How to Cost a Business Process Management (BPM) SystemEmma Harris
One of the first questions anyone looking to implement a new Business Process Management (BPM) system needs the answer to is: what is the cost?
A key consideration is that there are both external and internal costs.Let’s look at both in turn and what needs to be considered for each.
You may expect these costs to be the easier ones to identify. You may imagine that all you need to do is contact a few BPM suppliers and ask them the cost of their systems and that they will tell you.
In reality you might find this harder than expected. BPM suppliers will generally want to ask you what your detailed requirements are, talk you through the various options of their systems, work with you to identify what you need and then they will give you a ball park cost.
So I hope the following will help...
The external costs of implementing a BPM system are generally made up of:
- Support and maintenance
To determine what a BPM system will cost, you will need to think about your requirements for all three.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What functionality do I need?
- What delivery method will my IT decision makers agree to? On-site? Cloud based?
- On what basis is the software licenced? Number of users, number of viewers, etc?
- On what basis are the software licences sold? Perpetual (lasts forever) or subscription (lasts for the period of the licence purchased)?
If the answer to the last question is subscription, there will be an on-going cost, so this must be determined as well as the first year cost.
Support and maintenance
- What help desk support is provided at what cost? E-mail? Phone? Both?
- What is the cost of keeping my software current?
If a separate cost is charged for support and maintenance it is likely to be charged on an annual basis, adding to both the first year and on-going cost.
- What are the on-boarding services? Are these required? Recommended?
- What optional services do I need for a successful implementation?
This is where the options really start to ramp up and it is tempting to try and reduce external costs by cutting down on the services purchased, however be cautious, this can be a false economy. In order to ensure that your Business Process Management system achieves what you need it to, time will need to be spent on both the implementation of your BPM system and delivering on your specific end objectives. If services aren’t purchased from an external supplier they will need to be delivered from internal resources, which of course still have a cost.
All of the above is explored on detail in the article How much does a Business Process Management (BPM) software system cost? This also covers the prices of the systems that Triaster offer.
To a certain extent your internal costs will be affected by the amount of services that you purchase from your BPM supplier. If you only purchase on-boarding costs, most of the implementation work will have to be delivered by internal resource.
In any event in order to ensure that the implementation of your BPM is successful, the following will have to be covered:
- Technical Implementation
- System Design and Governance
- Content Production and Approval
- Communication and Cultural Change
Examining each of these in turn:
How significant the time required on this will be, will depend on the System being implemented. The internal IT time needed will be significantly reduced if the software is Cloud hosted, but it is extremely likely that some internal IT time will be required.
How much this costs will depend on how your IT service is costed. But in calculating the time, do include your team’s time in liaising with IT.
System Design and Governance
Your BPM system must fit with the structure of your organisation. Time will need to be spent determining what structure will best suit your organisation and what design will work best for its intended end users. Getting this right pays enormous dividends in the long run, so it is important to spend time and resource on this at the implementation stage and this needs to be budgeted for.
Agreeing a governance framework for the system is also best agreed upfront – again saving a great deal of time later on.
Both the design and the governance framework can be outsourced to some extent, but to work effectively they will need to be customised to fit with your organisation, which needs time from internal resource.
Content Production and Approval
This is the big one in terms of internal time. Time is needed for three activities:
- Capturing/extracting the information from the process experts – who do the job
- Documenting the information – usually process mapping
- Approval of the processes – by the process owners
Whilst the capture of processes can be facilitated by an external organisation and the process mapping can also be outsourced, in any event time is needed from the internal processes experts and process owners, and this should be budgeted for.
Often the internal team implementing the BPM system, undertake the process facilitation and process mapping and then their time needs to be budgeted both for doing this and for training in how to use the process mapping tools and the BPM system.
Communication and cultural change
This is a far more significant internal time cost than is generally understood. For detail on what’s involved have a look at the article Problems with Business Process Management (BPM): Getting employees to follow the process.
Again, whilst the production of communication materials and programmes can be outsourced, some internal time will be required on this in order for it to be effective.
Whilst the internal time required will be most significant in the first year, the time needed to keep your BPM system current and useful will be on-going and this is best understood and budgeted at the outset.
So there is a lot to consider when costing a Business Process Management System. At Triaster we offer services which enable the outsourcing of much of the work of implementing a BPM solution and customers do often find, because we have a great deal of experience in delivering these, that the cost of outsourcing them to us, is less than delivering them with internal resource. However even if they do outsource to the max, there are still internal costs that need to be considered.
I hope that you have found this helpful. I am aware that with the focus just on cost considerations, that it might be off putting. Of course though, with the investment enormous value is delivered – and I will cover that in another article.
Written by Emma Harris
Emma was Operations Director for Triaster for nearly 20 years, during which time as well as learning and perfecting her BPM and process improvement skills, she honed her inbound marketing expertise. She now runs D2e - Designed to engage - which designs and develops bespoke, engaging, HubSpot CMS websites, that help your entire company to grow and scale. She is delighted to still be delivering Triaster's marketing, whilst also helping other companies turn their websites into their hardest working asset.