Women, science and business process management

In this Software AG blog post, we celebrate Women in Science Day 2022 by talking to two women who chose a career in business process management (BPM).

Carolin Vollmer Carolin Vollmer

Today we celebrate Women in Science Day 2022 by talking to two women who chose a career in business process management (BPM).

What does a career in process management have to do with Women in Science Day? First, you need to understand the characteristics that make a good scientist.

According to educators, a good scientist has curiosity, patience, attention to detail, courage, creativity, persistence, good communication skills and is open-minded and a problem-solver.

Add empathy to the list and all the same characteristics apply to a career in BPM! So, are women naturally suited to a career in BPM?

I am a woman in BPM and have just started my career in this exciting environment. I wanted to learn more about women in BPM, so in the first in a series of our Women in BPM interviews, I posed the questions below to two of our own experts – Denitza Fuchs, Vice President for ARIS R&D, and Josèphe Blondaut, Director & Head of global ARIS Product Marketing.

Here is what they said:

  1. Why women in BPM?

Josèphe: This is truly not a question anymore. There are a lot of women in BPM, especially in big projects led in global big companies. We have a lot to learn from them: How did they come to BPM, what did they learn on their journey, what makes them special in this area?

  1. Why did you choose your job in BPM?

Denitza: I grew up in Bulgaria and took mathematics and computer science in high school. This was Eastern Europe just after the fall of the Berlin wall, and computers were rare. I used a green-screen Bulgarian Pravets computer to learn Pascal, Basic, Assembler. I was fascinated. So, at university in Saarbrucken, I studied computer science. I love the process management domain, the technology, the cloud – it all comes together in my daily work.

Josèphe: I had computer as child and sometimes programmed funny games. But I was not an IT freak at all. I was into international business, marketing, and came to ARIS after studies in France, then Saarbrucken and Cambridge. Then I discovered my passion for processes. I was an SAP consultant and used ARIS to structure our work and discuss with customers’ stakeholders on how to work best in future – meaning doing some as-is and to-be process analysis. What I really love about process management is that people are highly important – you need to understand people, what they do right now, how to change, and we support that.

  1. How do you explain process management to someone who never heard of it?

Denitza: I had a situation like this, trying to explain it to my mother-in-law. I described it as understanding, analyzing and improving the way a company operates.

Josèphe: Processes are ways of working in a company, that is to say the procedures they have in place and steps they execute to achieve a specific goal – such as create an order. To make is easier to understand, there is an example I always use: the coffee making process. If you want to have your coffee in the morning, your goal is to get the best taste, the fastest way possible. To do this you have to analyze and optimize the needed steps: Don’t run around the kitchen looking for things – that’s not the best process. Keep all your coffee things in one place, that way you can find them and make your cup quickly. Process management!

  1. Why are women so successful BPM?

Josèphe: Men are successful too! But there are two things about women:

  1. Empathy: Women typically have emotional capabilities that suit the job. The job is about talking to people, finding out what they do, why they do it like this and collaborating, a lot, because change is emotional… and this works well with women.
  2. Relationships: Many companies have budget and planning constraints; this leads to small BPM teams for big organizations. So as a process management owner, you must create a variety of relationships with different departments so that they are happy to support you, even if they have no time or budget dedicated to operational excellence – so it can advantage to be female for this network creation.

Denitza: Agreed. Also, women typically tend to have flexible mindsets… adaptability. They are not too proud to ask the way. Continuous improvement is part of that.

Josèphe: Yes, we are usually not afraid to say: “We did it wrong, let’s try again another way.”

  1. What are biggest challenges for women in leadership positions?

Denitza: There are still many women who feel they must decide between their career and children. But if you lose these women, you lose enormous potential. Diverse teams are more successful. We need visible role models. And building networks is crucial to support and inspire each other.

Josèphe: Struggling with both career and family, when you want to be best at everything you do – the best mother, the best leader, etc. – is tough. McKinsey shows that women in leadership positions during the pandemic – working from home – found it very difficult to balance their responsibilities and many of them simply gave up their job. That’s a shame.

  1. What is the answer?

“Lead by example,” said Josèphe.

“Be authentic,” said Denitza.

You can see that women in BPM and women in science have a lot in common. Having a diversity of perspectives is important and it means that we need women in science; process management is a perfect example of an area where they can really make a difference.

We will find out what other women in BPM think about their jobs, lives, and the technology universe in upcoming articles, where we will be interviewing many other women leading transformation, operational excellence and process management projects at our ARIS customers and partners.

Watch the video here: 

In the meantime, happy Women in Science Day!