Business process management (BPM) is being dramatically over-hyped and will, in many cases, fail to meet the return on investment (ROI) estimates which "ambitious" vendors are promising.
According to analyst Butler Group, BPM technology will suffer the same ignominious fate as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems because of the gaping void between promised and actual ROI.
"Whatever the size and scale of the BPM implementation, companies are advised not to believe vendor hype and be prepared for little or no ROI," the analyst warned.
"The main area of benefit is BPM's ability to increase the efficiency of a core business process. However, in reality most processes have already been made efficient over time."
But while the latest report on BPM by the analyst firm warns that expectations are being raised to dangerous levels, it also advises that the technology can represent a sound investment if it is implemented strategically.
Butler Group advises that BPM will play a critical role in enabling companies to meet compliance requirements, for example.
But the study adds the caveat that only in the rare cases of a "vanilla implementation" should companies install an enterprise-wide BPM system. Instead, firms should view BPM in relation to the impact on other processes.
It should be seen as a means of achieving process efficiencies in controlled, tactical environments where those processes have not been impacted by other systems, such as ERP.
While BPM can help deal with regulatory issues, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the study advises firms that such systems will only help with those regulations that will require ongoing auditing and could change over time.
The most astute companies will take the opportunity to recoup some costs of a compliance-driven BPM implementation by improving other processes at the same time, according to Butler Group.
The market leaders in the BPM market are IBM WebSphere Integration Server, Fuego, SeeBeyond ICAN 5.0 and webMethods BPM solution, all of which Butler Group says "outperform the competition".
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