Computer systems and software implementations are playing bigger and bigger roles in operations and process improvement each year. But many early adopters of Business Process Management (BPM) software are experiencing difficulties using these complex systems in accomplishing the operations gains they expected. Ironically, these businesses failed to get returns they wanted, because they failed to follow the right process for implementing BPM.

That brings the question of what is the process for implementing BPM and how is it different from your everyday web projects. The major difference is in the objectives. The objectives of web projects are different from that of BPM implementations.  But most organizations focus on the UI and field level validations when the focus should have been on process improvement.

The first step of a BPM implementation should be documenting the current process in as much details as possible. Tools such as IBM Blueworks Live make it very easy to document the current process. With a just a few clicks and drags, BlueworksLive lets you draw the process, add swim lanes and add decisions. It is also easy to add additional attributes such as Cost of each step, Suppliers, Customers, Experts and rules for each step. I will go into the details of how to use BlueworkLive in my subsequent posts.

Once the current process is documented, it is time to build to a future process. This is where process improvement teams should spend bulk of their time. If the old systems and new systems are comparable, it is better to start with the old process and implement changes in small increments. But if the old and new systems are significantly different, such as moving from a paper based system to computer screens, it is recommended that one start with an ideal end state and work backwards. When the ideal state process is designed, it is time to implement it.

Implementation step of process improvement is where most companies are misspending their resources. It doesn’t matter how complex the process, they can be made to fit into a Create Read Update Delete model. The process that was created in the previous step is doing one of the CRUD operations on end-user data. Solutions based this model are easy to implement using a fewer resources.

Enterprise 360 by CGS IT Services is once such solution based on the CRUD framework. It accomplishes everything you do with the fancy feature rich BPMs and the solution is custom built to fit the objectives of the project. More details here

In the coming days, I am planning to add articles related to business process management and software development. Any feedback can be mailed to me at or on Twitter at @PrafulNadella.