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How to plan, implement, and monitor project activities in a way that equals success

If you have decided that a business process management system is right for your organization, you face two major challenges. The first challenge is modeling your business applications and systems and the second is finding a business process management system that fit's the specific needs of your business. To help ensure you choose the right solution for your organization, you must first understand the options that are available to you.

Your first step is to determine the scope of your process management needs. To help you make this determination there are some questions to answer such as what are the most critical processes? How many of those processes are human-centric vs. system-centric? How complex is the IT infrastructure? Should achieving service-oriented architecture be part of the overall strategy? And what are the short-term and long-term process needs? Be sure to involve both business users and IT managers early on in the scope definition and BPM suite evaluation and selection process. Their involvement is critical to the success of any BPM project.

Human-centric and system-based processes are critical to your business and a BPM suite must be able to address them both. There are certain essential features that must be present in your BPM solution to ensure the project's success. Essential features to evaluate include the ability to:

  1. Design and model a process that can be owned and maintained by the process owner. It should be in a graphical format and easily published for process execution.

  2. For easier maintenance, separate business rules, forms and roles from process flow.

  3. Execute and manage simple and complex processes via a robust, scalable process engine.

  4. Eliminate paper by creating online forms that flow through a process.

  5. Use a variety of portals, such as SharePoint, Outlook, the Web, and mobile devices to provide a single user view across an entire process.

  6. Generate reports to facilitate process improvements. Monitor the process activity by obtaining instantaneous visibility into process content and status.

  7. Using live process data to stimulate the impact of process changes and enable real-time changes or to make additions to process flows, roles, and forms.

  8. Leverage your existing infrastructure and extend the benefits you get from BPM across your enterprise by intergrading with a wide variety of disparate applications.

  9. To meet your unique process needs, configure the solution.

  10. The best BPM suites will offer advanced capabilities, along with the essential features. After you have a clear understanding of the BPM essentials and the advanced BPM features that are available in a BPM suite, document what is most important to your organization. Also, document what is not important. In your evaluation document include both functional and company performance requirements.

Narrow the list of vendors by eliminating the vendors who are not BPM suite providers. Evaluate a company's market leadership position, performance, maturity and vision to narrow your choices even further. Maturity of the product, the strength of the product roadmap and the vendor's commitment to BPM software innovation and excellence are areas that should be considered.

While evaluating vendor's, stick to your requirements and criteria that are most important to your organization. When it comes to ensuring the long-term life of your investment, company performance, profitability, customer satisfaction and service offerings are just as important as the product itself.

Implementing BPM technology can increase control and help your organization to be more efficient. Choosing and implementing a BPM suite can move your business forward. Effective business process management practices in your organization is no longer just an option but an operational necessity.

Choosing the right BPM suite will decrease costs, increase your time to benefit, and increase your flexibility in managing and improving multiple processes.

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