Posted by: Adam Deane | 20/12/2010

BPM in The North Pole

BPM and SantaI don’t care about your “old ways” scolded Mrs Claus. We have to start scaling up.
There are more children now on the planet. Last year you were lucky that many of them were naughty and you that didn’t need to bring them a present.
You arrived home just a few minutes before daybreak. It’s not a sustainable model. We need to be more efficient.

What do you suggest? asked Santa.

I’d like to try and implement a BPM programme, replied Mrs Claus.
I want to go over our work processes with the elves, check and see if we can make them more efficient.

What’s wrong with our existing processes, enquired Santa. They seem to be working just fine. We’ve been using the same processes for the thousands of years.

You’ll be surprised, said Mrs Claus. I’m betting that we’ll find quite a lot of inefficiencies and broken processes.
I’m looking to will bring in BPM software to help us automate some of the administrative tasks like answering letters, complaints and special requests.
I’d also like to start using business rule policies to decide if a child has been naughty or not. The way we currently do it is flawed. We are not consistent with our decisions, nor do we take into account history events to see if the child’s behaviour has improved.

But that’s my main job! Protested Santa. Deciding if a child has been good or bad.

We are just making the process more efficient, explained Mrs Claus.
Children with a good behaviour history, and have no new reports of incidents will be automatically approved.
This will enable you to spend more time on badly behaved children, maybe find the source of their bad behaviour and fix it.

Makes sense, said Santa. What else does this system do?

It will provide us with more visibility and transparency over the whole process. See which of the elves are slacking, which are spending way to long on a task.
I noticed that the elves painting the wooden horses were spending days choosing and painting the right kind colour for the horse’s eyes. It’s a waste of time.

I disagree my darling, said Santa in a deep voice. We take pride in doing things just right. Quality is important.

Yes, yes, quality is important, so is delivering on time, replied with a frown
The wooden horses are for the good boys. 14% of boys are colour-blind anyway, and I don’t believe little boys care about the colour of the horse’s eyes.
Look, said Mrs Claus in a flutter. We have to decide what to invest our time and energy in, so we can deliver the toys on time without compromising on the quality. That’s what the BPM monitoring and KPIs are about.

I’m still not sure about this, said Santa. It seems to take away the festive spirit of our work.

Look, said Mrs Claus decisively. The more time we save, the more time you have to spend down at the Lapland pub!

Ho, Ho Ho.. I’m in, said Santa.

That Christmas, children of the world received their presents earlier than usual.
The approve/decline button that was attached to the present was a bit unusual… but as we know – children are very adaptive.


  1. Adam, congratulation on the sales job using the horse painting example. Better than ‘coffee making’ or ‘vacation requests’. Good explanation on how BPM is being sold without knowing from where the knowledge for the processes would come and how long it would take to implement them. I like how Mrs. Claus was involved and how eager she was to get him out of the house. (Must be that cute elf helping her.)

    The sales job is even more impressive, because Santa Claus doesn’t need to optimize neither cost nor time because he clearly works on a quantum level via superposition so that he can do everything at the same time. He doesn’t need more than 10 to minus 37 second to produce and deliver all toys. It is so fast that many propose that we can’t even prove that he exists. Some hope that the LHC Large Hadron Collider built in Switzerlerand for that purpose will finally deliver proof. Others won’t be convinced by physics. Lady Gaga even bit off a Santa Doll’s head to document her disbelief.

    It’s all a matter of faith. But then again, people who are willing to believe in Santa Claus are quite prone to believe that BPM will bring agility to a business.

    • Max, Excellent response, as usual… :->

  2. Look at this:
    (Santa, the original enterprise architect)
    Pretty impressive, given that the delivery rate is already above 100% 🙂
    But… a good team doesn’t justify negligence in selecting methods and tools.

  3. Have a look at this:
    (Santa, the original business analyst)
    Quite impressive, given that productivity is already far above 100% 🙂 .
    Anyway, a good team is not an excuse for neglecting the selection of the best methods and tools.

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