I was reflecting on the state of the BPM marketplace while returning from Software AG’s Innovation World. It seems that, by and large, there are few consultants out there who can advise you on the actual implementation of BPM (the hard part) but plenty of them that can fulminate on the easier theoretical portions. For example, here is a relative plot of the marketplace as I see it:
The justification phase is easy, as it primarily consists of the same pro forma advise for any IT-related project: have an executive sponsor, get business buy in, don’t try to justify a big bang approach, blah, blah blah. Check.
The analysis phase is where the Lean/Six Sigma types will descend upon you with endless discussion of SIPOC and other jargon. Don’t get me wrong, this is a valuable analysis to have, it just does not solve the entire problem.
Then comes the actual implementation and the sounds of crickets in the field. For implementation, that favorite consulting cliche comes out all too often: ‘it all depends’. Well, yes, it does all depend, but if anyone has successfully implemented BPM even a handful of times, they should be able to begin to synthesize a set of best practices and guidelines in general and offer specifics in a given tool stack. This area is sorely wanting — in most cases, even the vendors can’t tell you how to effectively use their own tool stacks in any detail.
Assuming that you have navigated the rocky shores of implementation, there are any number of Business Activity Monitoring and Business Intelligence vendors who will sell you their wares to help you visualize your process data as executive friendly dashboards and portals. They typically have nothing to say about effective data collection and meaningful representation of data.