Monday, May 21, 2007

BPM and ECM again.....

Its now sort of official so I can talk about it here - I am currently developing a training scheme on the topic of BPM (Business Process Management). Business Process change and workflow have long been my first love (work wise at least!) and so this is something I am enjoying very much.

It is in the handling of business processes - that ECM projects stand or fall. As I have said often, the failure rate for ECM is staggeringly high - and the reasons for this are manifold. Poor selection techniques, under budgeting etc etc - but at core its the business processes. ECM exists to help you manage information and information is always related to a business process. Yet as we know all too often ECM systems often become expensive static vaults.

In researching for the training course, I am frankly shocked at the level of consulting and analysis skills in the marketplace. When I myself was doing this kind of work in the mid to late 90's every business analyst knew how to accurately capture requirements, model processes etc etc. But so many of those skills seem to have fallen into redundancy in the past 10 years.

My hope is that this course in some small way can provide some hardcore skills training to the marketplace - and though its certainly important to talk about BPM technologies (and the course does) its more important ultimately to talk about the skills to manage processes - these are as much ECM as BPM in nature.


Tom said...

In researching for the training course, I am frankly shocked at the level of consulting and analysis skills in the marketplace.

I wish I were also shocked, but I'm not. I've seen plenty of projects capsize because the people handling the business requirements (1) didn't do a good job understanding the real use cases, (2) didn't act as advocates for the users, (3) didn't understand the technical issues, or (4) let different groups pile on so many requirements that it was impossible for any project to be a success, let alone get to Phase I.

Having worked in a few companies in this biz, I'll say one thing: higher education CIOs seem to have a higher success rate with ECM projects than their peers in other industries. Among other reasons why, I've certainly seen their IT organizations, on average, do a superior job collecting and championing requirements.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,
How do I get more information about this course you are putting together?

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Hi Cathleen,
the training courses will be launched in September globally. They are in conjunction with AIIM (though CMS Watch will teach some of them).
There are two main courses BPM and IOA. The BPM course looks at those core skills to bring about change in depth. The IOA course (Information Access and Organization) looks at the skills need for effectively managing content (Taxonomies - Search - Browsability etc).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alan, I'll watch for it in Sept!

Anonymous said...


I echo your thoughts. From my experience a few reasons for the marginalizing of process work with ECM projects is that (1)the oversell of BPR left a bad taste in everyone's mouth regarding process work, (2)the business is typically adverse to putting the time and discipline into the analysis that needs done to elicit the process details,(3)the consultants/IT usually take the path of least resistance and rather than walk away from projects that minimize the value of process analysis they move forward usually with technology as the focus, (4)most people tend to view process work as only beneficial to manufacturing environments (e.g.6 sigma, etc.).
Dave Smigiel