Non-traditional’ BPM Industries

Recently we have had a number of meetings with experts from industries which are traditionally not big users of BPM – such as manufacturing, energy & utilities and retail – who have been reaching out to us, since they want to learn more about ‘BPM’. Companies, in these industries are on the whole, either unaware of BPM or adopting it on a relatively small scale. Another thing, which companies in these industries often have a common is that they are big users of modelling tools; as a result there was one common refrain which kept rearing its head – ‘how is BPM different from process modeling?’ – many of the participants believing the two terms to be interchangeable. Typically the response is that BPM offers execution capabilities which a modeling tool does not; but that is not true in these industries where coupling between modeling tools and ERP/SCM platforms (from the likes of SAP and Oracle), meant that the process flows could be built in a modelling tool and then migrated and executed on an ERP platform. This meant that we had to take a different perspective to identify the value which BPM could bring for these companies.

The BPM Advantage over Modelling

When we delved further, we found that in the past, many of the companies in these industries had tried to implement improved process designs in their existing platforms and found the costs prohibitive or the timescales so lengthy that the business benefit was lost. BPM’s agility and ability to be deliver quickly and faster time-to-market is a compelling driver for BPM implementation in these cases. BPM’s tight integration between all aspects from modelling to execution means that changes can be implemented far more seamlessly and allow companies to be more flexible in responding to market changes.

We specifically explored how for certain processes, building in BPM could be quicker, and deliver a more functionally scalable and flexible solution– some of the identified areas included exception processes, or overarching processes covering several silos, where powerful process orchestration is critical, and where enterprise providers often lacked.

Selling the BPM Story

In 2012, for the industries which are large users of BPM, the value proposition is clear, since it offers a way to automate often manual and unstructured processes across a number of disparate systems. For “non-traditional” BPM industries, on the other hand, the value proposition has to be tweaked to better address the specific challenges in these industries and by being more focused in addressing how BPM can add value – be it by identifying specific process gaps in enterprise platforms or by stressing on introducing process agility for those processes which require frequent change.

What do you think could be some of the other key messages should be for those companies now exploring BPM?
Or have you implemented BPM in a non-traditional industry and have stories and successes to share