Most business process management (BPM) practitioners expect their organisations to increase their spending on BPM by at least 5% over the next 12 months, according to recent surveys by Gartner.
Despite economic turbulence, more than half of those surveyed plan to increase their spending on BPM efforts by more than 5%, and more than a third of respondents plan to increase BPM spending by more than 10%.
The findings are based on surveys conducted at two Gartner BPM conferences. In February 2009, more than 300 business and IT professionals from 34 countries attended the fourth annual Gartner BPM Summit in London. In March 2009, 500 business and IT professionals attended the seventh annual Gartner BPM Summit in San Diego.
"Most of the BPM practitioners we surveyed were somewhat optimistic about their companies' growth prospects in fiscal year 2009," says Michele Cantara, research vice-president at Gartner. "Only 23% anticipated any degree of revenue decline, while 42% anticipated some growth, suggesting that BPM helps companies thrive and isn't just a survival tactic."
Although respondents were expecting fiscal year 2009 revenue to be stable or to grow, they indicated that they were able to funnel only 40% of their organisations' investments into growth or transformation initiatives. With 60% of overall funding going to "business as usual," Gartner predicts that BPM may be a way for companies to do more with less, and to free up more funding for growth and transformation initiatives.
The survey found that for the most part, BPM Summit attendees aren't aggressive technology adopters. Only 12% of survey participants said that their organisations had an aggressive technology adoption profile. Although the respondents aren't aggressive technology adopters, all were implementing or planning to implement BPM projects during the next 12 months.
This finding suggests that this survey population doesn't view BPM as "bleeding edge," and may signal that BPM is crossing the chasm toward mainstream adoption.
The BPM Summits' attendees were also asked to indicate whether business or IT (or both) was the primary organisation driving their BPM projects and programmes. The responses underscored that BPM isn't business- or IT-led. Most often (41%), BPM is jointly led by business and IT, and when it's not jointly led, business and IT are nearly equally likely to be leading BPM efforts.
"Overall, the survey responses suggest an optimistic outlook for the BPM market and also highlight trends we've observed in customer inquiries and reference checks; that is that companies don't see BPM as a luxury," says Cantara. "Instead, BPM is quickly becoming an alternative and better way of developing solutions and improving processes for many companies."
Cantara says companies that ramp up their BPM investments now will be poised for growth when the economy recovers. She recommends that organisations use BPM to help prioritise which existing projects, suspended projects and new projects will be prioritised, sequenced, funded and staffed when business growth returns.