Are first projects chosen or do they choose you?

On the Casewise blog last week, they offered a list of key principles on how to select a first BPM project.

It’s a common topic in BPM circles and here are the highlights if you are interested:

  • A process which demonstrates a high level impact, with low risk to the business
  • A well defined process that covers all bases
  • A process with low complexity

via Casewise

It’s a pretty good list and might be as good as any other.

My issue is that it implies a business has committed to BPM or case management technology and then has gone to find a business problem to fix.

In my experience, successful first-time BPM projects more commonly start with a business problem with no obvious cost-effective technology solution. In other words, a business comes to BPM because they have a project rather than going to find a project because they have a BPMS.

I am curious how a business ends up with a BPMS if they didn’t first have a project and a problem to justify the investment. If they bought the technology as an IT platform with no business involvement, I would argue that no matter how rigorously the first project is identified, the chances for overall success on the investment are quite low.

What is the likelihood that BPM will just be viewed as the latest technology fad to solve all our business problems but the business still can’t understand? CRM anyone? How about the next SOA?

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