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How can BPM help fuel business growth?

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As companies turn away from cost-cutting and start focusing on business growth, what's the best way to use BPM to help fuel business growth?

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  • Where do you start here ?

    - Alignment of the right processes to the right business strategy
    - Alignment of people, process and technology to work together
    - Transparency of process, responsibilities, risks, communication and understanding of business goals

    Biggest benefits in terms of growth is when you decide to look at BPM outside of the 'efficiency driven' perspectives and more towards creating a flexible and responsive enterprise, not a reactive one.

  • A very good question indeed.

    The success or fail of BPM depends mostly not on the quality of the process application but on the goals we define for the BPM initiative. Particularily important are the process picked up for the initiative and improvement targets set up for the process.

    We use the combination of Rummler's value chain analysis and Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC) as a systematic approach to performance issues:
    1) Redefine the generic value chain in industry/company-specific terms.
    2) Identify the bottleneck.
    3) "Exploit" it (TOC term meaning getting maximum output of the resource/process/activity)
    4) Subordinating other processes to the performance and rhytm of the constraining process.

    As a result, the company increases its "throughput" (another TOC term) and the business enjoys grows from better utilization of same resources.

    In the special yet very common case of the market being a constraint, the Outside-In ideas are applicable.

    To sum up, achieving business growth requires not just BPM competence but also a big deal of business/performance consulting. Or, as someone call it, the Enterprise BPM competence.

  • Manual processes handicap business: not only do they impair business velocity, the speed and direction of the business but they handcuff creativity.

    Business growth is only achievable and sustainable with nimble processes that are fully automated. To attempt to grow otherwise will result in slower rates and lower goals because of the drag of old, rigid and manual systems.

    We must invest in new markets, new products, new market research but if we don't invest in the infrastructure that takes us there we will not maximize the market potential and we will not be able to maintain our leadership position against the inevitable competition that is prepared to go to market with the simple, sexy system.

  • In a recent article around the publishing of the 100 most innovative companies the concept of the innovation code was discussed as it pertains to the people, processes and philosophies that makeup an organization's innovation DNA (http://blogs.forbes.com/tompost/2011/07/20/the-most-innovative-companies-today-and-tomorrow/).

    As organizations start focusing on growing their businesses (new products, new markets, new channels), the processes that an organization uses to innovate will and should come under more intense scrutiny. This is where BPM can plan a significant role as businesses start codifying what it is that makes them innovative.

  • I agree violently ;-) with Theo's comments about alignment and agility. BPM and BPM technology can enable the execution of business strategy when the processes are aligned with the strategy. (As an aside, in my experience, most businesses need agility, but some not so much. And in some cases automation actually hinders agility.) But if the strategy isn't solid, there's no point in using BPM to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. That just makes for a better sinking.

  • I don't agree that companies are completely moving away from cost-cutting. Doing more with less is here to stay. So the focus on business growth has to be carefully orchestrated with cost savings measures to achieve higher shareholder value. BPM helps on many fronts as already identified in the comments above. In my view it also stimulates a cultural shift toward thinking about the processes and, ultimately, how business can achieve more with less which is a good thing.

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