Rightly, a recent Gartner report highlighted the fact that organisations are looking to use business process management (BPM) to improve business agility, yet increasingly lack the basic skills to implement this effectively.
This should come as no surprise. On the one hand, there continues to be a dearth of IT skills generally. And, in particular, BPM itself as a philosophy of creating business applications to improve operational efficiency is fairly new. Yet like business process re-engineering (BPE) before it, the instinctive reaction has been to hand the problem straight to the IT team, who are typically using tools that have not been well thought-through.
Specifically, the number of specialists capable of managing the multi-step requirement of taking a business process, understand what it looks like and then turn it into an artifact that is executable, requiring a range of differing skills, are especially rare beasts. So, what to do? Gartner has proposed some ideas on how to decide whether or not to outsource this seemingly complex, iterative process.
Pegasystems by contrast addresses the problem of skills shortage from a another angle, taking a straightforward, if not simple, approach by, in effect, turning the BPM software in on itself. The key here is to recognise that turning something that you perform as a business function into an automated business process – including initial analysis, creation, execution, deployment, management and monitoring - is itself a process.
Pegasystems’ rules-based BPM tools adopt an inherently iterative approach to process improvement. And, critically in a time of unprecedented market change, as a result of its intuitive functionality Pegasystems enables business managers to work with their IT colleagues from day one in developing and adapting business processes to enable the essentially agile and responsive organisation Gartner rightly advocates. Thus, by automating the process itself and involving the business, the need for specialist IT staff is reduced. One final point: as ever in the ‘holy trinity’ of technology, process, people, there is also a need to address the cultural issue of breaking down the departmental barriers by encouraging and training staff to think and operate in an holistic, enterprise-wide way.