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What's the best way to roll-out BPM across an organization?

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So you've started small and got your first BPM success.  What's the best way to take that success and implement it company wide?

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  • From left to right.

  • I think a company cannot roll out BPM, it’s already doing it. BPM is daily business.

    What a company can do is getting more grip on their processes to make those processes better in doing what they promise.

    To me this al starts with a clear understanding of the useful processes in the organization, and how they perform.

    Why start working on a car that drives well? Because you know how to repair a car?

    Another, often forgotten step is to understand the most suitable steering mechanism of a process. Unfortunately I’ve seen the ‘one size fits all’ strategy applied on all the processes of an organization.

    ‘ This workflow tool worked fine for accounts payable, let’s also implement it for brain surgery’

    So make clear how the processes are steered; workflowish, employee driven, ad hoc. This will have huge impact on the way grip is created.

    So the answer to Peter’s question would be ‘process by process’ But only started from a real process overview that also tells how those processes are performing.

    And be aware that most processes are already implemented, so ask yourself if it really is necessary to pay attention to them.

  • The initial, beachhead implementation (of methodology and technology) is the most important. I have worked with many organizations that start their BPM journey with a department that has a visionary leader, for several reasons:

    1) a strong leader with vision is essential to gaining the trust and cooperation of the rest of the department
    2) roadblocks from outside the department are more quickly resolved (IT shows a willingness to help, other departments change the way they hand over information, etc, etc)
    3) a strong leader understands how to clear the way for future implementations, since being associated with a series of successful projects can be a great career-builder

    Once that beachhead project is in place other leaders step up, and complementary parts of the broader enterprise-wide process show themselves as candidates for improvement. The path becomes obvious, but remains a step-by-step, department-by-department process. "Company wide" implementations of BPM happen progressively, never as a one time event.

  • I strongly recommend working closely with your vendor on the first process. Even the most intuitive BPMS has tricks and best practices with which you'll want to become familiar.

    Start with something easy, something with good visibility. Let the word get around that this stuff works, and that it adds value. At that point the problem won't be how to spread the technology but rather how to keep up with demand. :)

  • I love this question. We actually tackled the topic of creating a chain reaction of BPM adoption at Appian World earlier this year, and I recapped the session here: http://www.appian.com/blog/company-news/appian-world-2013/appian-world-2013-business-track-how-to-create-a-chain-reaction-of-appian-adoption

    Like Scott said, the first process should be easy and visible. It should touch key groups (e.g. revenue generation or central operations). Apps with a mobile component are especially great because they really lend themselves to quick, broad adoption and impress key stakeholders.

    Once you've found that first success, team members should "spread the word" and get others in the org jazzed about improvement by doing lunch and learns and reaching out to other groups they interact with.

  • Start with a strong leader and a clear vocabulary.

    Most organizations don't really know "what" BPM is about.

    Implementing BPM is not about technology. This is one of the true misconceptions that many have when introducing BPM into an organization.

    BPM is about culture.

    It's about getting people to think about their work differently. This means that introducing BPM into a company MUST start at the top with a strong leader, as Phil has stated. This is one of the areas where the "Lean" people have a step up on most BPM initiatives. Since BPM is about running the business from strategy through to implementation of change, which almost always does include the use of technology, it’s about imbedding a culture into an organization that includes the idea of process management (governance), change management, training, incentive and reward changes across the board and constant monitoring and encouragement from management and staff. It’s truly about changing an organizations' "way of working". I would reference Gerstner's book "Who says elephants can't dance" beginning with Part III-Culture. It's unfortunate that this concept has fallen mostly in the Lean camp. Even more unfortunate is that there are separate camps! Organizations become attached to vocabulary, whether it's the Japanese terminology or something else and the point is lost. Improving the performance of the business in order to provide more value to the stakeholders of the business is the point.

    Imagine a world where BPM, Continuous Improvement, Lean and Six Sigma all come together and provide a single successful approach to helping organizations.

    Oh, but I forget the egos involved!

  • The best way it can be done? With Pride.

    Or whatever it is that allows success to breed and usher in more success.

    Success of each project/process initiative must escalate the chances of further success. For, after all the strategy talk and the architecture talk, and the success of those first projects, when you start expanding BPM initiatives across the enterprise, it really comes down to replicating success - a feat always best influenced by people, their belief, eagerness & drive, commitment and buy-in. If you have a committed team (and that includes your staff, SIs and Vendors) with a sense of pride over what they are trying to pull off, most other details, the technology and the integration headaches will take care of themselves. Mostly.

  • BPM is not something you 'roll out'. There is no benefit in doing so and it is utterly impossible. But no, it is not about culture at all and it has nothing to do with executive leader- or sponsorship. All that is nonsense. If something has to be enforced by an executive or needs a roll-out programme, you should save yourself the pain and the tears.

    Did anyone roll out iPhones or Facebook? Improving processes must be something that brings to everyone so quickly and so simply so much benefit that it does not have to be rolled out. Adoption comes from making people better than they are without it. BPM in its current form is utterly unable to do so. It is hard to implement, can't proof benefits and everyone hates it. Roll that ...

    Which is why process improvment needs different technology that the employees will love and does not need enforcement. BPM and its systems won't be it ...

    • Strong words but I have to agree with Max. 'Roll out' is impossible because at the end of the day what BPM entails is a heightened state of process awareness. It is impossible to put a skill card ala The Matrix into the people and say "You have BPM".

      Culture forms after many people agree that this way is THE way forward. Everything like vendors, technology and so forth comes much much later in my opinion.

      While the result of a successful project can be a motivating factor, the main takeaway would be the changes to work and current way of working which can be seen, namely in less work and hassle.

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