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Holistic management: Avoiding business process management snags

CIOs and business leaders are using business process management (BPM) to improve service quality and beat competitors to market. Done well, BPM's holistic management approach eliminates bottlenecks in daily business practices. In this video interview, Steve Weissman, BPM consultant for The Holly Group, identifies common challenges and mistakes made in BPM implementations and sheds light on how to overcome those obstacles.

BPM is a holistic management technique for streaming business practices and workflows to better serve customers and achieve business goals. BPM focuses on removing information and process silos in organizations to empower workers at all levels with information needed to work together.

One reason BPM deployments fail is that organizations don't know themselves as well as they think they do, Weissman said. The level of knowledge varies depending on where the individual falls in the company's hierarchy. Breaking down corporate silos is one key component to successful holistic management.

"The folks who actually do the work tend to have a very different view of how the work gets done than the people in the corner office," he said. "That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to reconcile those viewpoints before you can start changing anything."

The second problem is that many businesses think of BPM as a technology, rather than a holistic management practice.

"It is true that you buy software and services that are geared towards facilitating these different forms of information management and process management, but you are much better off thinking about these as best practices for the way your organization wants to work," Weissman said.

While Weissman doesn't believe in viewing BPM as a technology, he does note there are ways to use products associated with the holistic management approach to improve workflow. "Map in those tools, generally in some combination rather than just BPM or just ECM [enterprise content management] so that you can facilitate the work that you are trying to do and get the maximum value from it," he said. Such tools can entail process mapping/modeling tools and modelers for software development.

About the author:
Maxine Giza is the associate site editor for and can be reached at

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