Fundamentally flawed thinking (for the 21C) is why companies like British Airways and the Detroit car industry are going bust.

I have lifted this from the BP Group Linked-In as it seems very appropriate in terms of Successful Customer Outcomes.

This example tells you much about the demise of many – see – with the quote from CIO Update “A process is a process is a process, whether it is the manufacturing floor or airline passenger check-in. And what worked for manufacturing in Detroit years ago is also working for British Airways.”
(as a matter of fact it isn’t)

This typifies the inside-out thinking which does not acknowledge anywhere near sufficiently the Successful Customer Outcome. It might have worked in the 70’s and 80’s but it just isn’t adequate anymore.

The BP Group and iCMG have a FREE webinar on this theme on Tuesday 2nd June – ‘BPM, Evolving beyond Lean & Six Sigma’ – click this link to join:

We will demonstrate precisely why companies like BA have it wrong, and what you can do immediately to ‘do it right’

A few hours later after this initial post I received a rather terse reply regarding BA in my private mail… which allowed me to follow up as follows:

Oh dear. Given the private comment I have just received it looks like someone is a tad upset and everything is really OK with BA. We are sticking to our guns as the ultimate judge of that is the customer who by buying (more) product and service endorses the business model.

One of the features of ‘inside-out’ companies is the way people blame others for their ills – even though they were the ones responsible for the mess.

If you need more evidence read this interview from last months Information Age which featured their CIO blaming the British Airport Authority (BAA) for the Terminal 5 debacle. All those lost bags, disastrous service, hopeless communications, pitiful systems etc.had nothing to do with the new lean technology (apparently – honestly). No I suppose it was the tooth fairy again eh?

Now don’t get me wrong I would love BA to become hugely successful (as I need to fly their routes often) but the first stage of that is sorting out the mindset within. A good start is truly understanding the only reason you have a job is because of the customer. Get that and then make sure everything you do makes the customers lives easier, somper and more successful.

If BA don’t get it together soon then extinction is their final destination.

BP Group – Global not for profit business club with 32,000 members – FREE membership, join at

LinkedIn – BP Group discussions, presentations, toolkits, video, downloads

BP Community blog– Articles

Customer Expectation Management Method (CEMMethodtm)

Business Process Professional – Certified BPM Training

Summer Webinar Series (free to BP Group members)

Contact the author – Steve Towers
web –
linkedin –
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email – steve.towers @

BPM Weekly Update from the BP Group

BPGroup weekly LinkedIn update (152 discussions, 1815 LI Members)

Video keynote from Gartner conference –
What are the top Outsider-Inners doing –
Top Discussion –
Are “Bolt-On” BPM Systems Running Out of Market Space?
The Best Way to pitch BPM (summary) –
FIVE Webinars in progress –
Business Process Professional training –
Newsletter for May (last week) –

All the Best, Steve

PS. Monthly newsletter next week – new ICMG webinars also

Learn more about business process management – and get certified!

If you’re like most other professionals, the economic downturn has you looking critically at business processes. Want to learn more about that?

In mid-June we are conducting the Business Process Professional course – via the BP Groups Certified Process Professional programme.

Developed over ten years and with more than 7,000 Certified Professionals since 2005 it features the latest case studies, best practices and a complete method for implementing advanced BPM as featured recently on radio and TV.

The course is very well regarded by attendees and takes place in central London. You can get more information here.

BPM Quick Presentation links

For those looking for an handy quicklink to downloads and slides – here you go!
The Summer Webinar series will create several more and update these – details at

BPM CEM method
Here is the website with some
additional background

BPM 1 developing the Skill
– see update in webinar on July 14

BPM 2 bridging the gap
Quite out of date – see webinar on July 28

BPM 3 Succeeding w/BPM in the age of the customer

BPM 4 Building BPM Scorecard
Quite out of date – see webinar on July 21

Choosing the Right Supplier

BPM & Complexity

Any queries please let us know news @

Alan Trefler – The wonderful Wizard of Oz? – Gartner, San Diego

At the recent annual Gartner BPM conference in San Diego, diehard BPM veteran Alan Trefler of Pegasystems (founder and CEO) gave his keynote presentation. Trefler began by reminding the audience that in today’s turbulent economy we are all “not in Kansas anymore” and may just need some fancy slippers to find our way back home to success and profitability.

Get yourself a coffee and revisit the Wizard of Oz for quarter of an hour with Alan Trefler – Video (you will need to register with Pega but that just takes two minutes) Event here

Whatever next “Stargate BPM”? 🙂

Why ERP is (potentially) really dumb

There that’s done it 😉

Here’s part of a discussion underway at and I will start my ‘call to arms’ with a quote from Stephane Haelterman, SAP BPM & SAP Business Workflow consulting:

“Looking to ERP 😉
Most of complexity is often resulting from poor understanding of the system capabilities, poor integration and poor consulting. An ERP is a ‘standard’ system. You can really leverage the power of it if correctly implemented following industry best practices and a good dose of pragmatism and creativity.To my experience, a total outside-in approach will make such a system fail by creating a monster (i.e. AS-IS becoming TO-BE at the implementation).
In case of ERP systems, you should align the outside-in thinking with the inside-out features by composing new processes and applications consuming services from different systems. And there comes BPM to leverage your investment.”

This comment highlights one of the potental challenges we face as we move forward with BPM. So here’s my response:

Stephane – complexity is a ball and chain of existing businesses created by a multitude of things but primarily driven by the change in ‘the customer’.

Lack of understanding of why a business exists (it is the customer stupid) and what processes should be doing (delivering products or services to the customer) causes all that internal specialism and fractionalisation. We have inherited models from the 20th century (and before) which can not and do not cope with the ‘new customer’ who is choosey, fickle and demands excellent service every time.

I am afraid businesses (especially in the service arena) who standardise around ERP are removing their own capacity to differentiate. If everything is the same how can they be different? Of course SAP and ORACLE et al will differ in that view as they are selling products that deliver ‘best practice’ – how can everyone be ‘best practice’? – and those businesses who are truly succeeding do not tell us it is because of their ERP systmes.

In fact the opposite is true. They tell us it is their focus on truly understanding the NEEDS of the customer and aligning everything they do (which doesn’t always require technology) to those needs. That requires ingenuity, simplification and dedication in developing business processes that do not have the burden of the past (take a deep breath) – checkers checking checkers, SLA’s, functional specialists, top-down inside-out hierachy’s, remuneration systems based on ladders, pyramidal thinking with customers ‘at the bottom’ in the ‘front line’ (why the trenches analogy?), top down, left to right process mapping – why is that? measurement systems counting activities, project management approaches that deliver ‘on time to budget’ but miss the point of delivering results… the list goes on and features strongly in the BP Group Process Audit approach (free for those who are interested).

By the way AS-IS and TO-BE is more of that inside-out baggage also!

Mature process organisations (4th wave BPM) are progressively removing all this ‘legacy’ and the really good news is that we have passed the tipping point and ‘outside-in’ thinking and practice is a shining light of success in the middle of the current global recession.

I work with more than a dozen companies who continue to generate profits and are managing customer expectations in new innovative ways without the need for all that old dross. (They are featured in the new upcoming book by the way).

Of course there must be some companies simultaneously reducing costs, improving revenues, enhancing service and exceeding at compliance who are being driven by SAP? Let’s feature them in this discussion and we can compare notes about what drives their success. Or even Oracle for that matter. Come on guys step up to the plate!

You can see the latest on this: