An Audience With….Terry Schurter

Terry Schurter is an internationally recognized process expert, receiving the Global Thought Leadership Award in 2007 from the BPM Group. He currently serves as Director of Product Strategy for Global 360 and is Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the International Process and Performance Institute. He has held executive positions including CEO, CIO, VP of Strategy and VP of Engineering. In his 25 years experience in business management he has held senior management positions at Bloor Research, Bennu Group, 3Rings Technologies, Eon Mobility, UDDATA, xFactory, and Westinghouse, where he won the prestigious George Westinghouse Signature of Excellence award two years in a row. He is an international speaker (including Fortune 50 C-Level events), a Certified Process Professional Coach, and is author of five books including Customer Expectation Management: Success without Exception, cited as a manifesto for customer focused companies; Technologies for Government Transformation: ERP Systems and Beyond, awarded the 2006 Award for Most Effective Education by the Government Research Association and named to the Top Ten Books for Public CIOs by Public CIO Magazine; and In Search of BPM Excellence.

 

 

2009 was seen as fairly turbulent for most but towards the end year many kicked off major change programs focused on process transformation. How do you expect 2010 will unfold for the BPM industry generally and for BPM Vendors?

 

2010 is very likely to be another tough year economically across the globe, and that will certainly have an impact on the BPM vendors. I expect that the leading BPMS providers will continue to see much stronger business than many technology vendors due to continued pressure to cut costs, and do more with less. That will be balanced by longer deal cycles, as most organizations are scrutinizing spend and requiring additional steps in their approval processes. Netting it out, leading BPMS vendors will continue to do better than most but they are going to have to work for it. On the flipside, the emphasis on producing results by buyers (real, tangible results… the kind that end up in the bank) is developing more tangible field results and experience in doing BPM “right” than ever before.

 

Do you expect clients to alter their buying criteria as a result of the downturn and concentrate on initial cost first rather than ROI or the indeed need for BPM itself to support strategy?

 

Good question. I’m seeing that buyers are focusing on short term results that will really make a difference in the success of the organization, but I’m also seeing a lot more people thinking strategically. Basically, there are a lot of people who want to “fix” a lot of things to help shield themselves (and their company) from the pain associated with economic swings. So surprisingly (at least to me), I am seeing more strategic BPM thinking than ever before.

 

What do you envisage will be critical to a client’s successful implementation of a BPM strategy? Do you think this has shifted in any way given the economic climate from previous years?

Lean BPM, and yes, I do think it has shifted. Lean BPM is (so far) aggregating the best nuggets of process thinking we have learned to date and it’s got a lot of “feel good, fad appeal” to it. I’m finding that many of the concepts that insiders have been preaching about for years – such as simplification and challenging non-value added work – are being picked up much faster under the Lean BPM moniker. So I think that Lean BPM is the critical piece of the puzzle.

 

Forrester recently said they’ll be turning to the process professionals more in 2010 and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant underwent a makeover in how they approached their analysis last year. Do you still see a need for the kind of research which is perceived to be vendor led given the rise of independent professional blogs and insights?

 

There’s plenty of room for good research with Forrester and Gartner certainly creating their share. Not that I agree with either of these organizations on a point by point basis, but differences of opinion (and fact, though I’m not sure that should be possible!) are what stimulates the great debates and learning. I can tell you that both Gartner and Forrester have some people in the BPM areas that I highly respect. (some – wink).

 

What’s Global360’s definition and philosophy for BPM?

  

Global 360 is focused specifically on the knowledge, product, services and education needed for customers to go from “ground zero” to measurable success. Further, we are unraveling how work really gets done and have made tremendous progress in developing user experiences that dramatically improve personal productivity. This is incredibly important as the highest value processes of most organizations are rife with people, so helping those people be successful and productive is essential in really reaping the benefits of BPM.

 

With a growing number of Cloud enabled BPM tools and services coming onto the market how do you see Global360 staying ahead of the game?

 

Oh my, not sure I’m ready to let that cat out of the bag just yet. Suffice it to say that I clearly see a “shiny, sexy” marketing spin on Cloud as well as the fundamental evolution (that has given rise to “Cloud”) in how we use technology to efficiently, effectively,  economically and safely (governance, security, compliance) support how work gets done. But I think right now that too much energy is going into “shiny, sexy” while the real evolution behind Cloud is being missed. I would expect that it won’t be too much longer before we significantly expand our understanding of what Cloud really means to BPM Systems and the companies that use them. 

 

IDS have released ARIS Express recently, a free version of their ARIS Professional modeling tool. Do you see a growing trend for BPM vendors to release free versions of their higher end products?

 

Terry – While there are cases where offering something “free” really made a difference, in the vast majority of cases it is a minor influencer. Hotmail and Skype are great examples EXCEPT that they had NO real commercial model behind them (other than acquisition). I don’t see this making any big impact but it will certainly be beneficial to some people.

 

Do you see the meteoric rise of the Social Media platform as something vendors should engage with as a development path, marketing purposes only or is it a “watching brief” for now until it matures?

 

It is certainly a marketing platform and collaboration capabilities must move into BPMS products. But nobody understands yet how social media concepts can truly add value within the concept of process. We’ve got a long way to go before we understand that, and it won’t look much (if anything) like what we are doing today.

 

The mobile
platform has taken off and a growing number of vendors are joinin
g the ranks to develop for the Apple, Blackberry and Android platforms. Do you see a future for BPM tools in this area?


NO (but the iPhone is really COOOL).

 

What’s the next big step you’d like to see in BPM?

 

Removing more and more of the variables in using BPM successfully. That means building domain knowledge, embedding domain knowledge into products and services. The big step for BPM is the continued engineering of variables out of the “process” of Business Process Management. The more we do to that end, the faster the pace of adoption will rise (and the higher the project success rate will be). Simpler, easier, more successful…

 

Finally, what next for Terry Schurter?

 

Front and center is my new master class where I put into practice the 7 Steps to Process Mastery from the latest book I wrote with Peter Fingar. That and a couple of top secret projects that I, of course, can’t tell you anything about…

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