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.