Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"It's the Business Process, Stupid"

It is election day in America and with the economy being the central theme, all of us are reminded of the words made famous by James Carville during the Clinton campaign of 1992 – “It's the economy, stupid”. Today, IT Departments around the world are coming to an important realization as they try to align their solutions to their respective business clients – A successful IT strategy revolves around BPM and making Business Processes the core of every solution that they build for their business. The historic challenge of aligning IT with Business is finally seeing a solution with BPM.

However, BPM is no panacea and if not implemented right will end up being yet another IT initiative. When I say right, I am not just talking about the right tool or the right architecture. No doubt those are important, but there are other aspects of BPM Implementation that need to be prioritized and really focused on which, if not done correctly, will not result in why you wanted BPM in the first place: To offer your business clients the real deal.

1. Alignment to Business Goals: It is extremely essential to map every BPM initiative to one of more of measurable goals that a business has. Every business has a Business Plan and in that plan there are defined Business Objectives and SMART Business Goals. Businesses setup new processes or re-engineer existing processes to achieve these goals. Every BPM initiative that is implemented should be able to clearly define what Objective / Goal in the business plan that it will help achieve. For e.g. in an Insurance vertical, loss ratios, combined ratios, underwriting ratios are typical metrics that are monitored by business units and any process re-engineering initiatives that can help improve these ratios for the company is of extremely high importance.

2. Measurement: When it comes to Real Estate, it is all about – ‘Location, Location, Location’ and when it comes to BPM, it is all about ‘Measurement, Measurement, Measurement’. No BPM initiative can be deemed successful if you are not able to measure the change that has been achieved based on the new process that has been put in place and how that maps to the strategic business objectives and goals. In key BPM engagements the Prolifics has been involved in, we have been able to quantitatively demonstrate to the business owners the efficiencies in the re-engineered processes in terms of time and cost efficiencies achieved.

3. BPM Adoption Strategy: While business focus in paramount in BPM, it is still the IT organization that needs to champion BPM and ensure that it is adopted and well executed within an organization. While I have seen a lot of focus by customers on the choosing the right BPM platform, focusing on architecture and design patterns, discussing best practices etc. it is most important for IT leadership to realize that this is a BPM journey and you need to think holistically from multiple dimensions.

  • Are you ready for this? What you need from People, Process, Skills etc. to start adopting BPM
  • It is not just architecture and best practices – it is also about an overall organizational adoption across the entire SDLC from inception all the way to construction and transition – not just at a project level but at a program level.
Prolifics’ BPM Consulting & Advisory Services Teams come with a defined methodology that guides IT Organizations on adopting and executing a successful BPM Program.

I strongly believe that BPM is not just yet another three letter acronym but is the “Change” that will revolutionize the way IT does Business.

To find out more about Prolifics' BPM practice, please visit: http://prolifics.com/bpm.htm

Rajiv Ramachandran is the Vice President of the BPM & Connectivity Practice at Prolifics. He has 14 years experience in the IT field — 3 of those years at IBM working in the development teams at its Object Technology Competency Center in Bangalore, India. He was then a Solution Architect implementing IBM WebSphere Solutions at Fireman's Fund Insurance. Currently at Prolifics, he manages a 100+ member worldwide team that focuses on BPM, SOA, Decision Management, Architecture and Infrastructure. An author at the IBM developerWorks community, Rajiv has presented at IBM Impact and IBM WebSphere Services Technical Conference. He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.