Class Notes: Considering Context in Business Process Management: The BPM Context Framework

Jan vom Brocke, Sarah Zelt, and Theresa Schmiedel: In this note, we want to make the point that BPM needs to consider the context of a BPM initiative much more than is currently being done. The management of processes in organizations has moved from managing production processes to managing administrative processes, and today there is a need (and a chance) to move beyond incremental improvement of processes towards their complete innovation, particularly through digital technology. The methods used for process management, however, have not followed these developments, and they are essentially the same ones that were developed twenty years ago to streamline operational processes. We find that this causes two important problems: (1) the failure of BPM projects, as methods are used that do not fit the relevant context, and (2) the organizational renunciation of BPM in order to avoid such failure. However, we also find that BPM could successfully meet a variety of contemporary challenges. But in order to leverage this potential, BPM needs to be more sensitive towards the relevant context of its application. For this purpose, we recently developed a contextual framework to help identify and discuss relevant contextual factors and to develop skills and methods that are context-sensitive. It is referred to as the BPM Context Framework. We will introduce the BPM Context Framework in this note and show how it can be applied in BPM practice. The context factors of the BPM Context Framework can be enhanced through additional factors, and we invite everybody to engage in this discussion to help BPM become more context-sensitive and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of BPM practices.

Business Process Management