February 6, 2012 – Presidential candidates aren’t the only ones dealing with politics. A report by Gartner Research forecasts that one-third of business process management projects will fizzle over the next four years due to executive politics like executive power struggles, resistance to change and poor collaboration.

There are already signs of organizational politics causing problems, as a Gartner survey of BPM professionals showed 53 percent of respondents attributing politics as the main obstacle preventing further adoption of BPM.

Elise Olding, research director at Gartner, says the rise of politics as a hindrance to BPM is a consequence of more enterprises moving from enthusiasm to actual implementations. With one-off projects within a department, these political hurdles hold less of a chance of disruption, Olding says. It’s with cross-departmental programs that involve shared data and collaboration where management disagreements or dismissal can sink BPM.

Anecdotally, Olding pointed to the hypothetical establishment of BPM for a retail sales force, which on the surface has numerous related vice presidents, but in practice puts them under shared control of the same new area of business.

“If I am one of those other VPs, and I see that there is one area for the four of us, it starts to become personal,” Olding says.

Even with organizational political challenges, Gartner highlighted two areas that will increase and boost BPM adoption and success: BPM platform-as-a-service and gamification. By 2016, Gartner forecasts 20 percent of hidden and informal work like spreadsheets, messaging and face-to-face collaboration to be supported off-premise in BPM as-a-service offerings. These BPM PaaS will also handle the rise of unstructured, non-routine processes, which Gartner anticipates to increase of 15 percent from 2010 to 40 percent of all enterprise work by 2015.

Michele Cantara, research VP at Gartner, says that as-a-service offerings are a cost-effective and often automated fit in this BPM capacity, which should be encouraged as a means to offset other process challenges.

"To encourage shadow process owners to make their processes more visible, business process improvement leaders, application managers and enterprise architects should proactively suggest high-productivity BPM cloud platforms to their business process stakeholders," Cantara said in a release on the report.

Gamification, which Gartner defines as the “trend of applying game mechanics to non-game environments to motivate people and change behavior,” will be included in 25 percent of all redesigned processes. The participation and feedback aspects of gamification encourage participation, thus working through political challenges with BPM implementations.

To access a copy of the report, “Organizational Politics Hampers, Gamification Motivates BPM Adoption,” click here.