Is there YET a universal definition of BPM?

definition of BPMBPM as a concept has been around for decades now… Simply because business process are integral for any organization to exist, and organizations have been around from time immemorial. Along the way, more structured approaches have emerged to define and implement business processes using a BPM products and tools.

Way back in 2007, I was in a BPM workshop when we spent hours debating on the definition of BPM so that all key stakeholders understood it in the same light. At the end, we were unsuccessful :(. We decided to park the issue as reaching a consensus on a universal definition of BPM was not a SHOW STOPPER to make progress in the workshop!

In 2012, again as I speak with many different people who play different roles in the BPM lifecycle, the situation is no different! The definition of BPM still seems to still vary significantly…

In this blog, I have listed the very many different views I have heard in the recent past on the definition of BPM – Again from different voices and view points. Its been interesting to just listen to these views and then to consolidate it all here…

* The Customer View – BPM is the magic wand which will solve all process related problems, improve my top-line and bottom line by X% (where X is really beyond any industry average). Not to mention, BPM will help me achieve this in a very short time duration (short could range from days to weeks to months, definitely not years if BPM is in the picture)

* The Product Vendor View – BPM products have pre-built feature sets which can enable and expedite in building  BPM solutions for customers

* The Analyst View – BPM is a management discipline which can / should be adopted by customers to ensure that they define RIGHT processes using the RIGHT tools and methodologies, capture the RIGHT process KPIs and then focus on continuously REFINING the business processes

* The BPM Practitioner View – Again the definition of BPM depends on the practitioner’s role.

* A BPM Consultant / Analyst views BPM as a structured and disciplined way to define, implement, monitor and improve on your business processes.

* A BPM project manager views BPM as an enabler in the project execution life cycle.

* A BPM Product expert with skills in specific BPM products (like Pega, IBM BPM, OBPM, Progress Savvion, Appian, etc) views BPM as a technology enabler to solve specific business / technology problems.

* The BPM Resource Provider View – As always, BPM skills are niche in the market. And hence a company which provides resources trained or experienced on BPM views BPM as a skill which is always high in demand and always low in supply. And hence, BPM is regarded as an ever green area for individuals to build skills on and upgrade their knowledge.

In conclusion, one’s definition of BPM itself depends on the following

i) The view that you take

ii) Your role in the BPM life cycle


What’s your definition of BPM? Leave a comment to let me know….



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By Nischala @ Wipro | April 16, 2012

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