Process Management 4 mins read

The rise of operational chaos, and how BPM can help

When new tech investments are on the rise, so is operational chaos. In our recent study with 1,500 business leaders, we saw how operational chaos is reshaping the landscape of business operations – and what you can do about it.

Josèphe Blondaut Josèphe Blondaut

Operational chaos is more than just a buzzword; it’s a reality for businesses expanding their tech investment at an unprecedented pace. With 86% of companies significantly growing their tech stacks, the unintended consequence has been a surge in complexity and, ultimately, operational chaos. This chaos is characterized by a labyrinth of intersecting, often loosely connected systems and processes that challenge the very essence of operations.  

The acceleration of digital transformation investments, initially spurred by the 2020 pandemic, has introduced new risks and uncertainties. Stricter legislation, an unpredictable global environment, and the rapid proliferation of generative AI (GenAI) technologies have compounded these challenges, pushing businesses to the brink of operational overload. 

Regardless of how new or old technology may be, processes connect everything you do as a business. Without thorough process visibility you lose control, agility, and resilience, and indeed get stuck with operational chaos.  

Here are a few key insights from the report. (For more, read the full report here.)

The risks (and opportunities) of GenAI 

GenAI to both exacerbate operational chaos and serve as a beacon of opportunity. While GenAI empowers business users to create new applications and processes swiftly, it also threatens to expand the scope of operations dramatically. However, within this risk lies a golden opportunity for differentiation, efficiency, and resilience enhancement. 

It’s an increasingly complex world 

The pace of change, driven by evolving customer expectations, geopolitical shifts, and the relentless march of technology, has left many companies struggling to manage the resulting complexity. There is a dual challenge of maintaining governance and resilience while avoiding the pitfalls of losing control over business complexities. 

The dilemma of a “blurred business vision” 

A significant concern among business leaders is the “blurred vision” effect, where the growth of operational chaos leads to a loss of control and clarity. This lack of visibility hampers decision-making and operational improvement, with new processes often being created without proper governance, leading to unmanaged and inefficient operations. This contributes to the chaos without even officially existing. 

Bridging the IT-business divide 

There is a growing conflict between business and IT functions, complicated by the fact that technology decisions are often made by line-of-business users. With decisions made and then implemented in silos across the company, operations become fragmented and processes are put in place outside of IT’s purview. This conflict is a microcosm of the larger issue of control loss, with only a third of organizations feeling their digital transformation efforts have been successful. 

Charting a course through the chaos 

The insights from these leaders underscore the need for a strategic approach to managing operational chaos. As sophisticated as many organizations may be, they often fall short when it comes to having a well-documented “single way of working.” And where process frameworks do exist, are they being followed? Business Process Management (BPM) tools are a vital instrument to bring order (and consistency) to this chaos. 

Business Process Management (BPM) is the answer 

BPM is the antidote to operational chaos. By offering a comprehensive understanding of the operations (i.e. business processes), BPM brings visibility and order, enabling organizations to differentiate, gain control, and enhance agility. From ensuring competitive pricing in the retail sector to streamlining product development cycles, BPM is touted as the key to unlocking operational excellence

Effective use of BPM and/or Process Mining can significantly improve operations. It will expedite the definition and rollout of new processes, helping businesses respond swiftly to both anticipated and unforeseen changes. 

Beyond the chaos 

The insights from these 1,500 business leaders paint a vivid picture of the current state of operational chaos and the path forward. While the challenges are daunting, the opportunities for differentiation, control, agility, and resilience are immense. As businesses navigate through the complexities of the digital age, embracing strategic management with BPM will be crucial in turning operational chaos into a strategic advantage. 

The perspectives shared by these leaders offer a roadmap for businesses looking to not just survive but thrive amid operational chaos. By harnessing the right strategies and tools, companies can transform challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation.