I read the blog series of Hans Diepstraten about his view on BPM Platform choice in an SAP-centric environment, part 1 of 4 with a lot of interest.
However I am missing one crucial point in his line of arguments: the BPM project set-up which in my opinion determines the success or failure of any BPM platform decision.
Just recently I have been involved in a project that delivered a SAP BPM process on top of an SAP R/3 4.7 system fully integrated in only 5 month while an approach to deliver the same scope with another best practice development platform had failed after 15 month into the project.
In both cases the fulfilments of the BPM platform selection criteria listed by Hans Diepstraten have been the same:
- The business requirements and identified use cases for BPMS functionality for the next 2 – 3 years had been agreed upon.
- The maturity level in BPM concepts within the organization has been high.
- The current technology status and maturity and available IT platforms within the organization had been even in favour of the other best practice solution.
- The costs associated with investing and running the BPMS platform in the existing context have been similar.
- The known and validated vendor product roadmaps and embedded BPMS capabilities in available products and platforms have been the same.
- The availability of people with BPM(S) skills and BPM(S) competence development had even been in favour of the other best practice solution.
However what made all the difference was the project set-up:
The major success factors were:
- A business analyst that has been empowered to act as a Scrum product owner to take scope decisions when the delivery manger needed it.
- A SAP architect that was available to help the delivery manager with SAP R/3 backend and reference data configuration.
- A SAP ERP team that was on terms with the SAP CE developers so no SAP terms got lost in translation.
- Business representatives that reviewed the solution as it evolved through the Scrum sprints.
In my point of view, having a project team on same terms makes all the difference. In my opinion it is not the technical superiority of any BPM platform but the seamless cooperation of all the different functions in a BPM project, facilitated by the chosen BPM platform, which leads to success.