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Business process management major challenges
Business process management – major challenges
BPM has become an established practice in many organisations, perhaps under different names, and the potential for its future growth is strong. However, there are several environmental, societal, IT and cultural challenges that may weaken this growth.
External challenges relate mainly to the external entities that BPM tools and technologies interact with. One important challenge is coupled with the more diverse and complex forms of knowledge that BPM will require. BPM necessitates the availability of skilful and knowledgeable people who can understand and work with different business processes. There are few people in the market who have the necessary BPM skills, and with the growing development of process-oriented technologies, these people will be in high demand. Adding to this challenge is the case when the knowledge is tacit in nature and cannot be formalized or encoded easily and adequately. Also, the more demand for process automation the more risk associated with BPM being shrunk due to a lack of accepting continuously renewed technologies. Another challenge would be related to the globalisation demands for extending business boundaries across geographical areas where more customers in different locations have to be satisfied in the same way, despite their cultural backgrounds.
Internal challenges relate mainly to the willingness of an organization to develop the process-oriented structure of its business. BPM requires that business is restructured in a cross-functional manner based on services or products that are delivered to customers. BPM efforts are always hampered by the unwillingness and lack of commitment of some organisations' members to support the structural changes that facilitate the engineering of business around processes. Another challenge is related to an organisation's dislike of embarking on transformational efforts when they are necessary for BPM to work properly. Very often, organizations tend to substitute radical changes with incremental ones that might not make the necessary shift in the business.
Technological challenges – it cannot be overemphasized that next-generation BPM will be more IT-dependent. The rise of enterprise technologies like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) is an example of the BPM principles being integrated with IT solutions. This implies that the role of IT development in advancing the ways of integrating BPM with business can determine the extent to which BPM will grow. One important aspect of this integration is to have system design and development methodologies aligned with the concept of process rather than being based on the traditional functional paradigm. Another issue would be the development of some common BPM standards which can enhance the flexibility of process implementation when global issues are considered. Other IT challenges include the concerns about security issues that are associated with an increasing reliance on e-business and e-commerce techniques to implement BPM.
Cultural challenges relate mainly to the change management issues that arise when implementing BPM. Examples of these challenges include people resistance from those who feel that they will be replaced by the new technologies implemented in the course of BPM deployment. Another challenge is the global perspective that change management efforts have to take when implementing process changes that deal with multi-perspectives and cultural diversity. Unexpected surrounding changes resulting from changes in legislations and government regulations, and the impact that these will have on the formulation of BPM procedures as well as auditing, measurement and certification.
Although the aforementioned challenges seem as old as the concept of BPM itself, it is believed that they will get shaped by the complexity associated with the new market competition standards and technological advances. Unless organizations understand these challenges in their new contexts, they will struggle in keeping pace with the rapid development of BPM tools and technologies.
Majed Al-MashariKing Saud University