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Software Can’t Always Solve Process Problems

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IBM is a major player in the corporate business process modeling (BPM) software world. However, they’ve starting going after smaller organizations.

Over at, a story by Mark Cox explained their new offering. Unfortunately, that article has since been removed, but we did snag some excerpts from it:

BPM Express is a midmarket version of its Business Process Manager solution…[and] has a limit of 200 users and 4 CPUs.

BPM automates routine business process, such as billing, shipping and expense reports. IBM says BPM Express can reduce process cycle time from 30 days to seven days, leading to a reduction of up to 80% of manual work.

That’s a pretty exciting claim to process experts and mid-sized businesses. But perhaps the most astounding message came from a quote by Ron Kline, director of marketing for IBM’s mid market business:

“Almost 70% of companies are looking at something around BPM in the next year and a half,” Kline said. “BPM Express has the robust capabilities of our full blown tool but is geared and priced for the midmarket, and is very competitively priced.”

The claim that more than two-thirds of businesses were looking at business process modeling in the next eighteen months seems astounding.  In fact, some studies indicated that many people aren’t even aware of process as a discipline.

The IBM website further details the advantages of the product.

IBM Business Process Manager Express provides:

  • Full process visibility improves productivity and supports process improvement through analytics.
  • Real-time collaboration between business and IT for facilitating task management and communications, helping to ensure project accuracy and timely completion.
  • Lifecycle governance using the Process Center, a scalable and centralized, common design environment and asset repository.
  • Mobile enablement allows process design, optimization and execution virtually anywhere and at any time, using smartphones or tablets.
  • Includes case management capabilities that support structured, goal-based and hybrid process patterns.
consulting surprise

© Flickr user typexnick

Our business consultants discussed IBM’s purchase of Lombardi, and the creation of BPM components that aid workplace productivity for SalesForce. These are great software packages, and if your organization already understands the value of business process we encourage you to consider them. But if you’re still struggling to identify everyday workflow while staying on top of details, software is not the answer. Instead, your organization must become process-centric.

The visibility that BPM Express provides can certainly help you become process-centric, but it’s not the only step needed. Yes, a software that streamlines a process is a good thing, but that doesn’t matter if those in your organization don’t know why it’s valuable to streamline those processes. If your organization doesn’t have any tangible goals, then what will it matter if you have real-time analytics to analyze your process?

In today’s era of obsession with the newest tools and apps, too many people jump into whatever they find may help with productivity, efficiency, process, etc… But if you aren’t thinking about why all those things are important and mapping out clear goals for where you hope to get with this new software, then there really isn’t any point. Tracking your calories doesn’t matter without a goal for the calories you want to hit each day. Tracking your miles walked doesn’t matter unless you know why you want to walk a certain amount of miles. And buying software that could optimize the workflow within your company doesn’t mean a thing unless you know what direction you want that software to take you.

Still searching for where to begin? Doesn’t hesitate to learn more by reaching out to our business process transformation team at AccelaWork. We’d love to help you get ready to adopt BPM.

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