October 2006 Business Process Improvement Survey: Pushing for a Process Edge

By Allan Alter  |  Posted 10-27-2006

You can buy a used copy of Michael Hammer and Jim Champy's 13-year-old book, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, on Amazon.com for a penny; a new copy will set you back 49 cents. But while business reengineering is now out of favor, its less radical cousin—business process improvement—is very much in vogue. Sixty-six percent of respondents to this month's survey say BPI is their IT organization's No.1 priority, and more than 90 percent are conducting more process-improvement projects than they were two years ago.

The good news is that IT executives feel well prepared to carry out this mission. IT staff members have a good grasp of their company's processes, while CIOs have established effective relationships with the business side. And new technologies are helping users gain more control and flexibility over business processes. Still, the path to BPI continues to be bumpy. One obstacle is cross-functional cooperation. Because most BPI projects target cross-functional processes, cooperation between departments is key; yet only one in three respondents says their company's various departments are effective at coordinating processes. Data integration remains another obstacle, despite successful experiences with SOA and Web services. Finally, vendors take heed: Many technologies and services most directly targeted toward the BPI market are failing to meet our respondents' expectations. There's plenty of opportunity for BPI progress.



For more data and analysis, see CIO Insight's Research Center blog at go.cioinsight.com/researchcentral

Research Guide:

  • Finding 1: Improving business processes is the top priority for many IT executives, especially at small and midsize companies.
  • Finding 2: Although process improvement is a priority, the pace of change is moderate.
  • Finding 3: Business process software and services often fail to meet expectations.
  • Finding 4: New integration technologies are starting to displace older enterprise applications.
  • Finding 5: Much more can be done to automate business processes.
  • Finding 6: Coordination between departments, not IT's working relationship with departments, is the major stumbling block to BPI.
  • Finding 7: IT struggles to support the marketing, human resources and sales functions.

    Read our previous surveys on process improvement:

  • Top Trends 2006: The Pursuit of the Frictionless Business Platform
  • Necessity Is the Mother of Velocity
  • Focusing IT on Innovation Will Come Back Into Vogue
  • Mobile Devices Will Become Strategic Necessities
  • Mobility + Collaboration = Productivity
  • Process Management Revs Up
  • The Real-Time Enterprise 2003: Can You Keep Up With Business Change?
  • Business Process Management