Productivity Gains from Business Process Management Systems Remain Elusive

Survey reveals that almost 85 percent of workers often or occasionally design their own workarounds to BPM systems

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An April 2009 survey of 781 business, government, and IT managers revealed that just 15 percent of respondents in organizations that have implemented business process management (BPM) systems say that worker productivity increased more than 50 percent. In addition, 84.9 percent of workers who are end users of BPM systems “often” or “occasionally” design their own workarounds to their organization’s systems to get their work done. The survey also revealed that just 24.3 percent of users are “very involved” in process improvement and BPM system design.

The survey was fielded by Global 360, a provider of process and document management solutions that help government agencies and commercial enterprises improve business performance while reducing costs. All survey respondents selected were implementing or planning implementation of a process management solution in their organizations.

According to Colin Teubner, research director at Global 360, the survey results highlight how pressure to quickly deploy BPM systems can leave gaps and inefficiencies, especially in end-user interfaces and applications. They also underscore that realizing the full potential of productivity gains from BPM systems requires involving end users more often in system design and spending more effort on end-user tools before systems are deployed.

Said Teubner, “Designing end-user applications typically account for more than 40 percent of a BPM system’s deployment cost and can influence as much as 60 percent of the project’s total return on investment. By involving end users upfront in system design, organizations can not only boost productivity gains, they can also reduce deployment cost and improve ROI.”

In addition, it is essential to analyze how different types of end users interact with processes to get their jobs done, and develop interfaces and applications tailored to each type. “One size does not fit all,” said Teubner.

Questions and detailed results:

Q: How often do you think workers or end users of BPM applications design their own workarounds due to
system inefficiencies?

Often: 46.5%
Occasionally: 38.4%
Rarely: 13.7%
Never: 1.4%

Q: To what extent are the end users of your internal applications involved in improvement of their
processes and supporting systems?

Very involved: 24.3%
Somewhat involved: 48.9%
Not very involved: 24.4%
Not at all involved: 2.4%

Q: What percent has your end user productivity gone up after deploying a BPM solution?

Negative (gone down): 1.4%
1 – 25%: 16.2%
26 - 50%: 19.1%
51 - 75%: 10.2%
76 - 100%: 4.8%
Don't know: 48.3%