Project Pointers

Select the right technology. Great planning and a great team won’t save you if you pick the wrong system. Is the process you are seeking to automate one that is quickly resolved, or does it go on for months? One system might handle the former better than the latter. Teubner says the right business process management system for your company will include business-friendly tools and an easy way to make changes. Just don’t skimp on resources, either in human terms or software. For want of a well-tuned app server, the process improvement can be lost.

Plan to use it wisely. When you buy a system, you will likely envision a wide range of scenarios in which it could be used. But for your first use of a BPM system, plan a project that will bring high-value parts of the company under control fast. The quick win can translate to big gains in subsequent implementations. Make sure that the software you choose is flexible enough to plan for change. Also plan for plenty of training: Yes, the new automated system should seem familiar to users of the manual version. You don’t want the new effort to get hung up on human roadblocks.

Remember your team structure. Too many business process management systems have forgotten that the first word in the name is “business,” Teubner says. A successful implementation puts the business side in charge, but respects the techies—and leaves plenty of room for change. New modeling tools make it easier for the business side to see the impact of their decisions, but Teubner thinks it is critical for the I.T. side of the team to include veterans with solid tech skills.

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