Are you Ready to Become a Dynamic Organization? Then its time to Embrace Disruption and Extend BPM across Your Organization!

Last week I was fortunate to be able to moderate a fantastic webinar, “Extending BPM across Your Organization” with some of the world’s best BPM experts, including Michele Cantara, Research VP at Gartner Research and Stuart Chandler, the Worldwide Head of BPM at Virtusa. Between them they have 50 some odd years of BPM experience so when they get together, I generally recommend listening (BPM is like dog years, you need to multiply by at least 7 to get the true experience!).I kicked off the discussion by asserting that many in the audience had been implementing business process management and case management initiatives for years. And while many of those programs may have successfully delivered some of the desired business outcomes, they may not have resulted in developing an enterprise level competency.

I challenged the audience to understand what was preventing them from extending this benefit across their enterprise and maturing BPM capabilities into an organizational competency. I then asked if extending these capabilities would drive improvements in end customer experience and ultimately improve overall customer interactions.

So what are some of the obstacles that organizations are facing in extending the value of BPM across their enterprise? Our first audience poll question revealed some interesting insights:

  • 42% cited organizational dynamics, process ownership and governance
  • 16% highlighted skills deficits and lack of resources
  • 26% struggled with responding to constant business change
  • 16% mentioned inflexible or rigid policies

And if that isn’t challenging enough, I went on to highlight the fact that we are now in front of a massive technology change with the advent of mobile, social business, cloud computing and big data. These changes are fundamentally affecting the way many of these organizations are thinking about their business growth strategy, how they optimize their core business process and how they improve the engagement and experience of their end clients and employees.

The result of all of this is that the very nature of how work gets done is changing. These new paradigms are affecting the way organizations orchestrate and execute work. Today’s businesses are trying to drive even higher levels of knowledge worker productivity. To accomplish this, real-time analytics, social interaction and mobile access must be integrated into business operations to allow people change the way they perform their job function.

Michelle launched into her presentation by describing these technology changes as a “Nexus of Forces” that are causing disruption in today’s businesses. Michelle described mobility as the biggest disruption to the way people live and work since the automobile. She described social interactions as brief, spontaneous, and collaborative but being most valuable when they are context sensitive and happen in the “now”. Information intelligence used to live in the heart of the enterprise but now the center of gravity for information is outside the enterprise. Big data without BPM is just a bunch of data waiting to be acted on. And finally, according to Michelle, cloud computing represents the glue for mobile, social and information.

Michelle went on to highlight that the conventional way you manage business processes is no longer enough. Conventional process management focuses on reducing labor costs and improving efficiency and scale. But process standardization and the relentless pursuit of efficiency and scale is not the only approach that needs to be taken. Business processes are assets. Standardized processes are assets that can be reused. Less structured processes are sources of customer insight and mechanisms for differentiating your business through personalized customer engagement. Successful and adaptable businesses balance conventional BPM approaches to process standardization with Dynamic BPM to exploit the business potential in non-routine work.

At this point, I paused to ask the audience what their level of BPM Maturity was. The results were pretty consistent to what Gartner’s research showed:

  • 20% were at Level 1: Process Aware – they know they have business processes problems, but haven’t started a program or project to improve them
  • 40% were at Level 2: Coordinated Processes – they’ve automated repeatable (largely transactional processes) within a department or single group
  • 30% were at Level 3: Cross-Boundary Processes – they’ve connected those coordinated processes from one group with related processes in other groups in our enterprise
  • 10% were at Level 4: Intelligent Goal-Directed Processes – their processes are integrated across multiple organizations and can dynamically adjust to changing business triggers or detected patterns
  • 0% was at Level 5: Optimized Processes – their processes automatically adjust in response to changing business conditions or patterns.

Michelle concluded to encourage people to stop thinking about BPM as just a mechanism for standardizing and controlling processes. Instead, she suggested thinking about the significant and positive business results that you could deliver if you were able to deal with non-routine work and unstructured processes. Don’t just focus on scale and efficiency as process goals. Focus on innovation and customer engagement as you figure out how your organization needs to reinvent the business processes that are disrupted by mobile, social, information and cloud.

To get a sense of how much these “nexus” of forces were really infiltrating people’s business process initiatives; I launched into our third audience poll and asked if any of their BPM initiatives target processes that involve any of the following:

  • 73% indicated non-routine work or unstructured processes
  • 27% highlighted mobile integration or mobile applications
  • 13% indicated cloud deployments or integrations
  • 27% highlighted Big Data and Predictive Analytics
  • 13% indicated Social BPM

Stuart then launched into his presentation by leveraging his many years of BPM field experience to share 4 key strategies that can accelerate maturity in an organization’s BPM programs and support efforts in achieving greater ROI. He went on to highlight the following:

  1. Bring visibility to your BPM program and allow other parts of the organization to see beyond departmental gains, zero in on common objectives
  2. Position your thinking of BPM work as building business architecture foundations not application development assembly lines
  3. Build and implement methodology along with tools to accelerate business outcomes not just stealth applications
  4. Embrace disruptions, BPM is a tremendous foundation to position organizations to manage and implement change

Stuart went on to cite many client examples in support of the above strategies.

The first example was a healthcare organization that was struggling to grow its business because it was not able to effectively manage its sales cycle. Operational inefficiencies were leading to lost sales. By implementing a BPM platform, they were able to connect the underlying processes and orchestrate the prospect management to enrollment lifecycle. They took an external customer view and drove into the internal processes to create better customer experience. This resulted in tremendous ROI by increasing productivity and sales closure.

Another example highlighted the nexus of forces at work. This client was replacing its call center platform because the technology was a limiting factor in their ability to update feature-functions and in addition, the technology platform was old and about to reach its end-of-life. Transforming the call center thru a BPM lens positioned this client to realize greater opportunity. Not only were they able to improve customer handling, reduce operating costs and develop enhanced services, but through process modeling and POCs, they were also able to embrace mobility to identify a whole new market landscape for their offerings. Without designing for business agility and new product development this client would never have seen or been in a position to expand into new markets and offerings.

By the end of the webinar, it was encouraging to see how organizations have really begun to embrace the power of BPM at an enterprise level. It was clear that becoming a customer centric organization is one of the key factors to achieving this. And the opportunity to become a truly optimized Enterprise where business outcomes consistently meet forecasted results is really exciting!

Thank you to all who attended. What a great event! If anyone would like to find out more information on this topic, or just discuss how your enterprise can become truly dynamic, please free to contact me at

Frank Palermo

Executive Vice President - Global Digital Solutions, Virtusa. Frank Palermo brings more than 24 years of experience in technology leadership across a wide variety of technical products and platforms. Frank has a wealth of experience in leading global teams in large scale, transformational application and product development programs. In his current role at Virtusa, Frank heads the Global Technical Solutions Group which contains many of Virtusa’s specialized technical competency areas such as Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (DWBI). The group is responsible for creating an overall go-to-market strategy, developing technical competencies and standards, and delivering IP based Solutions for each of these practice areas. Frank also leads an emerging technology group that is responsible for incubating new solutions in areas such as mobile computing, social solutions and cloud computing. Frank is also responsible for overseeing all of the Partner Channels as well as Analyst Relations for the firm. Prior to joining Virtusa, Frank was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Decorwalla, an emerging B2B marketplace in the interior design industry, where he was responsible for the overall technology strategy, creative direction, and site development and deployment. Prior to that, Frank was CTO and VP of Engineering for INSCI Corporation, a supplier of digital document repositories and integrated output management products and services. Prior to INSCI, Frank worked at IBM in the Advanced Workstations Division, and took part in the PowerPC consortium with IBM, Motorola and Apple. He was also involved in the design of the PowerPC family of microprocessors as well as architecting and developing a massive distributed client/server design automation and simulation system involving thousands of high-end clustered servers. Frank received several patents for his work in the area of microprocessor design and distributed client/server computing. Frank holds a BSEE degree from Northeastern University and completed advanced studies at the University of Texas.

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