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The 'Secret Sauce' of BPM Success

The business process management market is heating up, and a new report reveals that centers of excellence are the key ingredient of deployment success.

Business process management (BPM) technology is gaining mainstream adoption, but larger firms and particularly those with BPM centers of excellence are enjoying the greatest success.

These are the key findings of a new report from Forrester Research entitled "The EA View: BPM Has Become Mainstream." The report, written by analyst Ken Vollmer, offers detailed analyses of BPM software adoption, deployment maturity by company size, project focus and even vendor selection. But for those focused on results, the report's key finding is that "having a BPM center of excellence significantly increases the odds of BPM success.

Going Mainstream

By all accounts, the market for business process management suites (BPMS) is on a heady growth curve. Gartner projects the market will reach $5.1 billion by 2011, while IDC and Forrester put that figure at $5.5 billion and $6.3 billion, respectively. But how do these market projections relate to actual adoption within the enterprise? "BPM Has Become Mainstream" offers a more concrete perspective backed by two separate research studies.

Forrester reports that about 60 percent of organizations are already using a BPMS, and another 19 percent plan to do so in the next 12 months. These findings are based on a September 2007 survey of more than 400 North American and European technology decision makers. A separate survey of 164 US- and UK-based enterprise architects, conducted last October, finds that 85 percent of respondents are either actively planning for BPM deployments or already have one or more BPM efforts under way.

How far have you progressed with your BPM projects?
"How far have you progressed with your BPM projects?"
(click image for larger view)
Assessing the maturity of BPM deployments, the US/UK study finds that 45 percent or respondents have one or more BPM projects either under way or completed while 42 percent are in the planning stages. What's holding back the remaining 13 percent? Cost and lack of proven benefits or resources are cited as the biggest roadblocks to adoption (see chart at right).

The Payoff in BPM

BPM taking off because "it has become clear to a growing number of organizations that one of the best ways to improve operational performance is through the enhancement of cross-functional business processes," writes Vollmer, adding that technology maturity is also boosting adoption. "Whether an organization is looking to integrate processes, coordinate human tasks, or improve the effectiveness of document processing, there are comprehensive BPM suites that address each of these requirements."

What do you see as the primary benefit of BPM?
What do you see as the primary benefit of BPM?
(click image for larger view)
Examining the result in more detail, among the 142 respondents who either have or are actively planning a BPMS deployment, the top-three realized gains or hoped-for benefits are increased productivity (24 percent), real-time visibility into key processes (18 percent) and the ability to change processes quickly and easily (15 percent). Other perceived benefits include consistent process execution and process optimization (see chart at right).

The US/UK survey also details BPM adoption by company size, noting that "the status of deployments is similar in the area of planning/research, but larger firms [with $1 billion or more in revenue] have a significant lead over smaller firms in having BPM in production in multiple departments." Larger firms are also more likely to have process modeling, process reporting, process optimization and process redesign efforts under way than are firms with less than $1 billion in revenue.

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