Shifting sands — BPM’s business outcome versus its sales pitch

shifting-sandOver the years a constant theme is that the ROI of a BPMS implementation or BPM approach is one of the trickiest to pin down and prove. Whilst you can calculate hard efficiency and headcount benefits (which is always the wrong way to solely measure and plan for BPM success) there are a myriad of intangible benefits which you can’t stick a price tag on for the execs, such as improved workforce culture.

However there are many vendors who talk up the ROI game, wrapping the sales cycle in grandiose claims of large benefits and exceeding business outcomes with a sprinkling of fairy dust and it’s given rise to a bit of a negative trend: that the business slowly changes their original expectations to match those of the sales pitch.

Self-fulfilling prophesies

And of course this also shifts the expectation and definition of a successful BPMS implementation. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and a win-win for everyone. Everyone except the business itself. The real benefits of BPM become eroded once you start to compromise your original intentions to match those of the slick presentation. Who can blame you when the numbers look so compelling ?

But here’s the real deal: a vendor, (in fact any enterprise software vendor) should never distract you from your goals for BPM. BPM is something personal to every organization and as such you shouldn’t have to compromise on what your vision is. Your vision, not theirs. Even when you’re in the throes of a difficult programme you should never lose sight of why you wanted to engage with the BPM beast in the first place.

As Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”  and the same can be said for giving up your true business outcome for BPM in place of one designed by the salesman.

This post first appeared on BPMRedux and has been lightly edited. 

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Categories: BPM

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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5 Comments on “Shifting sands — BPM’s business outcome versus its sales pitch”

  1. June 3, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    Very true. You should always have a “BPM Vision” before you even start looking for a tool. ROI on BPM and ROI on BPM Tool are two different things altogether. If the organization gets caught up in the fancy slide deck – it could lead to a confusing implementation with no clearly visible benefits.

  2. Mark Cotgrove
    June 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    …sounds fine in theory and makes sense in an ideal world. The issue is that the world isn’t ideal and most companies require an ROI case to be built in order to release the funds so it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation…

    • June 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      I agree. This is where I really like the Nimbus calculator that uses a consultative approach and ‘integrity sliders’ to collaboratively come up with realistic ROI.

  3. June 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    When I sit down with a company to develop an ROI analysis, I identify all of the places where returns can be found. I let the customer decide which ones are important to them and I have them place the value in the spreadsheet. The resulting ROI is slanted to their needs and concerns.

    • June 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      Indeed. The only ROI that can be calculated is the one the customer develops themselves, with their numbers.

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