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Business Process Management: still siloed

Business Process Management arose in the early 1990's as a response to the largely functional organisation of companies, which was associated with departmental suboptimisation and as a result: client dissatisfaction, inflexibility and a lack of workforce commitment. Business Process Management was supposed to solve these problems, by breaking through the silos of individual business functions and creating more collaboration between departments.

While we have come far since then, in a way we have replaced old silos with new ones; by creating a process, we also create a new silo. This silo will again be associated with suboptimisation, just not of a department, but of a process. Blame-allocation will still be commonplace between managers and employees of different processes. In some cases, we have not even broken through the original silos; For example, just labelling the sales function 'sales process', does not make it a process.

To truly create a process-oriented organisation, we must break through the boundaries of both departmental silos and process silos and facilitate better interaction between departments and indeed even between processes. To facilitate that, we must create a detailed map of the processes that are executed in our organisation as well as their relations. Only then can we fully benefit from what Business Process Management has to offer.

Wil van der Aalst
Wil van der Aalst says:
Sep 18, 2013 11:26 PM
As a follow-up of the panel discussion on "the Future of BPM Research/Publications" at BPM 2013, the discussion on the BPM Use Cases continues and a special BPM issue of the BISE (Business & Information Systems Engineering) journal is in preparation.[…]/BPM-Use-Cases.htm for the current status of the discussion and a request for input. As an exercise, I mapped the BPM 2014 Topic Areas onto the initial (and limited) set of BPM Use Cases. Some areas are orthogonal, but this one is not and I was able to find some links. Feedback is welcome.

Topics covered by the topic area:
* Process model storage
* Process model repositories
* Process model indexing
* Process model retrieval
* Process model similarity
* Process model transformations

Related use cases:
#3 select model from collection (SelM)
#4 merge models (MerM)
#6 design configurable model (DesCM)
#7 merge models into configurable model (MerCM)
#9 refine model (RefM)
Remco Dijkman
Remco Dijkman says:
Sep 30, 2013 10:22 PM
The analysis of the differences between the use cases and the topic area of 'process model management' show new and interesting use cases that can be addressed in the area of process model management. In particular, the topic of process model storage is the natural counterpart of process model retrieval (the SelM use case), and process model transformations are also interesting to look at.
Jan Mendling
Jan Mendling says:
Jan 22, 2014 07:26 PM
There are various things that can be added. For example, we have seen some promising research matching process models. Before merging, a matching needs to be defined of the activities from model A and in how far they are semantically the same as the ones of model B.
We can also raise the level of abstraction and move towards such broad managerial questions as "If I am the manager of a company A that is merging with company B, how can I best find that processes that overlap and standardize them?" Process model collections may be of great help for such post-merger integration once we have suitable analysis techniques.
Pnina Soffer
Pnina Soffer says:
Feb 09, 2014 01:12 PM
I'd like to see approaches that overcome the inherent weakness of activity-based matching - that we match the "how" rather than the "what". At a managerial perspective, it would be interesting to find all the processes whose aim is to accomplish something. They might be completely different in terms of activities. Any suggestion?
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