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What drives your BPM project?

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A question from Garth Knudson, What drives your BPM project?

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  • Fairly open ended question from Garth, could be any number of factors depending on the need of the organisation:

    > Process alignment with strategy
    > Improvement, measurement and automation
    > The desire to beat your competitors and make more money
    > Invigorate the customer experience
    > Transparency of process and ownership, risk and control
    > Understanding of what the enterprise actually does...
    > Draw pretty diagrams

    Could go on, but then it could be better if taking one of the above a follow up question would be:

    For why is a BPM project needed ?

  • In my experience, the four most common drivers of BPM projects are: lowering costs (efficiencies), becoming more agile (competitiveness), more quickly responding to customer requests (customer care), and meeting regulatory mandates (compliance). Underlying these drivers are the need for greater control over and visibility into work so as to mandate policies, know status, and have data to manage/affect change.

    Many companies move too fast into development. They forget that BPM is a journey towards optimization. Yes, you can lower costs or improve agility, but overall you want to optimize the whole business. This is where adding specific process variables/KPIs into the process helps to capture the data that is so useful for analyzing performance which in turn leads to effective change management. It is also where spending a bit more time on user experience can tip the balance toward user acceptance or rejection.

  • Agree with Theo but might also add that the driving force - particularly with BPM projects - seems to change over time.
    For the initiator it might start with any of the objectives Theo mentioned until the project is set up and running. Then you'll get to the stage of "how can we get out of this" until you reach "I've managed to reach 20% of my target, now I'll call it a success".

    The other thing to remember is that objectives are seldom properly communicated (in a manner that's understandable to all) and get forgotten over time.

    Anyway, doing anything strategic on a project basis sounds ill-advised, especially when you look at the consequences: http://taraneon.de/blog/2011/08/29/bpm-avoid-making-that-costly-mistake/

    Thomas

  • I've been seeing more clients pushing for a business case before projects, to get an acceptable ROI before moving forward. So it seems to me that the primary driver at the moment is cost savings.

    The problem has been that some of the projects could have been delivered in the time it took the business to create a business case, leading to lost productivity that never features in any document. Save money, improve the business or as Theo puts it, draw pretty diagrams. They shouldn't be mutually exclusive, but insisting on only one seems to be missing the point of business process improvement.

  • Agree also with Theo. For me, every business has strategic objectives to fulfill, headline issues to tackle and board level performance criteria that are indicators to where resources should be targeted. Almost everything comes back to increasing shareholder value, meeting trustee obligations etc, dependent on the public vs private nature of that business.

    For the driver; for an Oil and Gas executive it may be commercial compliance to an operating agreement with its partners to acquire and develop strategic hydrocarbon assets: to a NFP executive it may be about effective service delivery guaranteeing funding growth, and so on. I am sure they don’t care if it’s labeled a BPM project. What they should care about is: Is the business consistent, efficient and effective in achieving the outcome? Can they sustain, even grow, the improvement?

    For the BPM practitioner it’s about the approach and a framework in which these drivers and objectives are delivered. It’s about managing and aligning a business’s finite resources, its people, processes and systems to best achieve these objectives addressing constraints and accelerating opportunity. It also provides that vital check that efforts are aligned to Strategy.

    Question for Oil & Gas or NFP Executive, “Do you want to go round the block three times in the gas guzzling 8 wheel drive with twenty stops and driver changeovers? OR go direct by shuttle?

    One further point; by advocating ‘BPM’ somehow it appears many organisations see it as different to what they do when it should be seen as something to improve what they already do. It’s not a different discipline, it’s about good old fashioned business performance. What’s different is that the pace of change, the nature of our the global market, the sophistication of the consumer, requires a killer response to the old fashioned requirement. This is where I would argue that BPM is the glue to bring these changing parts together to deliver that shareholder value.

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