Selling holes, not drills: and the principal-agent problem.
Is there resistance to using NetWeaver BPM from customers? I raised the question when I had a chat with Ruks Omar about collating use cases for the new wiki (this is an excellent endeavour, and to my mind sets and important direction for BPX to develop).
I have been a team member of several bids in response to large RFPs. All had a transformation element and then a support proposal. All required something to be included around innovation. The problem I found in these sort of situations is that new tools where never classed as an innovation. It failed the criteria that they should have resonance with the client, rather than it looking like something we pulled off the web to pad out a proposal. Winning bids had to understand the clients’ processes, and show immediate value.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the benefits of BPM, I’m just telling you the hurdles that have to jumped to get support to implement it. Feedback I get from “suits” is that it is too generic and doesn’t seem relevant to issues at hand ( a “geeks tool?”) Also, the benefits are too marginal, given the investment required. If you are new startup, BPM might make sense, but not for the kind of engagements I’m asked to help on.
I wonder why there is a problem with BPM adoption, and thought of two overlapping issues.
1. Organisations buy holes, not drills. They’re interested in effects, not technology for technologies sake. So BPM may be the best tool for the job, but it’s not the only tool. There are other considerations that influence a deployment decision. Understanding these considerations is but a first step.
2. I heard about the principal-agent problem in economics, and it struck a chord. The idea is that strategies don’t get the buy-in they should because the principal setting the strategy does not understand the incentives bearing down on the agent tasked with carrying them out. For example, the strategy may be to maximise shareholder value by differentiating through innovation. The agent says (to themselves) “Oh yeah, and how am I going to sutain this innovation with my exisitng resourcing channels? Why can’t we use the [de facto] standard industry approach to solving this problem?”
It’s a chicken and egg type muddle, and one faced by a lot new technologies in a retrenching marketplace. SAP has an advantage, because they are not just a technology company, but have real-world value in solving process problems and an online community infrastructure able to leverage this experience. This is why I see The specified item was not found. as so important, and exciting challenge to the BPX community.