BPM: CONFIGURATION VS. CODING, PART 1March 23, 2011 2 Comments
Written by: E. Scott Menter, VP of Business Solutions for BP Logix
Reducing expenses is always an important concern, but in uncertain economic times, identifying cost reduction opportunities can mean the difference between survival and extinction. In order to reduce labor costs, American industry has spent much of the past decade sending its manufacturing, technical support, and development overseas. Results have been mixed, particularly in the areas of quality and supply chain reliability, but with labor comprising the single largest expense line on the P&L, the economic incentive to outsource has proven too strong to resist.
And yet, often the same companies shipping jobs abroad can overlook some simple steps they might take to help keep labor costs in line here at home. Sure, I’m going to point out that business process management (BPM) solutions help organizations control costs by tightening up the often messy recurring processes that might otherwise become a sink for time, money and resources. But the type of BPM product a company selects, and how that solution is deployed and maintained, can also play a significant role in the success or failure of the expense reduction effort.
Simply put, off the shelf BPM solutions that require programmers for their configuration and maintenance can ultimately threaten the cost containment goal for which they were acquired in the first place. Today I’ll briefly review the initial expense of such a deployment, and next time I’ll cover the more significant ongoing costs.
When first delivered, a BPM product is simply a platform, rather than a solution. The software has to be configured (or programmed) to implement a given application: invoice processing, say, or new customer onboarding. Most of the time taken by either approach—configuration or programming—is in process discovery. Once described, the actual translation of that process onto a live BPM platform can be relatively straightforward.
Initial programming of a coding-required product may take about the same amount of time as configuration of a no-code-required solution, but programmers are a costly resource. Even if you already have a great team of programmers available in your IT department, it’s unlikely they are wanting for projects to keep them busy. Best to focus those resources where their expensive talents are strictly required.
Ideally, BPM is not one of those areas. Spend a week training your technologically savvy business analysts as process builders, and you can begin creating sophisticated, fully automated processes at a much lower cost. Everybody wins: business analysts gain skills that will serve them well in their careers, and IT has one less deliverable for which the business is pounding on their door.
But, as we all know, one-time cost savings are one thing, and ongoing, recurring savings quite another. Next time I’ll talk a bit about how no-code BPM solutions save real money over the long haul.
E. Scott Menter is the VP of Business Solutions for BP Logix, a provider of business process management (BPM) solutions to corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Scott is the former head of technology for WaMu Investments, a national retail brokerage. In addition to technology leadership positions he held in financial services and higher education, Scott spent over a decade leading his own identity management software firm. Scott invites you to contact him at Scott.Menter@bplogix.com or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESMatBPL.Fresh Ink