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Can You Identify the Most Important Processes That Should be Managed by BPM?

Can You Identify the Most Important Processes That Should be Managed by BPM?

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This question comes from Scott Cleveland who's ebizQ blog is right here: It is very likely that "managing the 20% of your processes (the processes that are most important to creating value) will get you the most (80%) benefit."  And, if this is true, how many of you can actually identify the 20% with any level of confidence?

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  • I personally think it's very tough to say with 100% confidence that any single person can identify 20% of processes in a enterprise that create value, and the bigger the enterprise bigger the problem. The best approach is have a BPM Competency Center working within your enterprise or outside to identify the 20% of processes. This BPM Competency Center should include Process Analyst, Business Analysts and Stakeholders so they can identify 20% of processes which will create value.

  • The most important processes to be managed by a BPM are the ones that are the most consistent and the provide the most value by being visible. In any company, the business processes will range from being completely ad hoc to completely predictable. A BPMS can be used at either extreme, but when processes are inconsistent and ad hoc there is less value to having visibility into their current state. After all, for an ad hoc process, where it currently is says very little about where it is going to end up or when it will get there.

    Between business processes that exhibit a similar level of consistency, the deciding factor is the more subjective question of which provides greater value by being visible. In other words, what do managers want to know when they want to know what is going on with their business. Any good BPMS can provide that kind of visibility for the processes that are controlled by the BPMS. So, manage the processes that you want to know about!

  • This is a great question!

    As more and more of our Open Source BPM Software (www.processmaker.com) gets installed around the globe, we continue to hear about more and more interesting success stories. We are also doing more consulting with companies and governments to help them with their BPM projects. So, I really love to reflect upon this question because it comes up in almost every client meeting.

    My answer always has a few layers to it:

    1) ROI - The easiest answer is to go after the process that gives the greatest return on investment. This says it all in 3 letters. If your process is long and messy, filled with paperwork, and at the core of your business, then automating it with a BPM system will probably give a significant ROI. Seems simple enough, right?
    2) "Organizational Culture" - This is the second, mostly hidden layer that many BPM consultants fail to consider. In our classes we try and teach BPM consultants the subtleties around this issue. Large BPM projects, like any large software project, can tend to be long and difficult to implement because of the number of actors involved. So, if the internal team in charge of a bpm implementation doesn't have the greatest internal strength in their organization or fears some political backlash from other actors, then we may suggest they start by automating a lower hanging fruit where they can get some stronger success earlier on in the process. We have found this can often be critical in larger organizations where the implementation team has aspirations of automating many different processes at many different levels of the organization.
    3) "Custom" - We tend to look for the most "custom" process an organization has. This is usually very related to #1 because the most custom process is normally some how related to the core of the business. We have other users applying ProcessMaker to more traditional processes like CRM or others, but there are usually enough "Standard" software options out there to solve those problems. So, we encourage a business or a business unit to tell us about some truly unique (and usually messy) process that they have that is currently being solved by a mix of different (often older) software, systems, paper, and people. That is where ProcessMaker wants to be the solution.

  • In addressing this question, I want to go back to a concept that I embraced back in the late '90s and that is core -vs- context. IMO, if an organization is investing in BPM as a practice and discpline to improve their business processes, they want to apply this effort in the areas with the best payoff against their business goals. By making the effort to apply BPM and do the heavy lifting of analyzing as-is and to-be processes and applying resources on how to optimize them using BPM tools and methodologies to processes that are core to the business itself, the company will establish a tighter tie between business goals and IT outcomes.

    For those processes that are context, i.e. if your business is delivering packages, then optimizing internal employee onboarding or end of quarter financial reporting are context, the business may be better off looking to pre-existing solutions (packaged applications, business process outsources). This way, the organization can focus limited, highly skilled BPM resources on the core, such as allocation of transportation suppliers to high volume regions in the delivery example. (credit to Geoffrey Moore for the Core-vs-context example)

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