2.0 Value and Definition of the BPM-Discipline

Research involving over 90 organizations around the world of different sizes and in different industries has shown that companies who use BPM on an ongoing basis get significant value in return (Kirchmer, Lehmann, Rosemann, zur Muehlen, Laengle, 2013) (Franz, Kirchmer, Rosemann, 2011). Basically all surveyed organizations state that the transparency BPM brings is a key result. This transparency is on one hand a value by itself: It enables fast and well-informed decisions which is, in the volatile business environment we are living, crucial for the success of a company. On the other hand BPM and the transparency it provides also helps to achieve other key values and enables the systematic management of the trade-offs between those values. BPM enables four key “value-pairs”:

  • Quality and Efficiency;
  • Agility and Standardization (Compliance);
  • External Networks and Internal Alignment; and
  • Innovation and Conservation.

Let’s look at an example. A company wants to improve its call center process. Only few sub-processes are really relevant for clients and their willingness to pay a service fee for them. Hence you improve those sub-processes focused on “quality” aspects. Other sub-processes are more administrative. Clients don’t really care about them but they are important and need to be executed well. Hence the prime focus on those processes is on “efficiency” (mainly cost or time) aspects, using appropriate BPM approaches. BPM delivers the transparency to achieve both values and end up with the highest quality where it matters and the best efficiency where this counts most. BPM helps to identify where it is really worth thinking of process innovation and where you can conserve existing good practices. Since an organization only competes with 15-20% of its processes, it is key to identify where innovation pays off. This is again possible though the transparency BPM delivers. The values BPM delivers are shown in figure 1 (Kirchmer, Franz, 2013).

Figure 1: Values delivered by BPM

In general, all those values are important for an organization. However, depending on the overall business strategy, companies focus on a subset of those values. These values and the underlying strategic objectives need to be realized across organizational boundaries within a company and beyond, while focusing on creating best results for clients.

In order to achieve those values consistently it is required to establish BPM with its infrastructure as an ongoing approach to run an organization (Alkharashi, Jesus, Macieira, Tregear, 2015) (von Rosing, Hove, von Scheel, Morrison, 2015). BPM becomes a management discipline.

We define BPM as the management discipline that transfers strategy into execution – at pace with certainty (Franz, Kirchmer, 2012). Hence, we refer to BPM as the BPM-Discipline (BPM-D). This definition shows that BPM uses the “business process” concept as vehicle for a cross-organizational strategy execution, including the collaboration with market partners like customers, agents, or suppliers. The execution of the strategy can be people or technology based – or a combination of both. This definition is consistent with newest findings in BPM related research (Swenson, von Rosing, 2015). In addition, it stresses the value that processes management produces and its key role as strategy execution engine.

The BPM-Discipline addresses the entire business process lifecycle, from design, implementation through the execution and control of a process. Hence, it handles the build-time as well as the run-time phase of a business process. The definition of BPM as a management discipline is shown in figure 2. We refer to it as the BPM-D® Framework.

Figure 2: The BPM-D® Framework: Definition of BPM as Management Discipline to Execute Strategy



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