BPM for dummies: Book demystifies business process management

Business process management (BPM) is a popular topic at manufacturing and supply chain conferences. But it appears that industry executives still have more questions than answers when it comes to understanding BPM. And that particular fact inspired an addition to the now-famous “for dummies” book series.
By Sidney Hill, Jr., executive editor April 15, 2008

Business process management (BPM) is a popular topic at manufacturing and supply chain conferences. But it appears that industry executives still have more questions than answers when it comes to understanding BPM. And that particular
Three executives from Software AG , a supplier of software for integrating and optimizing business processes, collaborated on a 72-page tome titled BPM Basics for Dummies that was released this spring. Bruce Williams, VP and general manager of the Software AG’s BPM Solutions Group, is one of the authors.
“Everyone understands something about BPM,” Williams said in a recent interview. “But it’s such a broad topic that has been applied across so many different industries that everyone seems to have
The biggest misconception about BPM, according to Williams, is that it is a technology. Williams says this mistaken belief stems from the term BPM having been coined by technology analysts and the fact that most BPM initiatives still are spearheaded by IT groups.
“First and foremost,” Williams stresses, “BPM is about people and what they do every day to collaborate . . . and improve business performance. Secondarily, it’s about processes. Only at the third level do you get to the technology. Essentially, BPM is an umbrella term that refers to the methodologies and processes—as well as the technology—that businesses employ to move both people and systems in ways that optimize business performance.”
While it may be the tertiary element in BPM, Williams says technology is essential to the proper practice of the discipline. In fact, he argues that recent advances in technology—specifically platforms that enable the building of service-oriented architectures (SOA) and the modeling of business processes—are what made BPM possible.
“There used to be a lot of programming going on in IT shops,” Williams relates.”BPM is a movement away from that and toward getting IT people to speak in more business terms. The idea is to do less programming of applications and more assembling and orchestrating of
This movement started, Williams adds, when companies like Software AG started building application integration platforms that have since evolved to accommodate things like process modeling and the actual integration of business processes.
When used properly, Williams says, BPM technology can blend with methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma. The result, he adds, are that those methodologies
For a better grasp on BPM, and how it can impact a business, William suggests visiting www.softwareag.com/bpm , to download a free copy of BPM Basics for Dummies .