This paper addresses the topic of implementation of BPM (business process management) in an organization, and the alignment of BPM with an organizational strategy of the firm. Four peer-reviewed journal articles are critically analyzed; practical implications based on these articles are made, as well as several conclusions about the implementation of BPM.
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Defining and Formulating Organizational Strategy
According to the model described by dos Santos Rocha et al. (2015), and organizational strategy is formulated before adopting a certain framework for business process management. In this case, BPM most often starts being implemented because of certain aspects of the business work in a suboptimal manner. On the other hand, it is stated that BPM can be used together with a service-oriented architecture, which requires coordination of several business processes and IT. In particular, the approach that authors offer, DynPL4BPM – “Dynamic Product Line for Business Process Management” (dos Santos Rocha et al. 2015, p. 1225), requires the integration of BPM, dynamic product lines, and service-oriented architecture to be implemented properly.
At the same time, the model offered by Margherita (2014) requires that the strategy of the business is formulated along with several other aspects of the enterprise’s activity, such as creating the model of the business and adoption of a system of execution of decisions. The author proposes to utilize BPMS (business process management systems), which are not just software platforms or structured methodologies of enhancement; they are, however, organizational architecture, which, therefore, requires that the organizational strategy is at least adjusted to them (Margherita 2014).
Simultaneously, in their article, vom Brocke et al. (2014) offer a framework for creating and implementing certain BPMs. It is stressed that to effectively implement BPMs, it is crucial to “support the right planning and coordination of BPM initiatives at a strategic level” (vom Brocke et al. 2014, p. 532). Therefore, the authors argue that BPM should be considered and selected while creating a business strategy and not after that. However, it is highlighted that currently, the principles on which such planning and coordination should be carried out are unclear due to the lack of research (vom Brocke et al. 2014).
On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that according to Segatto, de Padua, and Martinelli (2013, pp. 704-705), BPM is usually concentrated on improving the effectiveness of an organization by working as a part of a “feedback cycle,” which permits for complying with organizational strategies and obtaining the expected levels of performance. Thus, BPM is utilized to align the activity of the firm with its organizational strategy but does not become a part of the process of organizational strategy creation.
Therefore, dos Santos Rocha et al. (2015) state that organizational strategy is created before deciding which BPM to use; Segatto, de Padua, and Martinelli (2013) also argue that BPM is used to adjust the business processes to the strategy adopted by the business, thus becoming a part of a “feedback cycle.” Margherita (2014), on the other hand, suggests that the implementation of BPMS is tied to the organizational architecture, which needs to agree with the organizational strategy. However, according to vom Brocke et al. (2014), the strategy of an enterprise should be formulated along with BPM to ensure that these two elements are properly aligned.
Integrating BPM with Organizational Strategy
As it was seen, dos Santos Rocha et al. (2015) state that an organizational strategy is created first, and BPM is implemented after that in a business. This results in the need to consider organizational strategies carefully to select one which is most appropriate for the stated goals. The concrete approach offered by the authors, DynPL4BPM, requires that dynamic product lines and service-oriented architecture are merged with BPM to achieve the best results. Therefore, it might be possible to state that DynPL4BPM requires that a business strategy at least permits for the use of dynamic product lines and service-oriented architecture, or, best of all, already utilizes these to a certain degree.
At the same time, because Segatto, de Padua, and Martinelli (2013) believe that BPM should be employed to provide feedback between the elements of the business, it is also clear that while utilizing their approach to choosing a particular BPM for an organization, it is crucial to take into account the peculiarities of both the organizational strategy and the existing processes to allow the selected BPM to efficaciously make them agree. The organizational strategy that was adopted in business ought to permit the chosen BPM to “recogni[ze] the existence of a pattern or a common purpose between the parts” (Segatto, de Padua, & Martinelli 2013, p. 710); therefore, the business strategy works as the provider of a goal to which the organization is supposed to move, and the BPM is a systematic way to make the business processes taking place in that enterprise to be aimed at that goal.
Simultaneously, the approach to BPM described by Margherita (2014) suggests that the BPM systems need to be integrated with the organizational architecture, which, in turn, is aligned with the organizational strategy. Importantly, BPM as a system includes the “process strategy subsystem” (Margherita 2014, p. 648) which links the set of the business processes taking place in an enterprise and its overall organizational goals. Therefore, in this model, BPM as a system is integrated with the organizational strategy via one of its subsystems.
Finally, vom Brocke et al. (2014) offer to select the BPM for an enterprise while formulating the organizational strategy of the latter. This permits for both careful considerations of an adequate strategy and for selecting a BPM that would maximally agree with that strategy.
Therefore, according to dos Santos Rocha et al. (2015), BPM is integrated after the formulation of a strategy; but in this case, it is needed to choose such a BPM that would agree with the existing structure of the firm and the processes which take place in it. Segatto, de Padua, and Martinelli (2013) also argue that BPM should be chosen by the existing organizational strategy and the business processes; the organizational strategy is supposed to serve as a provider of a common goal at which the particular processes need to be directed. Margherita (2014), however, links BPM with the organizational strategy by proposing such a BPM that includes the process strategy subsystem as its element through which BPM is agreed with the existing business strategy. And, on the contrary, vom Brocke et al. (2014) propose that BPM is selected at the stage of the formulation of the organizational strategy, which allows for the maximal alignment of the two.
It is the responsibility of a manager to see to it that an appropriate BPM system is selected and implemented in an organization (vom Brocke & Rosemann 2015). The described approaches to BPM can be utilized in different organizations depending on the current state of the organization; different firms might require different approaches (Weske 2012). The approach offered by dos Santos Rocha et al. (2015) is best employed in a situation when an enterprise is currently existing and operational, and already has a formulated organizational strategy, but requires a certain boost or needs to comply with the conditions imposed by the contemporary competitive market (Plenkiewicz 2010) because the processes taking place in it are not well-aligned, and a BPM approach has not been selected so far. In this case, it is crucial to make sure that the BPM to be selected fits the specific organizational strategy existing in the firm, and is effective in coordinating the processes in the particular structure existing in the enterprise.
The recommendations of Segatto, de Padua, and Martinelli (2013) should also be taken into account; it is paramount that the chosen BPM permits for creating an effective system of providing feedback to the executives of particular business processes by the management of the enterprise and ensuring that they work as a part of a system that is directed at a particular goal which is set by the organizational strategy. The approach offered by Margherita (2014) should also be utilized in a company that has an existing organizational strategy, but this strategy needs to be able to be merged with BPM by providing the basis for the process strategy subsystem of BPM. For the management of a company, the organizational strategy will serve as a provider of a goal, whereas the BPM will play the role of a means for achieving it.
On the other hand, the recommendations made by vom Brocke et al. (2014) are perhaps best to be used in a relatively young organization, or in one that currently undergoes the process of change (such as a merger). In these cases, the managers and/or owners of the business might need to formulate or adjust the organizational strategy of the company to ensure its efficiency (Lehmann 2012) and to define the direction in which the firm needs to move (Dumas et al. 2013). According to vom Brocke et al. (2014), the BPM should be selected at the stage of creating the organizational strategy, and the strategy might need to be adjusted to the goals which are possible to achieve by employing this particular strategy. Therefore, managers should strive to achieve mutual alignment while creating the organizational strategy and formulating a BPM to be used in the enterprise.
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Therefore, the discussed articles provide recommendations about the implementation of BPM in an organization. Based on these articles, it is possible to conclude that the choice of BPM to be utilized in an enterprise should depend not only on the currently existing structure of a business but also on the organizational strategy and the goals set by it. Also, because an effective BPM may allow for a significant improvement of the output of the company, efficacious BPMs should be implemented in companies from the very beginning, and adjustments might need to be made to both the used BPM and the organizational strategy in this case; however, if no effective BPM is implemented in a given business, it is paramount to select such a BPM that would allow for a maximal degree of achieving the goals of the enterprise.
Dos Santos Rocha, R, Fantinato, M, Thom, LH, & Eler, MM 2015, ‘Dynamic product line for business process management’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 1224-1256.
Dumas, M, La Rosa, M, Mendling, J, & Reijers, H 2013, Fundamentals of business process management, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.
Lehmann, CF 2012, Strategy and business process management: techniques for improving execution, adaptability, and consistency, Taylor & Francis Group, Broken Sound Parkway, FL.
Margherita, A 2014, ‘Business process management system and activities: two integrative definitions to build an operational body of knowledge’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 642-662.
Plenkiewicz, P 2010, The executive guide to business process management, iUniverse, Bloomington, IN.
Segatto, M, de Padua, SI, & Martinelli, DP 2013, ‘Business process management: a systemic approach?’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 698-714.
Vom Brocke, J, & Rosemann, M 2015, Handbook on business process management 1: introduction, methods, and information systems, 2nd edn, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.
Vom Brocke, J, Schmiedel, T, Recker, J, Trkman, P, & Mertens, W 2014, ‘Ten principles of good business process management’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 530-548.
Weske, M 2012, Business process management: concepts, languages, architectures, 2nd edn, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.