What are some of the reasons business process management (BPM) efforts fail?

Done right, business process management can help improve processes and increase efficiency. But business process management isn't always successful. What are some of the most common reasons that BPM fails?

44 Answers

author avatar

It's all about the business case and how it is assessed by the field consultants and specialists before the implementation and even before choosing the vendor. It needs a deep understanding of the need and choosing the best tool/vendor that can fulfil the specific need. Another thing, BPM is a kind of software, needs culture management/change management which could be achieved by few specialists or "Center of Excellence" in some organization. It may take some time but it can only succeed gradually.

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Community Manager

@Sherif Ibrahim thanks for sharing - gradual change always seems to be better.

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ExpertTop 5Consultant

BPM seems to fail most often when it is being done because someone in leadership has read a book (or more likely,an article) and thinks it is the silver bullet to making more money for the business, rather than an investment in long term improvement of the organization. BPM in and of itself is but one of a gazillion tools businesses can use to improve efficiency, increase production/output, improve the bottom line. It is not a "quick and dirty" way to justify personnel reductions nor will it result in real change unless undertaken with the understanding that change is going to be necessary, and just because "we've always done it that way," how things are being done are going to stay that way.

However the biggest source of failure is when leadership wants process improvement, then says, "We have all these exceptions that we allow (although not necessarily permitted by rules or official policy or a good thing to do, anyway) that the process has to allow us to keep."

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Community Manager

@Art Hebbeler, PMP Thanks, good points here. It's so important for leadership to enable the process fully.

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Top 20User

One or more of below listed option(s) could lead to a failure:

1. Lack of understanding / abstractness

2. Unable to define / determinate the bounderies of services / process steps

3. Unable to decouple the execution and management of the involved process steps

4. Afraid to try something else with evtl. no direct measured benefit

5. Rigid environment (incl. planning) 

author avatar
Community Manager

@Adrian Koepe thanks for weighing in on this. You've highlighted some important things for businesses to keep in mind with BPM processes.

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Top 20Integrator

In our experience, BPM initiatives fail for two key reasons, firstly lack of a business champion - IT might think it's a good idea or a hot topic but without business buy-in and a C-level (or equivalent) champion you are on the road to oblivion. The second reason is lack of funding - it is more than just buying, configuring and using a tool. The tool is an enabler - you also need resources and funding to drive organizational change which is what BPM is all about. In the near term, you need MORE business/process analysts, architects, and OCM specialists to work with those already in place that are busy sustaining the business. BPM projects frequently fail because many think that just giving a new shiny tool to people doing the work now is enough. You might get some incremental change from those that can spare a few minutes from their regular job to start using the tool but that is NOT the way to get change/success at a scale that is going to propel an organization to new levels of performance or success.      

author avatar
Community Manager

@KevinO'Rourke thanks, these are important points to keep in mind for people embarking on BPM initiatives.

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