Introduction

Volume 1: Introduction

  1. What is Business Process Management
    by Michael Hammer
  2. Process Management for Knowledge Work
    by Thomas H. Davenport
  3. The Scope and Evolution of Business Process Management
    by Paul Harmon
  4. A Framework for Defining and Designing the Structure of Work
    by Geary A. Rummler and Alan J. Ramias
  5. The Six Core Elements of Business Process Management
    by Michael Rosemann and Jan vom Brocke

The past 20 years have brought increasing interest in the domain of Business Process Management (BPM) by an ever-growing community of managers, end users, analysts, consultants, vendors, and academics. This growing interest is visible in a substantial body of knowledge, an expanding scope, and a plethora of methodologies, tools, and techniques. While the demand for BPM increases and BPM capabilities mature, the challenge to provide concise and widely accepted definitions, taxonomies, and overall frameworks for BPM has grown.

Being able to attract the world’s leading minds from within the BPM community behind the ambitions of this Handbook has been a great honor for us. This introductory section features the contemporary views of global thought leaders who have shaped the understanding, development, and uptake of BPM.

In the opening chapter Michael Hammer seeks to answer the essential question, “What Is Business Process Management?” Hammer characterizes BPM as the first fundamental set of new ideas on organizational performance since the Industrial Revolution, discussing the origins of BPM, the process management cycle, and its benefits, enablers, and necessary capabilities. All these lead to an extended set of BPM principles and the role of enterprise process models.

In the next chapter, Thomas Davenport correlates BPM with knowledge management to explore the challenges of process design for knowledge-intensive processes. In this context Davenport discusses the creation, distribution, and application of knowledge, contrasts the processes and the practice in knowledge work, and lists process interventions. The chapter raises awareness of the challenges of BPM that emerge once the transactional processes are covered.

Critics often describe BPM as a concept with a limited lifespan, but Paul Harmon argues convincingly in the third chapter that BPM is the culmination of a series of mature concepts sharing a passion for process. Harmon outlines the concepts and outcomes of three important process traditions—quality management, business management, and information technology—and reflects on the thought leaders for each of the three traditions and the “today and tomorrow” of BPM. Harmon’s differentiation between the enterprise level and process level is picked up in a number of contributions in this handbook.

One of the earliest contributors to the field of process-based management, Geary Rummler provides thoughts on the structure of work. Co-authored with Alan Ramias, Rummler’s chapter focuses on the business layer in an enterprise architecture and discusses the importance of a sound understanding of value creation and a corresponding management system. Rummler and Ramias stress that business (process) architectures cannot stand in isolation but must be linked to other architectural frameworks in order to form a complete value creation architecture.

The fifth chapter, by Michael Rosemann and Jan vom Brocke, introduces the underlying structure for both volumes of the BPM Handbook. Six complementary core elements of BPM, which provide a framework for BPM, must be addressed as part of enterprise-wide, effective BPM initiatives. This chapter describes the essence of these factors, which are explored in more detail in the various sections of this handbook.