BPM Success at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Rodney Woods of Tennessee BCBS started out talking about their 18-month history with Pegasystems SmartBPM by stating that you would have to pry Pega out of his cold, dead hands to get it away from him.

His laws of BPM success:

  1. The most important activity in business is improvement: improvement ensures competitiveness; your job is to drive improvement; if you improve the right things, in the right sequence, your business will take care of itself.
  2. Setbacks are not failures; failure is staying the same. Success requires setbacks; winning daily firefights is not progress.

There are four areas of improvement to consider: profit, product, process and people. His key is to make these sorts of innovation second nature, so that they occur routinely within your organization.

He had some good points about identifying the right BPM project, including:

  • Make sure that it’s related to a key strategic business issue: e.g., not just process efficiency, but tied to more effective customer service
  • Get customer and stakeholder input on the issue
  • State the problem as threat or need, not a solution
  • Define the process owner and key stakeholders
  • Focus on the process that is most critical and/or contributes the most

Most of his comments were about organizational issues, not technical issues: strategy, reporting relationships, continuous improvement, and executive support. Many of these were not specific to BPM projects, but any potentially transformational business-technology project. In fact, except for his initial comment, he didn’t really talk about their Pega solution at all; instead, lots of great advice regardless of your technology selection.

That’s it for me at the Gartner BPM summit 2011 in Baltimore; there’s vendor hospitality suites tonight and a half-day of sessions tomorrow, but I’m headed home after a week on the road.

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