Business process returns

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



(2004), "Business process returns", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Business process returns

A study by PMP Research suggests that calculating return on investment (ROI) is a major stumbling block to the widespread adoption of workflow, document management and business process management systems.

More than three quarters of those polled describe calculating the ROI in this area as either ”fairly hard” (42 per cent) or “very hard” (36 per cent), with only 13 per cent saying that working out ROI is “fairly easy”.

In addition, only one-third of the sample (35 per cent) claim their implementations have delivered the benefits they expected, while one in five (20 per cent ) deny that this is the case.

The other major obstacle identified in the survey is the difficulty of integrating workflow, document management and BPM with existing enterprise applications.

Both problems are mentioned as barriers to adoption by 52 per cent of those polled, along with worries about user acceptance of new technologies (45 per cent).

Customer service and/or complaint handling emerges as the most common target for workflow and associated technologies at present, cited by 34 per cent of respondents, along with the processing of online applications and inquiries (32 per cent).

As well as specialist packages, getting on for half (45 per cent) of those surveyed use messaging products such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange as the base infrastructure for workflow technologies.

Overall, companies are more likely to be using a document management solution (39 per cent), workflow software (36 per cent) or content management systems (34 per cent) compared to BPM software, which is a newer concept. Currently 12 per cent of the sample have operational BPM systems in place, with 14 per cent in the process of implementing and just 5 per cent running pilot projects, suggesting that it may be some time before this option gains widespread appeal.

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