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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.
Measures of Success

What metrics do you use to measure BPM efforts?
"What metrics do you use to measure BPM efforts?"
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Process measurability is seen as a key benefit of BPM, so it's no surprise that adopters make a point of measuring the success of BPM deployments. Among large ($1-billion-plus revenue) firms, improvements in process cycle times and customer satisfaction are tied as the leading measures of success, each cited by 57 percent of respondents. Next are reductions in process error rates and risk, each cited by 52 percent of large-firm architects. Other measures of BPM success (see chart at right) include increases in process volumes (at 48 percent of large firms) and improvements in compliance (at 45 percent).

There are obvious connections among these leading metrics. For instance, faster service and reduced error rates undoubtedly lead to improvements in customer satisfaction. Similarly, lower error rates clearly mean less risk for the organization.

The 'Secret Sauce'

Forrester's report dubs centers of excellence as "the secret sauce" on the strength of "dramatic evidence [that they] contribute to higher levels of BPM success." Forrester defines a center of excellence as "a formally appointed and documented body of knowledge and experience on a particular subject area with the goals of providing expertise, managing governance practices, and supporting projects associated with the subject area." As evidence of the impact of these groups, half of the respondents reporting clear and measurable benefits from BPM have related centers of excellence in place while only 4 percent of those reporting no BPM success have such centers. Forrester also finds that firms with BPM centers of excellence are more successful in meeting enterprise-level goals.

Did the BPM project deliver?
"Did the BPM project deliver?"
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"Specifically, 67 percent of the enterprises that report their BPM efforts significantly exceeded their goals have a BPM center of excellence," according to the report (see chart at right), while "only 14 percent of the enterprises that report no BPM project success have a BPM center of excellence."

It should be no surprise that centers of excellence are associated with organizational commitment and a standardized approach to guiding process improvement — two key requirements of BPM project success cited by the research firm. While these two qualities can exist with or without a competency center, Forrester concludes that "by establishing a BPM center of excellence, the management team sends a message that it is committed to the success of the process improvement effort, and this helps break down internal barriers for the project team."

It's undoubtedly advice that applies (and a "secret sauce" success factor) in nearly any enterprise-level technology endeavor demanding organizational change.

Forrester's complete "BPM Has Become Mainstream" report offers more detail on BPM deployment demographics and vendor choices as well as advice on center of excellence composition and implementation. For a free download, click here (registration required).