BPA Platform Value: The During (Part II)

BPA ROI and Value

Direct and Indirect Benefits from No/Low-code Platforms

This is part II of a series on the value, benefits and ROI of Business Process Application platforms, and the first post can be found here: BPA Platform Value – The Before.

In the previous post, we discussed the advantages to using a low/no-code platform to deliver apps faster to business users, and reduce the IT backlog.  Once the apps get into production, there is a huge impact on business performance, and this is where typical value is associated with efficiency and productivity.   There are two types of benefits that are provided in this phase, direct and indirect.  Below is a summary of both:

Direct and Measurable Benefits of BPA/BPM

  • IMPROVEMENTS IN EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY
  • REDUCTION IN REWORK, ERRORS AND PROCESS FAILURE (QUALITY IMPROVEMENT)
  • REDUCTION IN REQUIRED STAFFING THROUGH AUTOMATION AND PROCESS TUNING
  • RISK MITIGATION
  • INSIGHT FOR CONTINUOUS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT AND ANALYSIS

Indirect Benefits of BPA/BPM

  • CENTRALIZED CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT OF ALL BUSINESS PROCESSES
  • ENHANCED COMPLIANCE
  • SIMPLIFIED AND CENTRALIZED AUDIT CAPABILITIES
  • IMPROVED COLLABORATION
  • GREATER ALIGNMENT OF IT WITH BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS
Return on investment for BPM
Examples of BPM/BPA ROI

In the above image, there are a few examples of some hard numbers on savings through process efficiency.  You can read more here:  BPM/BPA Case Studies.

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BPA Platform Value: The Before

No-code Platforms Deliver Rapid Returns

This is the first in a series of posts that will present the benefit and value across 3 distinct phases of the BPA Value chain: before, during and after.  Let’s start with the “before”, or the phase from idea inception to deployment, or really the solution development.

It might seem to be quite obvious the value and benefits no-code business app platforms , obviously no-code implies speed to production.

That’s true, but I think its necessary to take a deeper look at how BPA can transform solution delivery.  IT departments today are becoming custom dev shops, and when you look at any of the top business platforms today (Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, SharePoint) they meet a decent percentage of an organizations needs, but there is always customization required.  Those projects can be complex, and require substantial investments in both dollars and time.

No code Business Application
The IT Project Logjam

So, how can no-code App Platforms help?

With core components that can be leveraged by dev and IT all together, or as separate building blocks for specific purposes.  These building blocks are:

  • Integration (smartobjects)
  • UI (forms)
  • Workflow
  • Reports
Business Process Application Components
BPA Building blocks: Forms, Workflow, Data and Reports

An example would be K2’s data integration layer, or smartobjects, which allow configuration-based integration to all your line of business systems.  That layer can be configured once, and then reused over and over, and can be surfaced as a web service for other apps in your organization.  Robust BPA platforms provide separate design canvases for all types of personas.   You can enable your “citizen” developers with a simple designer, or perhaps leverage an embedded SharePoint capability to take some load off and push apps to the business, but you can still leverage advanced, deep designers for complex and advanced work.

Beyond reuse, and broad design capabilities, here are some core benefits:

  • Shorten time to “market”
  • Reduction in backlog
  • Simplified, rapid integration
  • Extension of delivery capability
  • IT automation
  • Agility (change management)
  • Platform for the future

Just a quick overview of some of the key values.  Did I miss any?

BPM ROI Part Deux: Choose Wisely

BPM/BPA and ROI

The Whale or the Sardine? Fastest Way to a BPM/BPA ROI

Continuing on the groundwork set by my initial BPM ROI post (ROI and Benefits of BPM/BPA), this post will take a peek at where companies should focus out of the gate to maximize the impact of the BPM/BPA suite they purchase, and where they can find hidden treasure.

In meeting with prospects, it is typically the same story:  They have a critical business process that needs to be automated.  It is that single core use case that typically drives them to research, seeking to find a way to drive efficiency and automation, and all the key direct and indirect benefits that business process automation can provide.   But during discovery, demos and conversations, they quickly find that there are so many ancillary processes within their business that can be automated, and it is in these areas that the trail to ROI can be significantly shortened.

The Whale

Ah, the critical business process.  Usually a cross departmental, fluctuating beast that drives profit and keeps the lights on.  Maybe for your organization, it is a complex contract process that touches sales, legal, accounting and execs, and ultimately leads to revenue.  For another, maybe the management of the product life-cycle, tying together sales, artwork. legal and production lines to ultimately get a product out the door.  These processes are easy to identify, and high on management’s list of targets for improvement.  Although in the end, automating these processes can have a huge impact on the bottom line, the road to a positive ROI is typically longer.  Take for example this Real Estate Company in California that automated contracting, and estimates $216,000 in savings per year: Real Estate and BPM Case Study

The Sardine

Every business has painful, time-consuming processes that touch many, if not all employees.  I was in a meeting with a client, discussing a critical business process, and we started a conversation around justifying the purchase.   There was clearly a justification in the core use case, but they wanted more ammunition.  We talked about ancillary processes, and it became apparent that vacation/sick day management was a major pain.  It was currently a paper process that involved forms that were filled out every month by all employees, and involved management, processing of scanned forms, and manual data input.  With 700 employees, and taking into account the time to fill out forms, management approval, etc., this was an easy choice as a first process (in parallel with the larger process project).  Many BPM/BPA vendors have realized the power of automating many small processes that touch large users bases, and have built out ROI accelerators.  These accelerators are pre-packaged applications, including forms, workflow, reports and data, that can be deployed immediately.  K2 has built out a series of these, including leave approval, expense reimbursement, incident management and more.  An example would be Kimberly-Clark, who automated hundreds of processes: BPM Process Automation

Combining the quick value of smaller processes in parallel with the core return on automating larger ones can result in a faster return on investment, and all the benefits that can be gleaned from digital processes.  Thoughts?