Shifting sands — BPM’s Business Outcome Versus its Sales Pitch
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Over the years a constant theme is that the ROI of a BPMS implementation or BPM approach is one of the trickiest to pin down and prove. Whilst you can calculate hard efficiency and headcount benefits (which is always the wrong way to solely measure and plan for BPM success) there are a myriad of intangible benefits which you can’t stick a price tag on for the execs, such as improved workforce culture.
However there are many vendors who talk up the ROI game, wrapping the sales cycle in grandiose claims of large benefits and exceeding business outcomes with a sprinkling of fairy dust and it’s given rise to a bit of a negative trend: that the business slowly changes their original expectations to match those of the sales pitch.
And of course this also shifts the expectation and definition of a successful BPMS implementation. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and a win-win for everyone. Everyone except the business itself. The real benefits of BPM become eroded once you start to compromise your original intentions to match those of the slick presentation. Who can blame you when the numbers look so compelling ?
But here’s the real deal: a vendor, (in fact any enterprise software vendor) should never distract you from your goals for BPM. BPM is something personal to every organization and as such you shouldn’t have to compromise on what your vision is. Your vision, not theirs. Even when you’re in the throes of a difficult programme you should never lose sight of why you wanted to engage with the BPM beast in the first place.
As Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” and the same can be said for giving up your true business outcome for BPM in place of one designed by the salesman.