February 23 2010

Since most of the people at Avio seem to have some sort of flu or cold virus right now, it made sense to me to talk about how successful BPM engagements tend to lead to the viral adoption of BPM with an organization.  Most organizations tend to start with small, tactical implementations in order to get their feet wet and see how BPM fits within their IT and LOB functions.  If done properly, initial deployments tend to happen quickly and drive significant results.  As a result, the rest of the organization tends to take notice and the collective light bulb goes turn on.  What happens next is what I call the "BPM Tidal Wave."

The BPM Tidal Wave occurs when, after a successful implementation, other departments within an organization want to hop on the BPM bandwagon and achieve similar results and deployment timelines as the initial project.  As mentioned before, initial projects are primarily focused on delivering a specific project and seeing how the technology, methodology, and implementation fit into the organization.  However, there isn't a lot of focus typically put on establishing best practices, governance, development and deployment standards, project identification guidelines, etc.  As a result, the initial success can actually lead to future failures.  This isn't to say that organizations need to have a complete BPM COE setup before the very first project.  However, the future use of the tool does need to be considered from the very beginning.  The ability to plan and stay ahead of the demands of the organization may be the most difficult part of deploying BPM. 

We have seen numerous organizations who have had to halt various projects being deployed using a BPMS in order to try to get a handle on how each project is using the tool.  Without consistent application, development best practices, etc. the difficulty in maintaining and supporting the various projects can be enormous.  If each project is using different logging standards, troubleshooting support tickets becomes extremely difficult.  Future modifications become much more expensive because new resources have to spend time evaluating how the previous versions of the project were developed before making any changes.  While it is great to have positive momentum and have an organization excited about BPMS based projects, consistency in the application of a BPMS tool is critical.

Here are some items to consider at the beginning of a BPMS adoption in order to plan for the BPM Tidal Wave:

  1. Development Standards -  Naming conventions, logging standards, process design patterns, integration standards
  2. Deployment Standards -  Consistent end user experience, single sign on, user maintenance, testing guidelines
  3. Project Identification -  Templates for project justification, backlog prioritization, standard ROI calculation, consistent delivery methodology

There is no faster way to kill the momentum of a successful implementation than by having the next project not meet expectation.  With a bit of planning and preparation during an initial project, the positive momentum can carry forward and drive significant value in future projects.  Next blog post, I'll discuss the creation of a BPM COE and how the roles and skills contained within the COE can help to drive additional value for an organization.

About the Author

Brandon Dean

Brandon Dean is Executive Vice President for AVIO and focuses his time on building client relationships and directing sales, marketing, and strategy initiatives for AVIO. Prior to joining AVIO in 2008, Brandon spent time in various positions at Oracle, BEA Systems, and Fuego where he built a reputation as a thought leader in BPM strategy and implementation advisory services. 

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