Business Process Management - The Third Wave

Business Process Management
Business Process Management is "…a blending of process management/workflow with application integration," according to David McCoy of the Gartner Group.

BPM is not a technology nor is it specific to any particular industry. Companies or organizations from any sector, including healthcare, manufacturing, utilities, finance, government and the like can benefit by adopting a BPM solution; BPM offers a seamless enterprise-wide solution to handle all internal business processes. The returns of a BPM-empowered organization include: higher efficiency, better customer service, lower costs, faster time to market and greater competitive advantage among others.


The Third Wave…
A new book that claims it can redefine the competitive edge for business establishments for the next fifty years, The Third Wave details BPM and explains how it can change the way businesses are run. The book chalks out a practical approach to BPMs, it also includes a look backward and forward and turns the "reengineering reengineering" application of BPM to Six Sigma inside out while discussing other issues to help improve business.

In the course of the book the authors explain how BPMs can be simplified and how they can bridge the gap between strategic thinking and technology, the management intent and the execution. The authors are both pragmatic and prophetic.


Crucial for any business leader in the process of designing or re-designing his/her organization, the book in reality has a dual approach: one from the IT professional's perspective and the other from the business standpoint. For the IT professional it is crucial in that the professional might be able to manage his/her career better and value add to the role; while for the business professional he/she can gain from learning about how chalk out plans for a sustainable competitive edge.

Businesses need technology, but they also require the necessary flexibility. The INC magazine says, "Trouble is that computer systems have a kind of Medusa effect: they turn business processes into stone. The challenge ... is to create systems and software built not to last but rather to adapt. Instead of reengineering processes in one fell swoop and then cementing the new models in code, companies should design processes that can be changed on the fly and software that's flexible enough to support those changes. …the authors write, implementing a new process is as easy as querying a database. By following the authors' recommendations, mature companies can recapture the advantage of newcomers that have "the freedom to tailor process changes precisely to the current market conditions."


The authors say, "If you think Ford's most important product is the automobile, think again…Do not mistake BPM for some new 'killer app' or some fashionable new business theory. It is a foundation upon which companies can depend as surely as they depend on database management today."

The authors share management tips on how to achieve low costs while still dominating their respective sectors. In the late 1990's businesses began to streamline their costs and downsizing too became part of the game. Now with the economic downturn and shadows of uncertainty, managers are once again looking at saving costs while thriving to stay at the top. This book specifies how companies can discover savings, boost productivity and yet thrive in a cutthroat environment. While BPM itself is not a new concept, the authors have treated in a simplified manner fairly palatable to a wide readership.


Tony M. Brown, Editor In Chief, eAI Journal says about the book, "Managers who talk of the divide between IT and business may be describing reality in their organizations today. It doesn't have to be this way. And it certainly won't be this way tomorrow. With the greater reliance on IT for the successful execution of business processes, from accounting to the supply chain, the only divide in the future will be between those companies that survived and those that didn't exploit business process management (BPM). This book explains the what, how, and why of BPM. It is therefore essential reading for any manager who wishes to work in the future."


The authors
Business Process Management - The Third Wave, is authored by IT experts, Howard Smith and Peter Fingar and has been a widely selling book since it was published a few months ago. Howard Smith is the Chief Technology Officer (Europe) of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and co-chair of the Business Process Management Initiative. A speaker and advisor, Smith has more than 24 years in the IT industry. Currently, Smith is researching the application of BPM to corporate sustainability, innovation and growth. Peter Fingar is an Executive Partner with the digital strategy firm, the Greystone Group. His best-selling books include, The Death of 'e' and the Birth of the Real New Economy and Enterprise E-Commerce.