AIIM Industry Watch: Process Improvement and Automation 2016 – A Look at BPM

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Many organizations recognize the need to improve their business processes and the benefits that result from process automation. Similar to the rise in the dependence upon and criticality of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems shown in the 2016 AIIM Industry Watch Report titled “Information Management – State of the Industry 2016”, fifty-five percent of respondents to this survey say Business Process Management (BPM) is significant (38%) or imperative (17%) for their business.

Research shows that it is quite clear that many business leaders understand now more than ever before, that information and process form an integrated component of business operations as a whole. There is a growing realization that when something is changed in the way information is managed, it inherently impacts the associated business processes and the way people work and interact with that information. Likewise, when process is changed, it will impact worker interactions with each other and with business information. The simple truth is that content without process goes nowhere and process without content serves no purpose.

Given this growing sense of importance and need for BPM, attention turns to how well BPM is truly understood by the users and business leaders, how amenable organizations are to change their waysof- working, and the focus they have on solving business problems through process improvement and automation. There is also a commitment that should be made to continuously improve business processes as an ongoing effort, rather than approach it as a singular project. Ongoing improvement should be an embedded part of the business culture with periodic assessments to identify additional areas for improvement and automation as a follow-up to project completion.

In this comprehensive report, we look at the perceptions of BPM, business drivers, technology infrastructure, benefits, technical requirements, and purchase and spend plans of responding organizations. Each section presents our findings along with the analyst’s views. The report concludes with a summation and recommendations organizations can apply to their business, based on the survey findings.

Key Findings

Perceptions of BPM

  1. The majority of respondents see BPM as the combination of a systematic approach to improving business processes (97%) and workflow or BPM technology (79%). 66% see BPM as change management.
  2. Forty-eight percent of respondents say they are vaguely familiar or have no clear understanding of BPM. 18% say it is well understood and embraced in their organizations.
  3. Nearly a third of respondents say there is no one directly responsible for ownership of their processes. 58% say they have process owners.
  4. Fifty-five percent of respondents say BPM is significant (38%) or imperative (17%) for their business. For 14% there is little to no importance placed on BPM.

Business Drivers

  1. Stuck-in-process is the biggest operational problem for 58% of respondents. For 46% it has to deal with compliance errors.
  2. According to 32% of respondents, BPM projects are driven departmentally. For 31% BPM project are driven from the top down.
  3. Outsourcing of payroll and benefits is routine for 35% of respondents. Outbound mail and print are routinely outsourced for 30%.
  4. Process governance policies are in place for 48% with 14% of those respondents indicating they are enterprise-wide. For 18%, there are no process related policies at all.

Technology Infrastructure

  1. Large mailroom scanners are in place, supporting digital mailrooms for 21% of respondents. For 31% of respondents, a distributed capture process is in use.
  2. Cloud services and mobile device use are key functionalities in use by 40% of respondents. ECM/ERP data management integration is in place for 46% of organizations.
  3. Process modeling (66%) and Business Activity Monitoring or BAM (53%) are being used by respondents’ organizations. While Application Programming Interfaces (API) and Software Development Kits (SDK) are in use by 47% of responding organizations.


  1. One-third of organizations have seen a decrease in their review and approval cycles and 62% say they have gained benefits from better routing to and between individuals. For 42%, the benefits come from greater organizational agility and routing between processes.
  2. Faster processing of business critical activities has provided the biggest value for 53% of respondents. 45% cite their biggest value from fewer errors and exceptions processing.
  3. Payback has been realized within a year for 41% of respondents of which 17% cite ROI within 6 months. For 25% their ROI was within 18 months.

Technical Requirements

  1. Analytics and reporting are considered mandatory for 64% of respondents. User defined process mapping and modification is the top requirement for 51%.
  2. Mobile and cloud support are seen as important for 67% of organizations. Production of executable files is considered irrelevant (47%).
  3. Audit trails and executed process must be secured for 89% of respondents. Security over performance metrics and reporting is key for 74%.

Purchase and Spend

  1. When considering a supplier, functionality (87%) and scalability (66%) rate high. Out-of-the-box processes are a high consideration for 41% of respondents.
  2. Purchases will be made within a year by 22% of respondents with 12% citing within 6 months. In that same time frame, those who have solutions plan to expand within a year (38%) and of those, 20% plan expansion within 6 months.
  3. The line-of-business managers will conduct the evaluation process for 35% of respondents. The decision will be made by the CIO/COO for 68%.

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