Business process management in an intrapreneurial software organisation
Business process management (BPM) is a philosophical approach to organisation-wide management in which the focus is on the processes through which it operates, and in particular the streamlining and optimising of these processes, for which software solutions may be used. CTexT is an intrapreneurial software organisation that has been experiencing problems with software development due to a lack of formal processes relating to customer support, versioning, configuration, quality, risk and project management. The objective of the study is to determine whether the implementation of an electronic BPM system can effectively solve CTexT's development problems and thereby improve its overall software development capacity. More specifically, the focus is on i) the effect of the resulting standardisation on creativity and innovation, and ii) implementation matters, such as the type of processes that can be subjected to an electronic system, and how CTexT can overcome the time and cost constraints of such a system. The study investigates these questions by means of a literature investigation in combination with interviews with knowledgeable respondents from other innovative and software organisations. Interviews with six employees from CTexT determine the relevance of these findings and highlight critical areas for process improvement. Since BPM systems improve organisational efficiencies and are generally employed in larger corporate contexts marked by transactional and repetitive activities where they enforce administrative rules, the conclusion is drawn that a BPM system will not be suitable for an intrapreneurial organisation, and that it is likely to cause more disruption to the creative environment than improve its operations. It is further shown that although a BPM system is theoretically applicable to software development, it generally does not seem to be applied practically in the industry, and the suitability of this process as manageable through a BPM system is seriously questioned. Instead, the research points to improvement through the application of software development methodologies and a holistic approach towards BPM. The investigation at CTexT confirms that its development problems relate to flawed methodologies and that remedies should therefore focus on improving its methodologies and controlling certain aspects of the software development life cycle by means of suitable software tools.