Por Kay Winkler


"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is the inability to understand the exponential function." (Dr. Albert Bartlett)

Economic shocks due to financial crises, caused in part by derivative speculations, have created strong additional arguments as to why BPM initiatives can be justified, aiming for leaner and more productive, flexible and efficient operations.

Ever more complete BPMS's allow for constantly improved process solutions, covering, especially in human centric environments, the even most complex challenges like dynamic rules and routing, process and workflow mapping according to industry standards, embedded data cubes and many more features.

Could such a case be made for the ecological side of the "BPM benefits coin"?

Natural disasters of late, that seemingly have an increasing frequency of occurrence and visibility, certainly seem to point into a direction were a stronger correlation between ecological (im)balance and additional impacts to the already disaster ridden economy can be found. According to Forbes, Sandy's price tag has been estimated at a very tangible USD +20 billion.

Emergency funds dedicated to recovery from such disasters in the future (like the USD 50 billion budget towards recovery from Sandy, approved by the House of Representatives, the 15th of January this year), will surely find its long term sourcing back to the companies in the form of new or increased fiscal obligations. As is the case – a far more visible impact to each micro and macro economy – with the exponential increase in price and demand of energy, facing a steadily decreasing discovery and production of its current main source (see Colin Campbell's depletion model). Resulting speculation, distribution restrictions and the shift to alternate energy sources will certainly find its funding basis on the back of the companies and consumers as well.

Now, how can BPM help? It most likely partially does, already. A successful BPM implementation that covers a human centric process, which in turn is mission critical to a corporation, can produce perceivable ecological benefits in a significantly reduced carbon footprint as a result of reduced electric energy, paper and gasoline consumption for instance.

These ecological savings, due to the trends mentioned above, become more equalized with economical savings for the BPM engaging company. In that sense there seems to be a real potential for conscious process and BPM platform improvements that dynamically and pro-actively track those economical/ecological indicators, allowing for them as well continued improvements.

Laura Mooney in her e-booklet "Green BPM" summarizes the main benefits of such an initiative in 3 variables – paper reduction, fuel reduction and the efficiency increase of manufacturing and supply chain processes. In his paper "Green BPM: Processes with a Conscience," Jim Sinur underlines the relation of the economic benefit to reduce the footprint that is influenced by the variables of paper consumption and physical movement.

Monitoring the ecological variables of business processes as economic output influencers, as a native and integral part of the coming generation of BPMS, maybe a viable next step for future process enhancements.