A recent post on manufacturing.net points to business process management (BPM) becoming top-of-mind for IT executives. Citing a recent survey by UK-based software company PNMsoft, the article notes “Most IT executives believe that business process management software can create significant revenue and savings increases.”
An article on tech.co underscores the point:
Business processes define how a company operates and stands out from competition. Globalization, increased competition, and the need to adapt to stricter regulations require efficient process optimization in order to achieve operational excellence. Competitive advantage lies in the ability to adapt the business processes to the always-changing conditions in a quick and efficient manner.
This leads some business professionals to go into areas they do not fully understand, like learning how to leverage IT platforms to better manage business processes. When tackling this problem, Business Process Management should be used: a management discipline and a set of technologies that provides support to the process management.
Business process management focuses on improving corporate performance by managing and optimizing a company’s business processes. It can therefore be described as a process optimization process. BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach. These processes can impact the cost and revenue generation of an organization. As a policy-making approach, BPM sees processes as important assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and developed to announce value-added products and services to clients or customers.
The BPM sector is growing significantly, with expectations of a global $10 billion value by 2020, according to a study by Winter Green Research. While BPM software vendors initially focused on the technological implementation layer, today they are providing BPM services with a full range of features and functions.
“It is evident through these emerging trends that IT leaders understand business process optimization is vital to a business’ ability to survive and thrive in today’s digital landscape,” says PNMsoft Chief Technology Officer James Luxford.
The sector’s strong and ongoing growth supports that conclusion.
A recent article on tdwi.org suggests that “big” may be too small a word to describe what is happening with data, as a trio of factors are combining to accelerate the exponential growth of the volume of data that enterprises must contend with: the Internet of Things (IoT); social media; and improvements in database management technology.
Individually, any one of these factors would accelerate the pace of data growth, but collectively they are driving its explosion. As Eric Schmidt of Google reminded us at the decade’s outset, “There were 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003; now that much information is created every two days.”
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is all about optimizing customer interactions and informing every transaction with a customer’s information to make each experience helpful to customer strategy. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are designed to give organizations direct access to all of the information they pull in, and to transform that raw data into digestible analytics and insights that business users can understand. Combining CRM and BI can help a business become a smarter business.
A recent article on PC Magazine gives nine tips for ensuring the integration of CRM and BI platforms, and capitalizing on the deep data synergy the combination enables:
Starting with these questions will give the business a better understanding of the customer experience before layering BI on top.
A recent McKinsey Insight discusses the issue of recruiting and retaining more women in technology organizations, featuring interviews with board members of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code. The publication notes:
Gender diversity remains an issue in technology organizations. The number of young women completing engineering and technology programs has dropped significantly over the past 30 years, and a report from the National Center for Women & Information Technology suggests that a little more than half of all US women who do enter technology fields leave their employers midcareer.
The leaders of Girls Who Code indicate that solving the gender-diversity problem has a two-part answer:
Excerpts and videos of the interviews are included in the Insight, where Jamie Miller, Senior Vice President and CIO at GE; Alexis Maybank, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Gilt Groupe; and Jane Chwick, retired Partner and Co-COO of Technology at Goldman-Sachs shed some welcome light on this important topic.
I highly recommend you avail yourself of this piece, which you can access here.
A recent post on CIO takes on the build versus buy question in enterprise software, framing the issue quite clearly:
A rational build vs. buy decision starts with well-defined requirements. Then potential products are evaluated to measure how well they meet those requirements. If you are considering replacing a homegrown product, include that in the evaluation. It is usually worth starting a new enterprise software project with an evaluation, even if the ultimate result is a development project. So how can the build vs. buy question be answered in a rational way without getting overwhelmed by all the work?
Part of what drives the impulse to build software is the idea that all requirements can be met through the effort. This, the author notes, is a mirage. “Resource constraints mean coding must be prioritized, and some requirements will never be met. Then the team may not fully understand the problem domain, and may not discover unknown requirements.”
A good starting point is using a tool designed for software evaluation and selection. To discover all requirements, reverse engineer features back into requirements: start with the homegrown code to develop a baseline, and then reverse engineer potential replacement products. This effectively builds a list of requirements that includes the unknowns. Importantly, front-loading requirements development drives down project risk.
Once a requirements list is established, requirements must be rated for importance. This not only helps build stakeholder buy in, but also ensures adequate capture of organizational needs.
Doing the math
The requirements should be leveraged to create the RFI/RFP sent to potential vendors. Responses should be scored in software evaluation and selection application, which will automatically do a gap analysis and calculate fit scores. Then the organization can move to the build or buy decision:
Once you have fit scores for the homegrown product and potential replacements, you can rationally answer the build or buy question. Assuming normalized fit scores where 100% means all requirements are fully met, if several cloud or off-the-shelf products have a fit score of 80 percent or more, then buying is the right way to go.
If all commercial products score lower than 60%, there are three other possibilities:
Each of the above increases the fit score. If none of these approaches works well enough, then building the app can be the right way to go.
If an enterprise has an in-house development team, there will always be a push to build. But it is usually cheaper and faster to buy than to build, and as the author notes, “If a problem has been adequately solved in a commercial product, why solve it again?”