Most Senior Business and IT decision makers are now convinced that BPM is a critical discipline for achieving some key organizational goals: cost reduction, efficiency, agility to adapt to changing market conditions, and compliance with rapidly-evolving regulations. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done because organizations face significant barriers to BPM implementation, as shown in the Global Business Process Management Report recently published by Capgemini.
Business processes are the heart and lungs of an organization; they transform inputs from suppliers and customers, delivering value to the bottom line.
Metaphorically, business processes may choke and their heart may stop if the bloodstream is blocked by BPM implementation barriers, such as functional silo culture, and the resistance to change that is generated by this. For BPM to deliver its greatest value, it's important to get back to BPM basics… Business processes need to live, breathe and see in real time:
- Business objectives and KPI's must be clear and communicated transversally, not just in functional silos.
- Break the barriers between "Business" and IT. Business and IT should work together as one hybrid "business-technological" entity to define the objectives and the processes.
- Think "customer-centric". When defining business processes, avoid functional thinking. "Process-thinking" involves many business units (including IT) that deliver value to a client.
- ROI should be visible: A business case should be able to show both the soft benefits and the financial benefits of a BPM project. Good teamwork between different business units (business, financial, IT, etc.) is essential, and a roadmap should be produced to facilitate this.
- Good inputs give good outputs. Like the human circulatory system, a process transforms inputs (C02 carried by blood) into outputs (oxygen) generating value. Inputs would be: business data, material and human resources, money, etc. The resulting outputs, products and services, will generate considerable value for the customer. Furthermore, the output from one stage becomes the input for the next stage and so on, making processes live. To avoid heart attacks, it is very important to control the inputs and outputs between the different process stages. For example, if "X" sale orders should be treated, we need to insure that those orders have all the required information before going into the "order treatment process". BPM solutions allow the implementation of business rules to control inputs and outputs, actions and alerts, thus avoiding risky or dangerous situations.
- Think Big, start Small: Your road map should be an expansion map - start with small projects, get the quick-wins, and move to the next project.
- Market the quick-wins: Successful BPM projects realize many benefits, including elimination of repetitive and non value-added tasks. This means happy sponsors and happy users. Market these successes to gain support for the next project.
- Automation: Automate non value-added repetitive tasks, or to make information available to users to allow them to complete a processes without having to access another application.
- Good communication is a key factor. Communication should flow between business units (including IT), and should be the oil lubricating the hybrid entity ("business-technological") running the BPM project.
- Real time vision: Gaining visibility and control over the process is key to making it "live" for managers, employees and customers. Identify three or four major KPI's, follow them, and pilot the business in real-time using real-time solutions like BAM (Business activity monitoring). Automatically generated dashboards help business owners make faster decisions in order to adapt to the market.
- Have the right sponsor: 60% of senior managers interviewed think that BPM should be managed by the board. To be successful, BPM needs to address organizational silos. Therefore strong BPM leadership at a strategic and tactical level is essential for long-term BPM success.
- Day-to-day Governance: While strong BPM leadership by the CXO is important, it is not sufficient. In Capgemini's experience and in order to make BPM projects live, we advocate the COE with representatives from both IT and Business. A third key party with delegated authority from the CXO is also necessary to mediate and make tough decisions, or escalate when necessary.
Managers are facing faster lead times with tighter risk management - going back to BPM basics can help them make their business see, breath and live…