Overlooked but Easily Detectable Business Process Defects Will Topple 10 Global 2000 Companies Between Now and Year-End 2014, says Gartner

Analysts to examine the best practices of BPM at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit 2011.

January 27, 2011

Between now and year-end 2014 an intensifying focus on process-related skills, competencies and competitive differentiators will increasingly separate process excellence leaders from the laggards among the Global 2000, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner has identified some of its key predictions for business process management (BPM) in 2011 and beyond.

“A key theme in our BPM predictions for 2011 is the rising focus on making business process improvement (BPI) a core competency of the organisation — and on the capabilities and tools required to gain that competency,” said John Dixon, research director at Gartner. “Increasing process skills in the Global 2000 will further separate the companies with enlightened process experts from those that are simply competent in the basics — and will intensify the negative repercussions and devastating consequences from public exposure of process weakness.”

Mr Dixon added that the practices, tools and resources that organisations will increasingly harness to boost their process excellence include business process competency centres (BPCCs), which Gartner expects to be adopted within the majority of organisations by 2012.

“Those who embrace BPM can do things that others cannot,” said Mr Dixon. “While this is true in 2010, by 2014, BPM will clearly deliver benefits to those who have the competencies, and deny a peaceful sleep to those who do not.” Other key BPM predictions for 2011 include:

Between now and year-end 2014, overlooked but easily detectable business process defects will top 10 Global 2000 companies.

Broken business processes underpin major business debacles, snafus and embarrassments. Many detectable process defects remain undiagnosed throughout the Global 2000, even though today’s state-of-the-art BPM practices and technologies could spot many of these issues before the damage is done.

Companies should build organisational competencies for business process excellence. Invest in the skills and roles (such as business process analysts), tools and techniques (for example, business process simulation), and organisation (that is, the BPCC) that are needed to analyse and improve processes.

By 2015, context-aware computing will be used to rejuvenate at least 25 per cent of “commodity” enterprise processes that are currently perceived as “low value.”

Gartner said organisations that really understand business processes will explicitly or implicitly tier those processes in a hierarchy of value. Through the use of context-aware computing principles such as presence, historical pattern analysis and emotion detection, up to a quarter of these commodity processes can be rejuvenated, made more customer-centric and contribute even more to the organisation bottom line.

Organisations that re-examine and revise commodity processes will find opportunities where none existed before. For example, call centre emotion detection can transform stoic automated call routing into a more sophisticated customer experience while context-enriched, rote transactions (such as address changes, billing inquiries, simple information requests and check-out) can be transformed into cross-selling opportunities as new insight is gained into the “state” of the customer (for example, just married, recently divorced, moving, or joined military).

By 2014, process templates from “nontraditional application vendors” will be included in the shortlisted options for 70 per cent of application purchases.

Process templates are prebuilt business process design, execution and management artifacts that serve as solution accelerators for development, integration and BPI projects. Many factors are driving organisations to consider process templates over traditional applications including: the lack of flexibility in monolithic applications, the need for more visibility into cross-boundary processes, the desire to automate knowledge-based and unstructured processes (which haven’t been part of traditional applications), and the increasing role played by “consumerised IT,” particularly for unstructured knowledge work.

Gartner predicts that, as the application market shifts from monolithic packaged applications to next-generation composite applications, the definition of what constitutes an “application” will become more blurred, enabling many nontraditional application vendors to play in the enterprise application market.

General BPM certification will grow in value but will not be materially relevant to BPM hiring decisions before 2015.

The need for skilled and experienced personnel to lead and participate in BPM activities is clear. What is also clear is the eclectic nature of that skill set and, by definition, the individuals who possess it.

Gartner said that as BPM maturity progresses and the roles within it become more stable, it is natural for the industry to try to create a certification scheme to validate BPM skills and experience to provide recruiters with a degree of confidence that applicants have the core skills required of the job. However, until BPM certification reaches a critical mass and its value is recognised by hiring companies, organisations will have little to act on in terms of selection criteria. For individuals seeking certification, or for employers seeking to “upskill” their BPM employees, the best approach to take today is to consider general BPM certification as an individual development or continuing-education opportunity and to reassess the industry uptake for certification on a year-by-year basis.