Category Archives: bpm

The challenge of BPM: “Do more, better, as efficiently as possible”.

Ahead of Ovum’s 6th Annual Business Process Management Forum, we gathered the thoughts of James G Smith, Head of Process & Systems Improvement, Birkbeck, University of London and Tomasz Jasinkiewicz, Account Director, Bizagi. In an insightful overview, James talks about his view of BPM in the context of the Higher Education sector, and Tomasz gives some excellent best practice advice for enterprises that are embarking on BPM projects. James and Bizagi will be delivering a joint case study at the event, entitled Achieve Operational Excellence through BPM: Accelerate administration processes and improve student services. Enterprises can claim a complimentary pass for the event, and solution providers/consultants can register here. Make sure you’re there to join the biggest hitters in the BPM industry!

Ovum: BPM Mantras – please share with us with your favourite BPM or work adage?

James Smith: There’s no such thing as an IT project!

What is your job function with regard to BPM, and what are you most looking forward to at the event?

James Smith: My role at Birkbeck entails both the day to day management of our Corporate Information Systems, and the developmental improvements to those systems, and crucially the business processes that rely on them.

At BPM Forum, I am most looking forward to hearing from professionals in other industries who are facing the same primary challenge – translating business requirements from process owning departments into executable processes – because the difficulties are usually the same, but the creative solutions are often not – which is exciting as it means we can learn from each other.

Ovum: What do you see as some of the key challenges facing higher education, and how can BPM assist in meeting these?

James Smith: The challenges are almost certainly not unique to HE! Do more, better, as efficiently as possible. This is particularly true for our support services – our students are now consumers paying significant fee for their education. We aim to make their experience with us as slick as possible, minimising the impact of non-value-add processes – both in terms of how our students experience them, and the proportion of what our students pay us that we spend on them. Streamlining our processes is critical to this effort.

Ovum: Business and IT often have completely different understanding and expectations about BPM, where do you feel this difference lies, and how do you align these?

Tomasz Jasinkiewicz: There’s often a miscommunication and distrust between the two communities that impedes alignment of strategy and execution which in turn undermines the true value of BPM.

Business stakeholders come with a lot of potentially conflicting requests from BPM – strictly enforcing procedures to increase productivity; quickly and flexibly adapting those procedures which don’t deliver; measuring and analysing the KPIs with all the data in the world – but all immediately and on a single plate. A lot of “what-ifs”, “maybes” and moving targets.

On the other hand, IT quite often sees BPM as yet another integration layer. And they want everything written in stone.

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Jacqui Whiskey, BG Group, on BPM, Process Excellence and Business Change

Jacqui Whiskey, Business Process Lead at BG Group is speaking at Ovum’s 6th Annual Business Process Management Forum, taking place at Thistle Marble Arch on 18th November 2014. She will be participating in an Industry Leaders Panel Discussion entitled BPM as a vehicle to deliver agility and reduce costs – Finding the holy grail, alongside senior representatives from TNT Express and Maersk Group. We caught up with her to talk about the key moments in her career, her thoughts on BPM and her aspirations from the conference.

Jacqui WhiskeyOvum: BPM Mantras – please share with us with your favourite BPM or work adage?

Jacqui Whiskey: Keep in close contact with your customers/end users to understand their changing needs and environment. This will ensure you can react effective and maintain your relationship
At Business Process Management Summit 2014, I am most looking forward to meeting other BPM practitioners, sharing experience and understanding some of the challenges they have faced in the past and the methods employed to overcome those challenges.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career?

JW: Ensure you understand the environment in which you operate and how it impacts you and your business, because we live in a rapidly changing global business environment. Also, build a cross functional professional network that you can call on if you need to. The biggest mistake a Business Process Practitioner can do is believe they can solve everything on your own, there will always be someone who has gone through a similar experience and can share their lessons learnt. A very strong professional network can easily assist you to focus in the right direction.

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?

JW: One of the main challenges of my job is getting Stakeholders to make decisions at the right time and identifying, tracking and delivering benefits against a clear objective. We tend to operate in silos, and if key Stakeholders do not have a vested interest in the success of a project or the authority to make on the spot decisions, it will be extremely difficult realise the planned benefits. Other challenges faced are being able to transition from fire-fighting state to leading the Business Change process.

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew success was guaranteed?

JW: I would implement a central Business Change management team with oversight across all projects and business activities. This high performing team will ensure all interdependencies and its potential impact on the deliverables are identified; mitigation plans developed and effective communication are issued to all stakeholders to reduce the impact of these changes to the business operations. I believe timely, effective and targeted communication with customers and end users will ensure project success.

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‘Is hiervoor geen betere app beschikbaar?’

183x133The second edition of Ovum Industry Congress: Europe takes place at the Amsterdam Hilton on 8 October 2014, and offers complimentary passes to enterprises, presenting a first-class speaker line-up. You can read a review of the first edition, courtesy of Computable, below.

Het Ovum Industry Congres Europe 2013 vond plaats op 2 oktober 2013 in het Mövenpick-hotel in Amsterdam. Het programma bestond uit zes onderwerpen die door de analisten van Ovum in een kort tijdsbestek werden uitgewerkt en onderbouwd met onderzoeksresultaten. Na elke sessie vond een paneldiscussieplaats met zogeheten practice leaders binnen dit vakgebied. Een hoogwaardig congres, waarbij onderzoekresultaten werden gecombineerd met de daadwerkelijke discussies in de boardroom.

ICT van buiten naar binnen

De wereld is aan het veranderen door de inzet van ict. Spraakmakende voorbeelden van deze transformatie zijn: reizen, ziekenhuizen en videoanalyses (denk aan kentekenherkenning en persoonsherkenning bij de opsporing van criminelen). Deze transformatie is gebaseerd op de ict-evolutie van een vaste ict infrastructuur naar het afnemen van dynamische zakelijke diensten. Het wordt dan ook belangrijk dat de cio een belangrijke bijdrage gaat leveren aan het ontsluiten en coördineren van de ict-kennis voor de business. Deze uitspraak is gebaseerd op het onderzoeksresultaat dat meer dan de helft van de ict-afdelingen negeert dat meer dan 60 procent van de medewerkers privémiddelen ook zakelijk gebruikt. Daarbij komt dat steeds meer zakelijke managers beslissingen nemen die voorheen door de cio werden genomen. Een intrigerende trend op het terrein van apps: in het verleden werd elke app als een openbaring ervaring. Tegenwoordig zijn gebruikers veel kritischer. Medewerkers vragen: ‘Is hiervoor geen betere app?’.

Een selectie van uitspraken uit de paneldiscussie:
• Stop met praten over ict, dit wordt onderdeel van de business, net als hr, financiën en verkoop. Be the challenger of the business;
• Het topmanagement spreekt voor 80 procent over uitvoering en voor 20 procent over innovatie;
• Bied zakelijke gebruikers een overzicht van de zakelijke meerwaarde van ict;
• Voel je verantwoordelijk voor de klant van de klant, en dit vanuit het perspectief van marketing, transparantie als vertrouwen;
• Best way of governance: you need trial and error and top-down; een successtory vanuit de praktijk is om deze wekelijks te bespreken in multidisciplinair team, dan weet iedereen zijn rol en invloed.

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OIC speaker interview 7: Martin Stepanek, Consultant, Financial Services Industry, Generali

Our latest Ovum Industry Congress speaker interview is with Martin Stepanek, Consultant, Financial Services Industry at Generali. Martin will be participating in a Financial Sector Breakfast Briefing, and a Business Process Management Workshop at the event, both in collaboration with Business IT Strategy Sponsor, Bizagi.

Martin StepanekMartin Stepanek: At OIC, I am very much looking forward to hearing more about ideas and opinions on transforming workplace productivity and improving customer experience. I have spent the majority of my professional life addressing such issues that I believe helps IT to deliver to Business people cost-effective and “industrial-like” values rather than just being a “manufactory”.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

MS: I have had the luck to participate on several large scale projects/implementations, covering tens of millions of business transactions (e.g. online stock exchange, insurance policy administration systems, nationwide privatisation, etc.). The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is the better understanding of how Business and IT domains relate. This Business/IT relationship comes from the “Business Entity” concept (i.e. in insurance industry: client, insurance policy, claim, coverage, benefit, location, account, etc.). I think that by looking at business entities first, it is possible to address properly both business issues (i.e. processes, people, value, etc.) as well as IT issues (i.e. applications, integrations, infrastructure, etc.).

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?  

MS: The major challenge of my job is the gap between Business and IT. I have seen many scenarios like this:

IT: “Business people do not provide us the right specifications!”

Business: “IT does not deliver what we need!”

In my opinion, the source of this conflict is that analysts and methodologies (Business and IT) are often not able to fully identify and address the complexity issue. By “complexity issue” I mean multidimensional relationships between various components of the business enterprise (e.g. business entities, capabilities, value streams, people, technology, strategy, etc.). I am afraid that traditional methodologies like “Waterfall” are rather “sweeping the complexity issue under the rug” than really addressing it. I think that real value for business can be delivered by understanding complexity issues and addressing them in IT solutions. I can see the emerging areas of Business Architecture and Business Process Management together with the “Agile” approach heading in the right direction.

Meet Martin at Ovum Industry Congress, 13-14 May 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza, London, to discuss these issues and many more. Enterprise IT professionals can claim a complimentary pass, here.