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Organizations are increasingly recognizing that the sustainable deployment of process management can create significant customer and shareholder value. While technology is an integral component of any process management program, it is by no means the most important element. That’s not to say that Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) are not important. They are. Nor can we say that there aren’t issues around BPMS such as the seamless integration of BPMS with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Intelligence (BI). There are indeed such issues to be resolved.



That having been said, establishing the right set of leadership behaviors is arguably the most critical factor in the sustainable deployment of process management. Call it process ownership or process stewardship if you will, but process management governance is a more encompassing and descriptive phrase. Process management governance is an essential ingredient in moving from one-time improvement efforts to the continuous improvement of a company’s critical business processes. It is no less important in assuring sustainability.

Process management governance relies upon the disciplined measurement of what’s important to customers and the explicit assignment of accountability for the performance of a company’s large, cross-functional business processes. The handful of companies who are making progress in establishing robust process management governance have found it to be essential to monitor metrics such as the organization’s performance in delivering ‘perfect orders’ (on-time, complete, defect-free, with an accurate, user-friendly invoice) and the organization’s level of responsiveness to customer inquiries, complaints and requests. Are you monitoring these metrics? Do you understand the current level of performance? Have you estimated the required level of performance? Do you have a plan to close the gap?

Similarly, these process oriented companies have found it important to develop a high level schematic which depicts the organization’s critical business processes along with a supporting document that details where each process starts, where it ends, what output it creates, and which departments need to collaborate in creating value. Such a high level schematic is indispensable in shifting perception from the traditional functional view of business to a more customer-focused business process view.

Know this – if the only schematic you have of the organization is an org chart, then that will influence how your leaders view the business. A high level schematic of how the company operates in process context is equally useful in assigning accountability for the performance of the company’s key business processes and communicating to employees. It equips the leadership team with the context to ask and answer the question, “Which of our business processes need to be improved by how much in order to deliver on our strategic priorities?”

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