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Primer on how Small Business can Benefit from Business Process Management

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Business process management is not widely adopted yet by small business but small businesses stand to reap the most benefit as an industry. Here is a primer on how small businesses can start using BPM.

Getting Small Firms on Board With BPM

By John K. Higgins at CRM Buyer

There are many tools available to the small business that's interested in embarking on the BPM journey but is uncertain where to start. What's most important, however, is to clear the biggest hurdle that tends to prevent that interest from flowering: reluctance to make the cultural changes necessary to embrace the technology.

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The greatest obstacle small business operators face in adopting business process management (BPM) is themselves. That factor could account for the underutilization of BPM by small businesses -- and the reason BPM vendors have targeted the small business sector as a huge potential market. Of course, the abundant offerings of vendors can be confusing, and the trade jargon (SOA, Saas, ROI) can be daunting. Still, the reluctance of small firms to fully utilize BPM often comes down to one thing: attitude.

"No business is too small to take advantage of BPM. For example, even a six-person automotive shop has a finance system, sales and customer management -- even a Web site," Mike Cunningham, president of Harvard Computing Group, told CRM Buyer. "I believe it's ... orientation of the management and culture that has the major impact."

Small businesses have "corporate cultures" just as large ones do -- and a firm's culture springs from the personality of the owners or a few trusted managers. That can be a problem.

"For many small businesses, using technology is a cultural change. The owner often has most of the relevant information and for reasons of keeping control, the owner doesn't want to release it or share it," Susan Eustis, president of WinterGreen Research, told CRM Buyer.

For small firms to maximize the use of BPM, three major factors must come into play... continue reading.

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