Gartner BPM: Weaving BPM into the Fiber of the Enterprise

Elise Olding moderated a panel on weaving BPM into the enterprise, with Eric Abecassis, Architecture and Integration Manager with Schlumberger, Jim Boots, Enterprise Architect at Chevron, and Kevin Morgan, Program Manager at Dolby.

Abecassis started with the process-related problems that they had at Schlumberger: processes had to be standardized in order to effectively manage growth and improve execution, reduce the administrative burden on the field people, and improve alignment between business and IT. Their approach was to focus on three main types of activities:

  • Doing the right things (business)
  • Understand the right things (business/IT)
  • Doing things right (IT)

It appears that their BPM projects are primarily driven by IT (although with heavy involvement by the business), in contrast to Chevron, where grassroots business actions drove the BPM efforts. In their case, a business unit had some amount of success, then a few individuals worked at selling the ideas across the company until it was accepted as a broader platform that can be used elsewhere. They’re still somewhat in stealth mode inside their own organization

At Chevron, they learned how to use the tool, then started to play around with how it could be used: looking for emergent applications of the technology. They showed off BPM to anyone who would listen, particularly trying to link it to existing initiatives, and continued to develop their BPM approach as it become popular in other areas. Overall, the grassroots efforts within the business delivered a proof of concept and a core set of advocates, but eventually key management endorsements and dedicated resources were required to make the transition to an enterprise-wide effort.

Dolby is a sort of 40-year-old startup that just went public two years ago, and is going through some major cultural changes to adapt to the changing world of entertainment technology. A management consulting firm provided them with recommendations for reorganization, then when they started to implement that internally, they discovered that this reorganization — a common issue — actually broke a lot of their business processes. He found an interesting effect: internal audit people have great insight into where problems might exist in business processes, and typically have the attention of management to a greater degree than a BPM team, so he worked closely with them.

It’s good to hear some success stories about how organizations are starting to become more process-centric: these stories aren’t just about how a specific implementation worked, but how the organization started to embrace the benefits that BPM could bring.

It’s a bit distracting that the panel members have obviously been told not to mention their BPM vendor by name; they dance around it by describing the tool, how they selected it and how they use it, but never say what it is.

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