Customer Orientation: The Overlooked Driver of Sustained BPM Success

Many companies have eagerly embraced the principles of Business Process Management (BPM) over the past decade. However, in hindsight, it is clear that results are not quite as positive as they first appeared. Recent studies suggest that the BPM success rate (i.e., the frequency with which BPM initiatives achieve, sustain, and continuously improve on performance targets) may be as low as 20%. Many executives confirm that the promised early savings from BPM has quickly dissipated. In short, benefits are not sustained over the long term.

What has gone so wrong?
A core problem is that companies often undertake BPM too narrowly, viewing the issue solely as a matter of identifying and grouping related business process activities, often defined through the short sighted “lens” of the internal customer. This is compounded by a focus on related information and data which further reinforces a ‘within the walls’ view of process. Although some would argue this approach is core within the BPM philosophy, it is simply ‘not of this time’ and doesn’t understand the changed needs of the 21st century customer.

If BPM benefits are to really stick and continue to drive on-going value, much more is required—companies must adopt a new perspective on process which is driven from the ‘Outside-In’. This imperative requires companies to identify their ‘real’ customers – the ones who generate revenue and sustain the organisation – and empower the “process leaders”—the business unit or functional managers who lead the revitalization of business processes and who are accountable for its success.

We articulate this shift to Outside-In thinking and delivery as going way beyond the inner confines of legacy BPM. It liberates the people in the organisation to get on with doing what they know achieves results in both the immediate and long terms. That is achieving Successful Customer Outcomes.

Is your BPM initiative on track? How are you measuring its success? Are you really delivering what is needed in the short term? How’s about ensuring the success that is needed in the long term?

Outside-In (aka Advanced/Enterprise BPM) measures success simply.
For instance in the last year by how much have you achieved simultaneous (a) reduction in costs, (b) growth in revenues and (c) improvement to customer service? Ultimately it is about changing to this customer perspective and achieving these on-going results. Leading companies of the 21st century are already delivering on that promise.

Are you inside-out or Outside-In?

Advanced/Enterprise BPM aka Outside-In

Thought we should post this before it dissolves into the data quagmire that Linked-In is:

What is Outside-In?

1. Outside-In is a philosophy and method of managing an organisation by understanding and delivering Successful Customer Outcomes.

2. Outside-In Process optimizes value-delivery to customers. By fusing customer-driven process with customer-centric strategies, O-I creates successful customer outcomes (SCOs) – the foundation for achieving sustainable growth and profitability in an increasingly buyer-driven marketplace.
(Customer ProcessOne Council, May 2010)

There are many accreditations in the process space. This BP Group community is sponsored by which in turn advocates the Certified Process Professional qualification
( ).
There are four levels of recognition:
Certified Process Practitioner (CPP-Practitioner)
Certified Process Professional (CPP-Professional)
Certified Process Master (CPP-Master)
Certified Process Advanced Master (CPP-AdvMaster)

A significant part of that hands-on learning is focused on Outside-In and includes discussion of various methods such as CEMMethod and High Yields approach ( ).

There is a rapidly developing cadre of people and organisations delivering Outside-In training, consultancy and advisory services with case studies, presentations and podcasts at

The 18th Annual BP Group conference will have a strong flavour of Outside-In with notable organisations who are the pioneers of Outside-In present and delivering case studies, tutorials and workshops. We will be publishing details of that event in Florida in January in the next few days.

The above links are for reference however if you do want a more commercial discussion and personal recommendations drop us a line and we can progress your needs! 

Not least of which is the fifth book – Outside-In, now in its third edition ( )

How do you start the journey to Advanced BPM/Outside-In?

If I scan the fifteen or so new OI initiatives in large corporations I have worked closely with (in the last three years) I would say 80% of that work is through what you can think of is a 1-2-3 project cycle.

1. Start where you are – deploy, for instance the CEMMethod 21 techniques, especially the Moments of Truth, Breakpoints and Business Rules, in whatever is your remit. Just get going.

2. On the back of that success move upstream and downstream in the particular process. You will have internal advocates at this stage who understand how to do this stuff. At this point the fun and the wildfire starts 🙂

3. Take the ‘boil the ocean’ proposition to the top team. Ask for the biggest current organisation wide challenge and relate the internal benefits (Project 1&2, the external case studies, the videos of the CEO’s, the HBR articles, the Business week case studies blah blah) They will love the talk of results – reducing costs, improving revenue, enhancing service. Whenever have you talked to a top team and somebody has turned round and said those elements were not part of this years agenda eh?

Bingo – six months in and you’re on the organisation wide Outside-In transformation. 

There is an active thread started by Dick Lee on this theme at  

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