There's been a lot written about what Business Process Management software (BPM) does for government agencies. But let's take a step back and explain what BPM is in the context of government effectiveness and efficiency. BPM can mean different things to different people. Some call it discrete software, some a technology suite, and some an operational management method. The fact is, all are right.
While definitions vary, what matters is that at its core, BPM is a means for aligning IT and business, whether the ultimate objective is cutting costs, improving service, increasing transparency, complying with regulations, or achieving a combination of all the above.
The most fundamental thing to understand is the bottom line: the value BPM software delivers.
Government agencies are adopting the technology because it helps them achieve their missions more effectively and more quickly. How? By orchestrating and integrating employees, applications, and data for defined business processes; by increasing collaboration within and across organizations; by delivering a better, more consistent experience for constituents when they interact with an agency; and by making agencies more nimble in response to constituent, market and regulatory changes.
Some of these benefits can be "fuzzy," and difficult to translate into a dollar figure of return-on-investment. But when those calculations are figured out, the resulting numbers can be astounding. According to the Business Transformation Agency's "2010 Congressional Report on Defense Business Operations," the BPM-based Army Knowledge Online (AKO) delivers $500M in annual cost avoidance. The U.S. Marine Corps. reported a $9M savings in just the first year of using BPM to streamline its acquisition and procurement processes.
The next logical question is, "How do you know if you need BPM software?" One of the greatest features in the BPM Kit is a 10-question assessment you can take to get at the true nature of your agency's business processes, and how they support (or don't support) daily requirements and mission goals.
Maybe your current processes are working fine, managers have the visibility they need, accountabilities and ownerships are clear, and assignments are handled completely and consistently. Great ñ you'll ace the quiz and you can go back to running the most efficient operation in government. But maybe not. Take the assessment and you may get a clearer perspective on why your processes aren't functioning quite as well as they could ñ and some initial insight into what you can do to improve them.
To learn more, read the newly-updated BPM Kit for Government. This free 20-page e-book provides an introduction to the principles and fundamentals of BPM, and an educational overview of how government agencies can reap the benefits of process improvement through a BPM technology platform.
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