Way back in 1999 I read Beyond Reengineering by Michael Hammer. He truly inspired me with his message and basically his book triggered a lot of what I have done in the BPM space. I have entered the BPM world not (just) by creating process models for automation, but by helping customers to establish a different way of thinking about what value BPM can actually add to their business.
At the same time I stumbled across a software product, named “Control” which was supplied by a UK based company, Nimbus Partners Ltd. At the time I strongly opposed the idea that software could make a difference,but during one of my business process engineering assignments with a dutch utility customer, I simply had to use it. And wow, what a difference did it make! People loved it, and better, actually used it. There was obviously something different with this product. This was not just capturing business processes and after using the outcomes shelve them to be never used again. The combination of the USPs of the software and it’s generic simple approach, made all the difference. On top of that, Nimbus Partners Ltd. always strongly recommended establishing a Center of Excellence to support the implementation and continuation of the BPM initiative; one of the services now also offered by the process balance.
More than a decade later, the approach still stands strong. Obviously with some things changed… The product is now renamed “TIBCO Nimbus”, has a stronger web-component and is ‘social’ (well, it always was, but a couple of phrases were renamed (e.g., a “memo” became “feedback” ).
So… What was so special after-all? First most the combination of funneling customer feedback / product change requests, the view of some fantastic and experienced colleagues and a great vision and leadership, right into the product and approach. But what struck me as a first encounter: The enormous simple, and therefore so powerful approach of mapping business processes. No difficulties to understand symbols (ever tried reading a full-blown BPMN diagram?). Straight buy in from ‘regular’ business users guaranteed! Not unimportant: All this backed up by stable and scalable software. But still, software.
As balance is a given in nature -any imbalance will, sooner or later, will get back in balance- I am convinced that dealing with BPM is no difference. Nimbus Partners Ltd understood that very well and their proposition was exactly that. They even had a nice formula named R=IA2 (Results = Initiatives x Adoption[squared]), see also Common Approach by Ian Gotts, a great background read. Simplified a company or business is nothing more than people, processes and technology achieving a joint objective. If any of these components get too much or too little attention, you will -as in nature- find yourself dealing with an imbalance. The trick is not too wait for this imbalance for it to self-repair, but to anticipate quicker than your competition. As software = technology, it will strongly contribute to that one component: technology. Even if it is process management software with a social layer around it. I appreciate the current technology developments and the impact on peoples behavior. But we need to keep in mind that any single one of us still possess amygdalae…