Posted by: Adam Deane | 04/09/2010

BPM Quotes of the week

On Describing BPM in One Sentence – John Michelsen

Like public transportation – everyone uses it in Europe but here in the US we think it’s a great idea for other people to do.

On the BPM challenge – Neil Ward-Dutton

Much of the excitement about business process management (BPM) comes from the realisation that it can change how business users and IT experts work together to design and implement process applications. And, much of the trepidation about BPM comes from this same realization

On BPM ROI – Ian Louw

BPM is very ‘real’ and has great potential for benefits realisation. Organisations that have taken the leap of faith have proven this and for the majority that have kept up the momentum and focused on finding additional opportunities in their organisations, have gone on to gain incremental value from the adoption of a BPMS and BPM.

On BPM and Bowling – Gary Comerford

Usually they are large entities who have ‘seen the light’ and managed to wangle a significant budget from senior management to implement BPM. They’ve studied what needs to be studied, bought what needs to be bought, have attempted to implement the right things but are working from a position, basically, of ignorance. They don’t really understand what they are doing with BPM. They don’t understand why they are really doing this but they know that with the money and expertise they are throwing at it they should be able to produce something world class. Unfortunately that never seems to be the case

On Chief Process Officers – Jon Strickler

No doubt, the CIO has a good high-level perspective and organizational clout and is home to some of the skills needed. But, making them the Chief Process Officer (CPO) may be a stretch

On Business Technology Optimization – Doug Mow

Process flow work is not easy and certainly not second nature to a vast majority of the general public. There are more companies that are poor at process than there are companies that excel. By its nature any project like this will be matrix managed putting a premium on leadership skills and persuasion.


  1. The problem with BPM is that it’s called BPM – a three letter acronym that immediately creates a technology centric association and slams it firmly into the domain of the IT nerds. We all know that BPM is about delivering business benefits and customer alignment but we all need to be a bit cleverer about how we sell it as a concept. Apple don’t sell laptops, they sell Macbooks – get it?

    • Hi Craig,

      I read your comment, but I had a bit of difficultly understanding your point (sorry, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet…).
      I presumed you were referring to the quote about “Describing BPM in one sentence”?
      Another thing that caught my eye was that your definition of BPM included “delivering customer alignment”, which to be honest, I’ve never seen in a BPM definition before.

      So I decided not to be lazy, and went to your website.
      As I understand, and please correct me if I’m wrong, you are promoting an “Outside-In” approach in BPM.

      “Because of the focus on what we are doing and trying to deliver or please the people we are answerable to – the internal customer then we are doing lots of things that do not contribute to what the customer – ie the person who pays for the goods and services – really needs. That’s inefficiency that none of the existing performance improvement methodologies have been able to identify or drive out. The vast majority of companies are carrying out a huge amount of work that is simply not contributing to what the customer needs adding complexity, cost and ultimately service.”

      If I understand correctly, in a nutshell you are saying:
      Optimisation of a business process should be focused on the customer, not just workflow metrics.
      The metrics shouldn’t be just about reduced time, reduced costs, but also include increased customer satisfaction.

      I don’t think anyone would disagree with adding this approach to BPM.
      Theoretically, everyone would love to say that their improved processes have affected the organisation’s bottom line.
      But how do you turn theory into reality? What needs to change, what needs to physically be done?
      How do you calculate customer satisfaction? (surveys?, less calls?…)

      My biggest question on BPM and “Outside-In” would that given most of the business processes that I see are internal, not external (purchase request, expense approval, finance approval, decision reviews, LOB processes, back-office processes) – How do they fit into the “Outside-In” approach?

      Now I may be way off mark here, and your comment had nothing to do with “Outside-In”.
      In that case my question is simple: how should we sell BPM?


  2. Hi Adam, it was a general comment in relation to all of the comments on BPM listed above.

    I am talking about BPM and outside-in as in my eyes they are the same thing: BPM must always have an outside-in focus if it is to succeed.

    Yes, every process should be aligned to the customer – we call this the successful customer outcome definition. Note it is focussed on “outcomes” – not what the customers think they want and certainly not “customer satisfaction”.

    Sorry to disagree but there is no such thing as an “internal process” – every process in an organisation should be contributing the a customer outcome – or it shouldn’t exist. If we look at processes from a customer experience point of view we start to see how processes hidden away in organisations can be better aligned.

    How do we do it? – it’s remarkably easy. We define our successful customer outcomes look at moments of truth, breakpoints & business rules with processes and seek to eliminate or improve. The focus is on elimination!

    If you’d like to see some practical examples I have a 20 min presentation on my blog (BP Group Sundowner) where I talk about 2 clients I used outside in at. There is also a 3 part post on outside-in which explains it in detail. Also have a look at the whitepaper on outside-in – it’s a good intro.



    How do we sell BPM? Focus on customer outcomes – that’s what apple, google, southwestern airways, zara & virgin do…

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