Gartner Says Organisations Can Experience As Much As a 20 Per Cent Cost Savings within First Year of Using BPM to Improve Business Processes

BPM Best Practices and Tactics to Be Discussed at the Gartner BPM Summit 2009, March 23-25 in San Diego

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As companies try to find cost optimisation opportunities during the economic downturn, business process management (BPM) investments can provide a cost savings of as much as 20 per cent within the first year of implementation, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts have said organisations can achieve the payback from their BPM implementation within a year.

"Economic woes are driving increased usage of BPM as a cost-cutting mechanism for survival. We are seeing one-third of companies increasing their investments in BPM," said Michele Cantara, research vice president at Gartner. "BPM makes business processes visible to both business managers and IT, allowing them to work together and change processes more quickly and effectively. In today's troubled economy, companies need to continually reduce costs and rapidly react to market changes."

At the upcoming Gartner BPM Summit 2009, to be held March 23-25 in San Diego, analysts will be providing detailed analysis on the best practices and tactics companies can employ to have a successful BPM strategy. This event follows Gartner's BPM Summit 2009 that was held in London in February of this year.

At the London event, attendees were asked about the impact the economy was having on their business. Gartner estimates that 70 per cent of attendees were from companies that are in "survival" mode and their organisations view BPM as a lifeline keeping them above water in the economic crisis. Approximately 20 per cent of attendees said they were "thriving with BPM" - using BPM as a catalyst to grow their business. These were typically organisations that had successfully implemented BPM projects in the past. Some were moving resulting cost savings into other BPM projects for ongoing business process improvement, rather than survival. Approximately 10 per cent of attendees were from organisations that viewed BPM as a weapon for capitalising on transformational opportunities unavailable to beleaguered competitors in this recessionary environment.

"When companies are in survival mode, they tend to slash head count and funding for programmes to cut costs to still deliver on their earnings promises. This slashing approach can derail critical business processes and actually cost the company more money. Because BPM makes processes visible, it also helps companies do cost cutting with surgical precision," said Ms Cantara.

Gartner recommends that companies use BPM, a discipline that optimises the performance of end-to-end business processes (interdepartmental functions, partners, suppliers and service providers), to confront business challenges and complex business relationships. While there is tremendous upside to using BPM to realise significant cost savings, if companies do not manage the process correctly, it can result in failed initiatives.

"Too many user organisations are adopting BPM technologies without applying BPM disciplines via the business process competency centre (BPCC) and find that their efforts do not deliver the promised results, and their BPM initiatives will subsequently be disbanded," said Elise Olding, research director at Gartner.

Organisations that plan for and resource the effort to establish and evolve the BPCC will be able to move from discrete BPM projects to transformational BPM programmes in six to 12 months. Organisations that do not establish a BPCC will find their BPM efforts stagnating at the project level and delivering meagre results. BPMS products will feature reporting capabilities and automated assessments specifically designed to help BP directors manage the BPCC and enhance organisations' BPM maturity levels.

Gartner analysts said that in some ways, BPM is no different from any other management effort. Technology is only a small part of the problem. Changing the behaviour of process participants is the bigger challenge. Projects can get bogged down in organisational politics and can lose the way amid a swamp of change management and communication techniques.

"Some organisations get mired in debates about who should drive the effort, who should own the end-to-end process, how to define processes, and how to prioritise which process improvement efforts to tackle first," said Ms Cantara. "Yet, there are some organisations that understand BPM and can sustain continuous process improvement. These organisations are able to cope with the thorny problems of getting started with BPM, affecting organisational change, using appropriate technologies, as well as staffing and maturing BPM efforts."

More detailed analysis will be presented at the Gartner BPM Summit 2009 taking place March 23-25 in San Diego. The Summit offers the latest insight on creating and sustaining an agile process-powered organisation. Analysts will discuss how companies can align business strategy and IT to maximise operational agility, providing new opportunities to expand revenue and productivity. More information and a complete agenda can be found at Members of the media can register by contacting

In the Gartner report "It's a Matter of Survival: Use BPM to Drive Out Costs" Gartner presents a series of real-life examples in which BPM has helped organisations survive by identifying ways to improve business processes and cut costs at the same time. The report is available on Gartner's web site at

In "Highlights from BPM Summit, London, February 2009", Gartner analysts review some of the key findings that came out of last month's Summit. The report can be accessed from Gartner's web site at
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