BPM templates

I tuned in to a Global 360 webinar today for long enough to hear Nathanial Palmer from Delphi speak about process templates and their importance in BPM (you should be able to find a replay of the webinar here in a few days). He revealed some very telling numbers, soon to be officially released, from a recent survey of over 100 active BPM project participants:

  • 98% agreed that pre-defined templates accelerate BPM deployments. 73% answered definitely “yes”, while the other 25% said “maybe”, and only for simple or standardized processes. I’m curious to know what the 2% “no” contingent was thinking, since it’s hard to imagine anyone not seeming some potential value in a pre-defined solution template.
  • Although few people expect templates to be an application rather than a project jump-start, 70% expect them to be a fairly complete framework with screens, rules, integration adapters and the like. In other words, the respondants definitely expect the templates to be customizable, but they want to have a pretty high starting point.
  • 70% stated that they would be more likely to buy a software solution that had process templates specific to their industry, which seems obvious but is something that many vendors haven’t figured out yet.
  • 76% agreed that the templates should be documented in “business” language rather than being a tool for IT, and one of the key values stated for process templates was to align busines value with IT.

Not surprisingly, SOX compliance was at the top of the list of which processes should be templated, although the votes were pretty evenly spread over all of the business processes surveyed.

2 thoughts on “BPM templates”

  1. I understand the siren call of “templates”, and in light of say, Deming’s insistence on standardized work, templates can help make that a reality.

    However I’m firmly in the “maybe” camp, as I contend that regardless of how one opts to create and distribute process documents, the organization must be prepared and willing to revisit the chosen method and determine if it is meeting their particular needs, or if more attractive alternatives exist.

    I found a PDF recently that contained pictures of IBM’s old flowchart templates (paper forms and a plastic overlay to manually draw each shape). It was probably a hit back in the day, but the limitations of that approach are painfully apparent, today.

  2. Hey, I used to have one of those plastic flowchart templates! Thanks for that nostalgic reminder. To be honest, I often flowchart on paper as a first draft, although I free-hand the shapes these days. 🙂

    I had the feeling that the Delphi survey respondants liked the idea of templates as a way to kick-start their deployments, but wouldn’t use them in the absence of their own process analysis and design. About half of the “yes” camp actually responded “yes, if the templates are suitably customizable”, implying that they’d just use the templates as a starting point, not as a replacement for thinking.

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