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Organizational process standardization is the key to efficiency


April 25, 2013

Enterprise Software Success Myth #4

Doug Hadden, VP Products

FreeBalance is a medium-sized Independent Software Vendor (ISV) with considerable success competing against very large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) vendors. We are sharing 16 lessons learned by bucking conventional wisdom to encourage industry innovation and creativity.

Conventional View

Improving process efficiency within an enterprise structure, particularly through Business Process Management (BPM), is considered a “best practice” within the Enterprise Software market. Standardization is often seen as improving efficiency. In this case, efficiency is achieved through improved and granular articulation of business processes that are common across the organization. Many large governments are attempting impose standardization.


Best-of-breed workflow and BPM suites have been available for decades. Major Enterprise Software vendors including BPM functionality within product suites. Interest in workflow and business process re-engineering seems to come and go in waves in the technology press.

Emerging Trends

  • Lean processes, as described a by Eric Reiss in the Lean Startup demonstrates the high cost of building the wrong products when using the best process practices.
  • Many organizations are finding diminishing returns to BPM by introducing unnecessary complexity that often fails to consider the human factor that provides context.
  • Social media has introduces new forms of engagement as described by Ray Wang of the Constellation Research Group that largely defies articulation as business processes.
  • There seems to be the realization that tools for creativity and innovation requires a different paradigm than BPM, although workflow is a part of a comprehensive enterprise software solution.

FreeBalance Approach

FreeBalance recommends practical approaches to improving GRP processes.

  • Good practices that are appropriate for organizational risk and capacity should be leveraged. These are practices that are better for government organizations based on their context.
  • Practices should evolve and mature based on the changing context such as government mandates, public service capacity and the results from performance audits.
  • Financial and budget controls are critical to government fiscal discipline. But, the depth of these controls and the extent of discretion should be set based on context and risk. There is no improvement in efficiency by having complex but standardized processes.
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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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