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I hear many times that the school and the real world (aka "business") are different and the things that work in one doesn't work in the other. I don't agree with that.

I think that BPM could be very usefull in education centers and educaton systems and also at research centers linked to universities. I think that should be some education and/or research centers that at least apply BPM to improve the administrative areas, but I would like to know if there are some of them that apply it to the academic areas.

What do you think?



by Sebastian Stein
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 09:00

Hi Ruben,

I very much agree with you. Sometimes, administrative processes of universities are very slow and complex (don't ask how long I'm waiting already to be allowed to defend my PhD thesis). In addition, it is not just about improving own internal processes, but also to have a research example they could work on. So if an university doesn't have access to business users to test their new BPM ideas, they should at least have access to their own administration. Companies would maybe be more willing to adapt new BPM research insights if universities can prove that it at least works in an educational setting.



by Parveen Jaswal
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 10:56

Hi All,

Very interesting thoughts.

Sometime back I also have the mindset that BPM as its name suggests "Business Process Management" can only be meant for Business organisations. I was forced to give a second thought that why BPM can not be implemented in Education & Research Centres when my team was involved in a ARIS implementation for a leading University.

After checking the implementation I got to know that how much sense that BPM implementation is making in education and Research Cetres.

As Sebastian has mentioned, I was surprised to see the complex administrative processes they are following.

They are highly thankful to ARIS for enabling them to develop the holistic view of their complex processes.



by Alison Pope
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 11:27

 Hi Reuben,

As both a student but also a business analyst in a university I think that there is no reason that BPM should not be effectively applied in the education sector.  For those of us who work in it a university is still a business just one that has a slightly different business model and 'product.  We still do finance, HR, purchasing, facilities management etc and BPM applied to these corporate services is no different than anywhere else.  

We have complex processes because our product is quite complex.  Students buy not just a course or a qualification but also an experience and for those who live on campus their whole life.  We do teaching, research, but also provide accommodation, entertaining, conferences, banqueting etc. and each offering is personalised.

We also have to negotiate a complex path between being more commercial now students are charged directly for fees, and still being strongly governed by state and legislative demands.  BPM can help us find a way through this hybrid setup and cope with the demands being placed on the sector.

Our business development team and formal work on BPM is still quite immature but  we are looking to BPM to help reduce the administrative complexity with the same aims of any business: provide a better service, do more with less resources, reduce costs.  We have also experimented with some BPM in more academic systems and processes like anaysing the course lifecycle to try and figure out better ways of getting course resources set up.  We haven't done too much work with any faculty here at the moment to link up with any research we are doing in this area.



by René Weimar
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 12:07

 Maybe looking at some of the reasons why companies implement bpm initiatives can give us an idea of why German universities haven't done so just yet:

* improve customer satisfaction: universities in Germany usually don't think of their students as customers - they have no incentive to improve customer satisfaction (e.g. by speeding up processes)

* gain competitive advantage: universites don't compete with each other in the same way that businesses do, so there is no incentive for gaining competitive advantage over other universities by improving processes

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to rant about universities here, although my two points above really do come from experience.

However, as Alison already mentioned, I also believe that the above is different for private schools/universities - where students actually pay a considerable amount of money for their education and where the universities can't afford to lose their 'customers' and need to be cost-effective. That will ultimately force universities to think about and implement BPM - as for the question if BPM is applicable for universities I can see no reason why it shouldn't be. They do have processes, don't they?

by Ruben Rivera Author
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 17:16

In reply to by sstein

Rene is talking about a very important point, actually the must one: motivation. I think that this is the one that make the difference between the most common idea about what the "business" term means, specially for the people to whom the english is their second language.

In my experience, most academics and education and research center administrators that I know understant "business" as "a making money thing" in contrast with the education and research centers that are viewed by them as "a making non-tangible thing". I say "making" to express the idea in the most shortest way. 

Appears that the ones who are participating at this moment in this discussion aggree that in either case there is a transformation that could be improved usign BPM.

Note: Maybe could be useful use "conservation" term instead "transformation" if the entity in focus is a library, museum or maintenance like areas).



by Uwe Roediger
Posted on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 13:31

Many schools and universities are already ARIS customers because they are using our products as part of their courses. It is an interesting question, why they are teaching their students how to manage business processes and what benefits the different BPM related uses cases (BSC, Six Sigma, Enterprise Atrchitecture, SOA, ...) can bring, but are not using thses approaches theirselves. Is the only rational here that the "shoemaker's son always goes barefoot"?

Another point - I do not agree completely to make such a difference between private and public schools. Of course in private schools the students will more be considered as customers as in public schools. But also public schools have a competition - regarding the public money. they get. If the flow of public money will be reduced because the public authorithy has to save expenses, they have the pressure to introduce BPM and gain the benefits from it.


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