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Marrying BPM & IoT: Three Common Myths and Facts

by Meng Guan
BPM (Business Process Management) is a series of procedures taken in order to structure, monitor, and measure our existing business process, then standardize and adjust it accordingly for eventual process excellence.

IoT (Internet of Things), on the other hand, is about connecting physical devices on the Internet and allowing these smart devices to exchange data via their sensors and communicators.

Both terms are becoming popular buzzwords in recent years for markets and organizations with the cross-functional streamlined workflows of BPM and the big data collected by IoT devices, marrying BPM with IoT seems to be such a complementary way to empower businesses in terms of technologies.

Some significant benefits to integrate IoT into BPM include:

  • Expediting BPM outcome by making it more impactful to the real world, since IoT effectively collects real time data – which allows BPM to pinpoint relevant processes (e.g. bottleneck) to optimize the desired outcome.
  • Improving customer experience throughout the customer journey, from upstream activities such as R&D, manufacturing, inventory tracking, and delivering, to downstream activities like marketing, branding and after-sales service.
  • Increasing revenue (here we are talking about a potential multi-trillion dollar) by exploring technological potential, developing new business models and patterns to revolutionize various industries, and ultimately alter our physical world.

Myth #1

BPM and IoT together can only benefit industries that have significant IT or manufacturing projects.

FACT: BPM and IoT are penetrating other areas besides manufacturing and IT, and they can surely add value to almost every business in today’s service economy.

Business process is everywhere, and organizations will simply turn chaotic without BPM. Similarly, IoT has been omnipresent and disruptive to greater and greater business sectors. Therefore, merging BPM and IoT results in more than cost reductions for manufacturing or economies of scale for IT.

However, nowadays, it is not what you make for your customers a differentiator from your competitors but how you do to deliver values that meet customers’ needs. And implementing BPM and IoT together can create a more cohesive customer journey. More and more industries, such as retails, governments, energy, and education, started adopting “product + service” strategy to strengthen their product life cycle and business model by providing higher standard and personalized service appreciated by target customers.

Thus, BPM and IoT truly combine operational excellence with analytical information that can boost almost every business’s performance and help you outperform your competitors.

Myth #2

We need to stay on guard against data sharing with others while combining BPM with IoT. Talk about cybersecurity!

FACT: We are in one ecosystem, and sharing data actually has more pros than cons.

As the data network grows, there will be potential cybersecurity risks. Still, data sharing is essential, and we need to embrace this complexity. Connected things require connected organizations, hence connected data and connected people. So creating interconnectivity and interdependency among organizations while working on BPM and IoT is inevitable, and can result in bigger value for each player.

Organizations are constantly working closely with suppliers, customers, consultants, governments, and competitors. Assuring IoT data flows across organizational borders can be a give-and-take: by receiving and sharing data that a company collects from its relevant stakeholders, that company strengthens the decision-making in every step of design thinking and in every stage-gate for any project.

As a result, data sharing is the way to for organizations to exchange, learn, improve, and share each other’s best practices, achieving continuous improvement and sustainable development.

Myth #3

Combining IoT with BPM will be THE recipe for my business success.

FACT: Indeed, BPM and IoT can expand your value chain. But at the end of the day, it is all about people, not the tools or methodology that truly matter.

Both BPM and IoT are people- and customer-centric: it is about getting the right information in the hands of the right people at the right time to deliver results that your customers want. It is not just about maintaining machines and data, but more about maintaining all kinds of interpersonal relationships, internally and externally.

For your business to become truly efficient, responsive, and personalized, you need to connect your people with technology, and align people with your business goals. Looking at the future, the link between people and technology will certainly deepen and become closer than ever. And we need qualified people to understand the tremendous potential of BPM and IoT, and how to correctly implement them, which will contribute greatly to your business success.

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