The e-BPI Challenge

Hurwitz: Enterprises gearing up for e-business process integration, but obstacles persist

Framingham, MA  December 6, 2001  Enterprises are only now gearing up to integrate their most important business processes, but business obstacles, resistance to cultural change and lack of awareness of existing solutions are hampering the rapid move to e-business process integration (e-BPI), according to a new study by consultancy Hurwitz Group.

Hurwitz's e-BPI Primary Research Opportunity (PRO) study of more than 600 enterprises revealed that only 10 percent of enterprises have fully integrated their most mission-critical business processes, while 45 percent have yet to begin executing on a strategy for integration.

"Several factors have inhibited the early adoption of mission-critical integration solutions," said Tyler McDaniel, a director at Hurwitz Group. "The primary roadblocks for enterprises have been business obstacles and resistance to cultural change. To be successful with business process integration, integration suppliers must clearly map their respective products to business concerns, not simply to technology issues."

From a product perspective, Hurwitz found a significant lack of awareness among most enterprises about what new integration tools are currently available. As a result, enterprises continue to use tools with limited functionality and don't cover the whole spectrum of needs for e-BPI. While this creates enormous IT challenges for the enterprise, Hurwitz concludes that it also presents solution providers with significant opportunity.

In fact, Hurwitz found that IT budgets allocated for integration technology are on the rise, with enterprises gearing up to make significant progress in 2002. This should be welcome news for integration vendors, since it indicates that there is a growing market opportunity along with dedicated resources for integration projects.

The study showed that today's e-businesses no longer make a distinction between discreet internal or external processes. Business process integration is now viewed as a seamless melding of B2B endeavors and internal fulfillment processes, indicating that process integration solutions must now incorporate the extended enterprise.

Elsewhere in the study, Hurwitz reports that integrating supply chain information exchange processes is the top priority across all sizes of companies, companies utilize XML for less than 10 percent of their B2B data exchange and nearly 50 percent of companies rate return-on-investment metrics as the most important evaluation method for e-BPI solutions.

As they take on the integration challenge, McDaniel recommends that enterprises create inter-disciplinary groups that clearly understand the business goals of a given IT project and that have the savvy to map process requirements to underlying, horizontal technology. "This will result in higher IT project success rates, more satisfied business users, and a more flexible business process infrastructure," McDaniel concluded.