Was 2009 the year BPM really died?

Thomas Olbrich

Thomas Olbrich
Co-founder and Managing Director at taraneon Process TestL
Saarbrücken Area, Germany

Downsizing, cost cutting, re-aligning to new realities, survival, new business models … 2009 has offered so many challenges to which process owners might have provided not only answers but solutions. And on the whole they have failed:

Failed in that we’re still spending an unacceptable amount of time on process discovery

Failed in that we’re still insisting that automation is a type of management

Failed in that we’ve still not understood that processes either create or destroy value

Failed in that we’re still thinking that any improvement of our internal processes will automatically lead to improved customer processes

Failed in that we’ve still not understood the difference between process projects and process operations

Failed in that we’ve not linked processes to business strategy

Failed in that still we’re using the term ‘process’ as a figleaf to cover functional orientation

Failed in that we’re ignorant of how changing circumstances affect processes

Failed in that we’ve refused to hold process owners accountable for the mess they are administering

Failed in that 20 years after the first big reengineering wave and 10 years after BPM became fashionable to talk about, we have still not managed to create a process mindset

And we’re still wondering why senior management refuses to believe in the value of processes – other than as a theoretical concept? I dare anyone to explain how all the nice sounding process predictions for 2010 a la cloud, SaaS, green processes, BPM 3.0 etc. will make things any better if we first don’t adress the basic issues we’re facing. Looking to the future is one thing but without learning the lessons from the past (http://bit.ly/7fMaAY) the future will just pass us by.

(Sorry about this rant, it’s been a good year from a business and personal perspective, so no complaints there, but I really thought that 2009 would have pushed BPM to a new/higher level of contributing to business excellence)


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