Why do 70% of BPM initiatives fail?


I keep hearing about a 70% failure rate for BPM and I think we need to gain an understanding re how many BPM initiatives quit when the job is 1/2 done before we can state that 70% of BPM initiatives fail.

Initiatives undertaken with determination that funding will terminate at the 50% stage, have no chance of success so they should excluded from the statistics.

Many organizations I become involved with just don’t seem to have the desire/ motivation/budgets to take things beyond paper process maps. (the half-way point).

Not sure how much of this is due to a technology disconnect between process mapping on paper and putting process maps in-line to guide the processing of instances versus failure to develop a plan and ROI that properly funds an initiative.

It has always been clear to me that in the case of complex processes, staff cannot be expected to make consistent use of mapped processes when these remain paper-based.

For this class of process, you have to put your processes in-line and this involves carving up processes into steps and posting steps to staff intrays on the basis of skill/availability. That, after all, is what task management is all about. You need an automated seamless way of compiling paper process maps to get to this stage.

So, my question is how many BPMS actually allow organizations to carry out ‘Business Process Management’?

Modeling is not the same as encouraging people to make consistent use of best practice protocols so that outcomes will improve. Motivation results in people giving the impression of being on board but they quickly revert to their old ways- the facts are there simply is no way to improve outcomes without a methodology and a set of operational tools that allow you to keep things on the rails at the individual instance level.

We know exactly how to encourage consistent use of best practices – for starters BPM is not the solution where knowledgeworkers are heavily involved at process steps. These people know what they have to do and they just go about doing it, they may follow protocol or they may not, besides, there are many situations where ad hoc interventions become necessary. ACM/BPM is the preferred methodology in this case.

Straight away, this tells us it’s not tasks we need to manage but rather handoffs across staff and more importantly, handoffs across functional units. These are key because most processes include steps that require different skills and most processes span multiple functional units.

In the absence of a breakdown of the 70%, there is not much any of us can do except promote methodologies and tools we feel give results.

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in critical infrastructure protection, healthcare, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, job shop manufacturing and b2b organizations. (C) 2010-2017 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Adaptive Case Management, Automated Resource Allocation, Business Process Management, Operational Planning, Process Mapping and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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