation Rules, writing ShapeSheet formulae etc. The example code for these are all included and therefore is great for those who ‘learn by doing’ making the practical and immediately deployable examples very useful.

  • Download a free copy of Chapter 2 – Understanding the Microsoft Visio Object Model
  • Watch Visio 2010 Video

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BPM Centre of Excellence – Strategic & Tactical Value Explained

Foreword: Having recently completed the design and implementation of an operational BPM Competency Centre for a Global Insurance company, I thought I would share a bit of my recent experience on the subject. The Competency Centre initiative formed part of the extremely ambitious IT and Business Transformation programme that is fundamental in redefining the organisation and laying the foundation for its expansion strategy across Europe.

Over the decades, the search for IT and/or Business ‘Excellence’ has led to a concept that is often misunderstood and can be very amorphous in definition and execution – Business/IT Transformation.

A term also commonly used in the same context is that of a Centre of Excellence or ‘CoE’ aka ‘Competency Centre.’  In this post, I will not attempt to redefine either, but rather explain a bit more about how the various constituent parts of a CoE can support Transformation projects and more specifically Business Process Management (BPM) initiatives.

The purpose of a CoE is to act as a nucleus for promoting and managing the collaboration of people, processes and technologies around key organisational objectives by ensuring the application of best practices, education and training, support services and technology awareness.

In most organisations, this is an extremely complex challenge, especially if the level of organisational maturity is low and their existing operational model is disjointed. That said, more mature and integrated organisations find the exigency and necessary focus for adopting a CoE a challenge.

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Progress Software Acquires Savvion

The BPM acquisition trail continues in earnest.

ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS), a leading software provider that enables enterprises to be operationally responsive announced today at its Global Field Operations Conference the acquisition of Savvion Inc., a privately held business enterprise software company based in Santa Clara, California, for approximately $49 million, net of cash acquired.

Read the press release here.