A lack of staff and inconsistency in internal practices are limiting the benefits Australian organisations are gaining from business process management (BPM) initiatives, new research has found. While the majority of organisations do report improvements, most also acknowledge there is still much work to be done.
Asked to identify the top barriers to process improvement, 68% of Australian survey respondents pinpointed low staff numbers compared to 40% of all respondents. The research also found the majority of organisations do not have fundamental process governance roles – and 40% do not have ‘process owners’.
Yet despite these shortfalls, both public and private-sector organisations that invest in process management are seeing benefits from their investments. When asked whether BPM has delivered some positive impact on their performance, 88% of public sector and 84% of private-sector respondents confirmed that it had. Positive impacts nominated included improved consistency and standardisation, better alignment between teams, improved productivity and the easier induction of new staff.
“The results are encouraging, however they show there is still plenty of work to be done,” says Ivan Seselj, CEO, Promapp. “While BPM is achieving key benefits in both the public and private sectors, there are clearly ways in which these could be extended even further.”
The survey, conducted during June and July by research firm TNS global, used results gathered via an online questionnaire completed by more than 620 organisations in Australia, New Zealand and The United States.
The results demonstrate the majority of organisations across the three countries have bought into the concept of business process management with two thirds of those surveyed already having BPM systems in place. Within both public and private sectors, 83% of respondents believe BPM plays an important or very important role in helping them to meet organisational goals.
When asked about their top priorities, 62% of public-sector organisations nominated 'increasing customer satisfaction'. This was followed by making better use of physical and financial resources (50%) and improving quality (40%).
"It's clear that the BPM strategies being adopted by organisations are working," says Seselj. “In fact, there is a strong correlation between a focus on BPM and profit growth over the last three years.”
"Interestingly, the research found that the benefits achieved from BPM by public-sector organisations outweighed those in the private sector. Of the survey group, 82% of public-sector organisations said BPM had helped to improve staff efficiency, compared with 72% of private-sector respondents."
The survey found the prospect of future investment in BPM appears strong with 70% of respondents indicating they plan to either maintain or increase their spending in the area. When asked to nominate the top three reasons for increasing their investment, public-sector organisations highlighted changes in organisational structure, the impact of new technologies, and support for growth.
However, despite the combination of current and planned BPM investments, the survey found only 28% of Australian public-sector organisations believe their processes are better than those of others. This compares with 31% of organisations in the private sector who feel this way.
“It astounds me that 58% of Australian public sector organisations say that few to none of their processes are even documented,” says Seselj.
'The research has identified that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to getting the most value from BPM initiatives," says Seselj. "Within many organisations the fundamentals are just not there. Process owners, a governance structure and more visible leadership are essential ingredients for success.
"Organisations that achieve best practice processes are more likely to have internal process owners, an agreed process governance structure and a Chief Process Officer," says Seselj.
Download the free BPM research white paper here: