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Process optimisation faces skills challenges

Gartner says organisations lack the entire complement of skills needed to run BPM projects.

As many look to use business process management (BPM) technologies and approaches to help improve business agility, Gartner has warned that many lack the skills needed optimise their business processes effectively.

Michele Cantara, Gartner research vice president, said BPM systems and software development practices could help support better ways of doing business, but that many organisations were stuck in management approaches that were too rigid.

"Successful BPM requires an agile iterative approach to process change," said Cantara. "Many internal IT organisations and external service providers (ESPs) are still practicing business process re-engineering, using waterfall' software development methods and calling this BPM'."

She said that real BPM should enable business stakeholders to work more collaboratively with IT to develop systems that support optimised processes. But "most ESPs do not possess the governance, modelling and change-management skills to effectively foster this collaboration," she added.

Cantara identified ways to help organisations determine what BPM skills gaps lie in the way of successful of process optimisation projects.

The steps emphasise a thorough understanding of the sourcing options available, both internally and from third party outsourcers and consultancies, alongside flexible management of multi-sourced BPM projects. And they suggest a common business and IT language and clear change management structures will help maintain proper governance processes.

The advisory warned: "The transformation will more than likely alter your company's structure and corporate culture, as well as the way in which your company interacts with its partners and suppliers."

So once the proper frameworks are established, the need to identify gaps in both business and IT process change teams and systems, as well as find appropriate people to champion, sponsor, direct, architect and develop a project are key to giving a BPM project the best chance of success.

"ESPs can help with any of these skills, but an organisation must ensure that its services contract with the ESP emphasises knowledge transfer and mentoring, so it can eventually become self-sufficient," Cantara wrote.

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